Time. It’s one thing we never seem to have enough of – just like money. Making a living takes over a third of my available 24 hours, five days a week – sometimes more. Sleeping should take another third, though usually it’s more like a quarter. At most we’re left with four to eight hours to do chores, feed ourselves, run errands, relax, and pursue our real interests. On the weekends, we may have sixteen hours each day – if we haven’t pushed all our errands and chores off until then, and if we don’t have to go in to work.
So how do we find the time to do the things we *need* to do and still have time to do things we *want* to do? How do we make sure we get some “me” time in the midst of all the things that need to be done? As fast and busy as life is today, it almost always feels like something is getting shorted.
I have to prioritize the things I need or should do. I also have to prioritize the things I want to do – the things I take joy in. That’s hard, because for me “my” things can’t possibly be as important as those things that need or should be done. Can they? They can. They are. For my own mental and emotional health, I need those things. So do you.
How am I making prioritization work? I prioritize “my” things, then I separately prioritize the need and should things. Absolutely necessary things – like getting groceries or gas, and paying bills, get scheduled first. That part is easy. It’s scheduling the rest of the stuff that’s difficult. That’s where I fall down repeatedly.
I’ve tried scheduling almost every hour. I’ve tried setting a goal of spending a certain amount of time on them. I’ve tried just writing them on my To Do list. None of these options has worked very well.
Currently I’m testing a new hybrid method. I have my two prioritized lists, and I’m trying to break the tasks down to as small and discrete pieces as possible. I’m blocking time for those absolutely necessary things, realizing some of them aren’t time exclusive – like laundry. I can do other things while the washer and dryer are running. Once those are blocked, I’m alternating between “my” things and the need/should things. I’m also making sure I leave some unblocked time, so that I don’t feel like every minute is planned.
I don’t know how this is going to work, if it’s going to work any better than my previous efforts. But I won’t know until I try. The whole process of balancing needs and wants, of reaching a balance that works for me, has been shadowy. I’m constantly mapping new processes and paths.
I’ll let you know what happens and how I feel during the process. Maybe my tests and trials will help someone else what works for them and what makes them happier.