We’d taken an overnight trip together, my mum and me. On the late train on the way home, fatigued by a day’s walking and satiated with pasta pots and snickers, we lightly chatted as the miles passed by in the dark. One thought stuck in my mind though and I quickly scribbled it in my notebook.
What would you do with more time?
I posed this to friends on Facebook and on Twitter. Dotted amongst the replies were some interesting answers. From dancing to sleeping, via procrastination, time machines, proportionality and even the special theory of relativity, my friends proved they’re some of the most imaginative people I know. Standing out though, were a few answers that really got me thinking.
The one that made me smile was this:
It lifts my heart to see people doing what they love and are passionate about. We all strive to have a life where we enjoy it so much that we wish we could do more of what we’re actually doing right now. I’m happy to say that for the most part I feel like this too. I love the life I’ve designed, such a far cry from the long days and cubicles of yesteryear. But what do we dream of if we’re not quite there yet?
But what struck me most was the amount of responses that weren’t serious. I love the humour and I giggled a lot at the responses I got. But it was interesting to see that people’s first reaction to the question ‘what would you do with more time?’ was a knee-jerk, was to laugh it off, as if to say don’t be silly, of course we’re not going to get more time. Instead of thinking about it, people provide a quick, flippant answer. We are closed to the possibility that more time to do what we love is actually achievable. We’re trained to work, provide for others, throw ourselves into the daily grind. We don’t want to think about how little time we have to do the things we love, so we laugh it off instead.
I really liked a point made on Twitter too, it’s important that we don’t have too much time. In this, time is a good thing. But unfilled time, unpurposeful time… this can turn into a negative. We concluded that time used to create, to inspire, to follow a passion… we could all use more of that. But time spent wandering, time lost, time unfocused, time unmotivated? This can cause us to lose momentum, become distracted from where we want to be heading. The key then, is balance.
I find it hard to stay focused. I work part time, 18 hours a week. For the rest of the week, I have total, unbridled freedom. Sound perfect…but that’s where I come apart. I find it very hard to stick to a routine. I dither and daydream and realise I’ve spent 3 hours on Pinterest. At first, limitless time seems fantastic. But once you’ve done all of the sleeping in, box-set watching and internet surfing…what comes next?
And so I’m learning to plan and set goals and keep busy. I’m lucky to have the amount of time I do and I’ve been filling it with projects and excitement. Working full time takes up a lot of time, it’s true. But as there is the 9-5, there is also the 5-9. If you prioritise the things that are important to you, somehow, time to do them comes about a lot easier. I worked 12hr+ days and still did a workout before or after work. Fitness was important to me and so I found time for it. Don’t fit your life around work. Fit work around your life.
I found if I didn’t have a goal, a vision, then time seemed to engulf me. A wave of lethargy, all this time and nothing to fill it. So instead of dreaming I created an achievable vision. A goal, a purpose. And what’s great is that now I’ve designed my life to include all the good bits. I love every day, because my time is productive. Creativity is my productivity and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I write, I train, I walk, I play music, and every single one of those is bringing me nearer to my goals.
We are a work in progress for sure. But by prioritising what’s truly important to us, it is easier for us to create a little more time to dedicate. Getting up earlier, cutting back on unpaid overtime, streamlining a routine… all steps to create that bit extra time to get us where we want to be.
What would you do with more time? Do you have enough already, or is there anything you’d like to spend more time on? Share your experiences below…