Time is like money: you have a limited amount of it and you need to spend it wisely. I’ve become so much more cautious with who and where I spend my time and now I have much more of it. Here’s why you need to follow suit ASAP.
- Your time needs to be budgeted. It’s probably not something you really think about consciously but it’s true—we all have to manage our time budgets. There’s obviously a large chunk dedicated to sleeping and work, so that only really leaves a small portion each day to spread between your relationship, family, friends, chores, and time for yourself. If you’re using up your precious time on people who don’t deserve it, it means other sectors of the time budget pie chart will get cut.
- Consider how much time you spend doing things you don’t want or have to do. I realized I was spending a lot of time answering social media DMs from people I didn’t know, attending social events I felt obligated to attend, and an even larger chunk of time simply procrastinating. Most of the time procrastination is just worrying about things that haven’t happened yet, making to-do lists instead of just doing the tasks and over planning your week ahead. If these things actually help you, brilliant, but for me, overthinking my schedule didn’t make me any more productive or organized, so I stopped. Breaking the habit of a lifetime is easier said than done but once I did, I’d never felt more liberated.
- For the most part, being late isn’t acceptable to me anymore. Of course, things happen and life gets in the way. Trains are late, traffic is heavy, and other things take priority over meeting your friend on time for a catch-up coffee. However, on the whole, if my friends can’t commit to being on time for things, I don’t have time for them. I actually see it as an insult in many ways. If someone is so late and they aren’t all that apologetic about it, they don’t value my time as much as they do their own. They obviously think I have all the time in the world to waste and they don’t care that they’re the one wasting it.
- It’s simple: life is short. When I’m old and wrinkly, sitting in a chair that will take me 30 minutes to stand up from, I don’t want to think, “I wish I would have done such and such.” I think that happens when we don’t utilize our time properly and spend it where it should never have been in the first place!
- I stopped investing in one-sided friendships. This doesn’t just refer to face to face encounters but also to spending time catching up via text. I’m an expat, so most if not all of my closest and oldest friends don’t live in the same country as me, let alone the same time zone. Those kinds of long-distance friendships can easily fall apart if you don’t put the effort in, so I convinced myself I had to make time for each and every one of them. But guess what? I didn’t! Many of those friendships were one-sided, with me putting in all of the work to touch base with them when they wouldn’t do the same. In the end, some friendships were put on hold. We catch up whenever we’re in the same country at the same time and we’re able to pick up where we left off and that works for us. Others I cut loose. When they’re ready to make time for me, I’ll reconsider making time for them.
- I stopped giving my time to the people I follow on social media. I think we can all say we’re guilty of knowing every detail about the life of someone we follow on social media but don’t know personally. I used to know more about the life of beauty influencer blah blah blah than I did my oldest friend in the world and that’s when I knew something had to change. That’s not healthy and I don’t think it’s right. It’s easy, yes, because these influencers and people who have a huge following do so because they post about everything all the time and your friends probably don’t, but shouldn’t we know more about what’s going on in our real friends’ lives as opposed to someone we stalk on Instagram?
- I put aside time for myself for the sake of my sanity. I used to think it was enough to fit in me time whenever I could, but it wasn’t consistent enough to actually be beneficial. Now I commit to fewer social activities and put that time towards one night a week that’s just for me. On that one night, I can do whatever I want, whether that’s pigging out with Netflix, treating myself to an at-home facial, etc. Taking that time out for myself has made me a better partner, a better friend and even a better daughter.
- Instead of watching crap TV, I do something I actually want to do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home, switched on the TV, and been distracted by some show I couldn’t care less about but found myself suckered into, losing up to an hour after work. Now I purposefully consider what I want to do with my evening instead of just parking myself in front of the TV.
- Realistically, we all have the same amount of time. It might look like other people have so much time on their hands and that’s why they have all the time in the world to travel, to visit exhibitions, to read as many books as they please, or to dedicate to a hobby. In reality, we all have 24hours in a day, we just all budget our time differently. Are you budgeting yours the way you really want?