The old line is that no one has the epitaph on their gravestone of wishing they had spent more time at work. I suppose in our times it is equally as unlikely there will be ones stating the deceased wishes they had spent more time on facebook, or watching TV, or shopping. And yet for so many people it seems that is where they spend their time while claiming there “aren’t enough hours in the day” to do what needs to be done, much less to “have a life”. Not positive, but am pretty sure what “needs to be done” doesn’t really mean facebook, TV or shopping. I have to say I was feeling like the hours were too few some days and then I took a serious look at how I was using my time. To be honest, I was reading way too much. I am talking hours a day sometimes. Which while enjoyable, can get out of hand as with anything else. So I cut back to just a couple hours a day. Now you might say how could I find 2 hours a day for such a leisure time activity. It is actually pretty easy if you prioritize what you need to do, really need to do. I did this by having a book in the car for those down times when I am picking someone up or have an appointment that will require waiting room time. And I turned off the TV, all day and generally around 8 or 8:30 PM and read for an hour. TV was actually easy to dump as there truly is very little on, and we don’t have full cable anyhow. But, I was still feeling rushed too often, and saying that I didn’t have enough time to get into my studio or out on the trail. I needed a bigger view of all the information of my days.
Then in December I read a book that caught my eye; You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too by Tammy Strobel. I liked it and made note of a title she mentioned, got it through my library and found it really hit the mark as far as what I had been trying to do. It is; 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. Now, to each his own as far as what you want to fit in both your life and your 168 hours. But, Vanderkam is correct when she says we all get the same number of hours in a day and week, it is how you use them that makes the difference between feeling harried and feeling like you have a life. I did her excel sheet and it is a great visual for how you use your time. I had made the commitment at New Year’s to create more and get in studio more, but was not sure how that would fit in. Three days a week in studio, three hikes a week, and an additional blog were the goals with the understanding that some weeks might see a ‘2 & 3’ or ‘3 & 2’ split as life would intervene in unexpected, and not always bad, ways.
So, the first month of 2103 is drawing to a close. Some weeks I have hit the ‘3&3’ putting in a decent number of hours in studio and on trail. And I still had more than enough free time to fill with fun stuff, or tackling put off chores. All it took was just a little perspective to see how best to use my 168.