How to have more time

by Zena-Marie on 20 February 2012

Everyone would like to have more time to spend doing the things they love, to spend with family or to simply relax.

If there is one thing you can do that will enable you to spend more of your time doing the things you love it would be to cut back on unnecessary commitments. Cutting back on commitments isn’t easy though. Many people find it hard to say no when they are asked to do something for someone else because they don’t want to feel that they are letting people down but you must always remember that your time is one of the most valuable commodities that you have and being aware of how you chose to spend it will pay off for the rest of your life.
We have so many commitments from work to home to social and religious to hobbies and family and friends.

Every time someone asks you to do something you are making a commitment to giving up some of your time. Over time we add more and more activities to our lists of commitments until eventually we just don’t have the time for anything else.

If we can cut back on all these commitments we would find the time to invest in the things that are important to us. In order to assess what commitments are important to us we must first understand what commitments we have, so first let’s make a list.

List all your commitments including:

  • Work – Meetings, out of hour work, freelance work etc.
  • Family – Shopping, cooking, cleaning washing ironing etc.
  • Kids – After-school activities playgroups homework etc.
  • Religious – Weekly service and any other commitments
  • Hobbies – Time spent on hobbies or exercise etc.
  • Online – Commitments to online communities
  • Social – Time spent with friends

Make as many categories as is necessary. Once you are done go through the list and ask yourself how does this commitment enrich my life? Is this commitment in line with my life values?

Another helpful hint is to make a short list. List your 5 most important commitments the things that you love to do and are most important to your happiness and well-being. Any of your listed commitments that fall in line with your top 5 will be your most essential commitments.

Once you have decided what is essential you can start eliminating the non-essential. It is the elimination of the non-essential that is the crucial thing here as it is by cutting back on non-essential commitments you will have less stress and will be better able to focus on the commitments that are most important to you.

Don’t feel that you have to cut back on all non-essential commitments straight away. You should start with something small. Look for something on your list that gives you the least return for invest / time/ effort, something that is least in line with your life values, goals and priorities. Cut this commitment from your diary for a couple of weeks and see how it works.

Once you have made the decision to eliminate the commitment text email etc. explaining that you no longer have the time for this commitment. Be firm in your decision even if they try to manipulate you in to continuing. Your time is precious and should be spent in commitments that are in line with your life values and goals. That said please do bear that in mind and don’t spend the time you have freed up watching TV- use it wisely

Keep doing this until you have eliminated all the non-essential commitments. It may be hard at first as people may be disappointed or try to make you feel guilty or you may have to help arrange someone else to help but it will be worth it in the end you will feel less stressed and will be able to spend your time on activities that will bring you the most contentment.

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