Updated: Nov 7, 2019
The holidays are here once again, killing me slowly. If done correctly, I will have holiday cards, the holiday letter for the holiday cards, the photo books for the grandparents presented, purchased and wrapped before December 24th. But it doesn't always work that way. And it never seems to work without a Herculean effort that usually includes some lost sleep, some shouts at the innocent family member who dares to ask my one more question, and some resurgent disdain for being someone who celebrates the holidays at all. I guess I do have the option to opt out. I'm saving that for a future year when I just can't handle it. Bottom line - during the holidays, there is never enough time. Ever.
My grandmother used to fuss at us when she would catch us on the phone with a friend for hours on end, which then led to homework being completed late into the evening. She would beg us to stop wasting time. She would remind us that we all are given the same amount of time each day, so if people can learn a new language, fly to the moon, write a book, and more, it is not because they magically had more time - they just used their 24 hours very wisely. Maybe a lot to digest as a 15-year old, but as an adult we might be more able to understand.
So how do we find the time? Maybe that's the wrong way to look at it. After all, the time is not lost but always there for us. So how do we better USE the time? How can we use our 24 hours to our advantage, even if we don't have the goal of flying to the moon? I hope you aren't reading this post because you think I have the answer. I don't. But I think its a good question. If I could solve all of your problems with time management do you really think I'd be spending my time writing a blog post?
Planning my day, creating a schedule and trying to stick to it, staying away from social media, shutting down requests to do more than I really want to do - all of this things help me "find" time, but that's not good enough. I need to enjoy the time I have, doing the things that are enjoyable. That helps me live a full day. Experiencing all of those hours, as productive as I can make them, without the worry about how much time is being spent. The holiday party we hosted took up a whole lot of my 24 hours - planning, prepping, shopping, cleaning up, cooking. I could have been working on holiday cards, or cleaning my closet, or working on my paperwork. It was kind of a waste of time to toss a holiday party in there that required so many hours of mine.
Obviously, hosting a party is not a waste of time. It takes time but it certainly doesn't waste it. Because it is nurturing, enriching, and enjoyable time, assuming you invite the people you like and give yourself time to see your guests. Taking the time to do things that feel good, and do good, and bring good to yourself and others is never a waste. It is time well-spent. And maybe if we can learn to approach more of our tasks with that intention - an intention to enjoy and engage - then we won't feel like we are wasting any hours, and we subsequently won't feel like we have to run around to find more hours. We have the right number of hours. It is how we spend them that matters. Like the old adage says - don't count the days, make the days count. Even during the holidays I can see how this makes sense. I want to write more about finding time and offer more help, but I honestly don't know the secret. But what I do know is that I must go and use my last hour awake tonight to finish addressing my holiday cards. And because I will enjoy doing that, it will be an hour well-spent.