Do you take your time for granted?
As someone whose personal motto is carpe diem, I’ve been thinking a lot about time. What do we do with it? Who has it? Do busier people really get more done?
Right now, I’m in a concerning part of my life when I feel like I actually DO have time. Instead of the 65, 70+ hours I spent at work, I am now only working forty hours. And I find that I am actually less productive. Squeezing in less of the things I love to do than when I was under the pressure of a long workweek. Why is that?
When I was working hellish hours, I was afraid that I was killing my body. I knew that if I didn’t find the time to exercise my back would hurt, I wouldn’t be able to sleep (hello! getting to work by 6AM is really hard when you can’t fall asleep the night before), and I also knew that I would feel like a zombie if I didn’t find the time to see my friends, read good books, or watch my favorite movies.
One of the first things I realized was the need to prioritize. I cut out all of the things I put in the unnecessary column, and loaded up on the things I valued the most. I made sure I made time for my closest friends. I got in good books by subscribing to Audible.com so that I could listen to them when my eyes would no longer stay open. And I moved to the city so that I had to walk 20 minutes to get to work, 20 minutes to get back, and forced myself to get outside rain, sleet or shine for two fifteen minute breaks every day. Then I also paid for a monthly membership to my yoga studio to encourage myself to exercise as many days after work as I could. And guess what? I cut out all the silly tv shows I didn’t get anything out of watching. Instead I chose one show per season to watch. Homeland was worth it, Y’all!!
And all the while, I dreamt of the time when I would be able to have free time!
But lo and behold, it seems that nothing is free! Not even your time!
As soon as I started my forty hour job, I noticed my motivation draining from me. At first I assumed it was because I was burnt out from my other job. I began sleeping in on weekends (even though I’m a morning person and love to be up in the morning). I stopped working out – and given that my commute is such that I have to drive everywhere, I quickly noticed that the 20 minute walks to and from work, and my walks during 15 minute breaks were actually adding up in a positive way. I suddenly started binging on movies and tv shows on Netflix, and telling myself I was catching up on all the dumb sh*t I thought I had missed out on.
But guess what? I was letting my favorite things slide! I hadn’t written a blog post in months – unless you count ONE! I hadn’t worked on writing anything for pleasure. I had stopped reading good books, or listening to great podcasts!
FOR SHAME, Mirabelle! What happened to you? I would look at myself in the mirror and wonder!
So what is it about having no time that forces us to do more? I think that we actually do better under pressure, than when we don’t feel like we’ll miss out on anything.
My favorite quote that is right now on a PostIt note by my new monthly workout calendar in my room at home says, “ Someone who is busier than you is running right now!” And guess what? That’s true! The really busy people are up at the crack of dawn, or shoot, before the crack of dawn, to get in their exercising. Meanwhile those who don’t feel like they need to be up, or have a reason to get going are up at 11am or past noon! And guess what? I’ve noticed that when I get a slow start on weekends, the entire day is wasted. I lack the motivation to get myself out of the house, all I want to do is watch movies and eat! And guess what? I had planned to be productive and get fit!
Don’t get me wrong. Having more time has a lot of pros. I figured out that I can walk for an hour at lunchtime every day to make up for the lack of exercising from no longer walking in a big city. I no longer need to choose between a fitness class and seeing my best friend – I can take the fitness class with my bestie and then lure her over to my place by making her favorite grilled cheese sandwich with apples in the middle. I’ve had time to cook almost every night after work – so much so that I’m seriously concerned about becoming an even rounder ball than I already consider myself (namely my round face!) I even have time to make myself a full breakfast most mornings (like real food, not just nuking a healthy breakfast wrap from Whole Foods and eating on my morning commute). I’m finally seriously considering adopting a puppy since I have a more predictable schedule- although I’d like to settle down asap!
AND I’m flossing every night – which is mysteriously challenging to do when you aren’t getting enough sleep or after you’ve worked a 15 hour day… So not everything is bad.
One thing I can’t do anymore is tell guys I’m dating that I’m too busy to go on that third date with them anymore. Oops! Come on dudes, even the busiest Mirabelle would totally make time for you if I thought you were worth my time. Priorities, remember? So hopefully I’ll meet more guys I like J
And guess what? I still don’t get inspired to write after work or fitness class when I have two hours before I need to go to bed. Instead, I’ve found myself wasting the evenings I have to myself by watching random tv shows or being online.
But guess who suddenly leapt out of bed today before the sound of her first alarm on a work morning, and hit her laptop like it’s a punching bag knowing that she is risking showing up to work late, or without any makeup (PRIORITIES!!!!!) So right now, I’m scrambling to nuke that Whole Foods breakfast wrap (insert sarcastic rolling of eyes: “busy people”!) and getting to work early anyways (cuz Mama ain’t never late, or on time – she be EARLY!)
And the best part? I’ve been too lazy (and also partly genuinely too busy with the move cross-country) to write for two months now. But just like that – zap! Inspiration just struck me! And I’m re-energized to cut out the crap, get real, and get back to it! So I’ll be back to what’s important – writing and collaborating with the world. See you in 2015, Y’all!!! I’m very excited to share my thoughts and concerns with you – and hope you keep up the comments!
So what do you think? Do you lose motivation when you don’t have as much at stake? Do you need that fear to of missing out to keep you going? Do busier people really run more??
Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!