Ten Ways I Get Myself More Time

People often remark to me that I get more stuff done than lots of folks do.  I’ve come to think that might be true.  I’ve spent some time trying to figure out why, and I’ve come up this list below — both to give you some tips (if they seem appealing and applicable to you) and to let you know there’s not really anything mysterious about this.  Do-able!

1.  I have grown kids who don’t live with me any more.

Both parts of this are relevant.  Being a care-giver gives your brain an extra bump of, “Hey — I have an extra 20 minutes today! What do I want to do with it?!” training that doesn’t seem to go away.  And when the subjects of care have flown the nest?  You suddenly have all that extra time that you did not for all the years your schedule and your brain was filled with their needs.  In other words, training + opportunity = things get accomplished.

2.  I don’t have a TV

Don’t get me wrong:  there are TV series that I adore, and I’ve got nothing morally or artistically against TV.  But I found myself in a living space without a set  two-and-a-half years ago . . . and found out in about a month of living that way that I got tons more done without it on all the time as a distraction.  And I’ve never had one since.  I listen to sports on the radio, or socialize and write in bars while watching a game, and I binge-watch series on my computer when I want to get lost in one.

3.  I don’t watch videos on You-Tube

This whole phenomenon fascinates me.  Everyone complains they don’t have enough time for anything — and yet everyone’s posting clips on their Facebook pages that they think you should watch.  Not because they’re trying to sell their products (because hey, I’ve got NOTHING bad to say about THAT!!!!).  But because they think they are funny or inspiring or whatever.  I don’t get this.  I can’t keep up with everything on my social media feeds by scrolling through 100 miles an hour and looking quickly at the photos/whatever’s briefly-written.  There is no way I am going to click on something that has advertisements and other mildly entertaining information that takes up to 10 minutes to get to the end of.

4.  I limit distractions

Along with numbers 2 and 3 above, I regularly — once and twice a week, like clock-work — completely log off of certain social media channels, or my computers all together.  Everyone I communicate with knows about this.  It does not cause a problem.  And I get tons more done on those days than on the days I’m “on-line.”  Again, don’t get me wrong:  I am a social media fiend.  But something about regularly shutting that down gives you a time and energy boost on both ends.

5.  I’m not as cosmetically beautiful as most people

By this I mean I have short, increasingly grey, hair that I do not even own a blow-dryer or brush to groom.  If I can’t get it to work with gel on my fingers after the morning shower, it’s not going to happen: that’s why God made baseball caps.  And I rarely wear make-up.  This implies no judgment on people who love doing these things.  I just don’t.  I get frustrated if I have to spend a half-hour each day doing them.  I am too impatient.  And the less time I have to spend in salons on things like color, etc., the better, too.  (And guess what? I still get asked out by interesting dudes.)

6.  I don’t worry as much about perfection as I used to.

For the past several years, I’ve seen several variations in print and in other art of the “Perfect is the enemy of done” credo.  And I love that.  It’s incredibly freeing.  The older I get, the more the point seems to be to stay in the flow of — and to try to keep up with — creative projects that want to get manifested.  If I worried about getting them “perfect” or “just right,” I would never be able to complete them or share them with the world or move on in happiness to the next thing that wants to get done.  So, my lines are not straight and some things go out into the world with — GASP!!!! — typos.  That used to would have absolutely freaked me out in shame.  Now?  I think, “What the heck does that really matter?”

7.  I realize that allowing or causing too much drama in life pulls us off our paths.

There is always the threat of too much drama.  You can get pulled, in about three seconds flat, into an argument on Facebook alone.  Let’s not even get into all the stuff that occurs within our families.  The point here is that I have come to realize this is another way we — read:  I — often distract ourselves from what it is that we’d really want to be doing if we were only  ________ (whatever our reason) enough right now to sit down and do it.  Realizing that helps me keep accountable to myself about how much other crap I will allow myself to get sucked into, instead of doing what I know I need to be doing.

8.  I am very happy spending time by myself.

Getting things done often requires parking your butt in one place for a big chunk of time . . . over and over again . . . and doing something without talking to other people.  It helps if that is already okay with you.  If you are a person who always needs to be processing things by talking about them in-person, on the phone, on-line, etc. it’s going to be harder.  But the pay-off is awesome.

9.  I make it a priority to follow habits that work.

Here’s exactly what I mean by that:  I know that without enough sleep, good food, exercise and meditation time, I am a wreck.  So I do those things habitually in my life.  I let hardly anything get in the way of them.  Whenever I do, I regret it.  Because I just do not feel like myself.  Also on this list are things like making sure the laundry, grocery shopping, and banking are done — the things that life runs smoother when are done on a regular basis, instead of in the moments of chaos when things have been allowed to run dry.  When your ship’s sound, you have more time to do what you want to do – instead of dealing in crisis-mode with everything.

10.  I like work.

And maybe the bottom line in figuring out why I’ve found ways to grab more time for myself to “get things done” is because I actually really love work.  And by that I mean creating things:  kids, art, products, cash capital.  I like making, producing, manifesting stuff.  Because it means a lot to me to do that, I “sacrifice” (precisely because it does not really feel like a sacrifice) other things that lots of people spend lots of their time doing instead.  Again, no judgment.  Just an explanation to answer how it works when people remark in wonder, “You get tons of stuff done.”  It just depends what you really want to do with your time.  There’s not a right answer.  But if you’re frustrated that you are not getting done what you think you want to . . . try cutting something else out that really doesn’t matter to you as much.