Making the Most of Your Time

Some of you might be self-employed, unemployed, working part-time, or students, but most adults have full time jobs. If they spend their nights sleeping, their mornings getting ready for work, the day working, they really only have a couple hours in the evening to dispense as they wish. This generally goes to a mix of eating dinner, doing a couple chores, spending a little time with family or friends, and then watching TV until they're tired enough to go to sleep.

So when are you supposed to do all the things self-help gurus advocate? When in the day are you supposed to find the time to write, meditate, make your bed, practice talking to strangers, teach yourself a language, read books, exercise, or anything else?

Here's some bad (or maybe good) news: You can't do them all. You don't have the time. You barely have the time for even the most important of those activities. Here are some tips for how to fit them into your already packed daily schedule:

  • Meditation: do it first thing when you wake up before you get distracted by anything. Only do 2-5 minutes. Add more time if you can find it, but not so much that you can justify skipping a day because you're in a rush. "You should sit and meditate every day for 20 minutes - unless you're busy. Then you should meditate for an hour." That's a nice sentiment, but I like my sleep, so I meditate for only 6 minutes each morning.
  • Exercise: people who do 30-60 minutes of exercise at least every other day have drastically reduced incidence of heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Do 30 minutes of basic body-weight strength training before you shower in the morning. If you have a gym at work, do it at work!
  • Writing and planning your day: both of these can be made to relate to work. Do them when you get to the office in the morning and make them relate to work. Writing works for some job functions better than others, but if you're looking to get better at writing, talk to your boss about your interest in it and see if s/he can give you a project that will allow you to write every day.
  • Reading: 30 minutes before you go to sleep should be established as screens-off time. Floss, brush your teeth, and get in bed to read, then turn your lights off at bed-time.
Don't try to do all these at once. They're just ideas for doing a lot with not a lot of time. If there's something you really want to do, once you start thinking about how to fit it in, you'll be surprised how creative you can get about making it work.