If someone could bottle up time and sell it, we’d have our first trillionaire to date — unless we have one already and I missed it. If we do, do they sell time?
Imagine it, with bottled time, we’d have time for all the things. The good, the bad, and the utterly joyous things that we never make time for!
Until that glorious day happens though, we have to turn our attention to plausible solutions to the time conundrum, which lucky for us, there are plenty.
All it requires is an open mind, and an ability to organize — and who doesn’t love to organize?!
If you’re like me and your skillset when it comes to organizing is lacking, we can do this, it’s not as hard as it sounds.
Write stuff down.
The simple act of writing down the things I need to accomplish in a day has awakened a productivity gene in me that’s been dormant my entire life. It may seem completely ridiculous, far-fetched, and almost pathetic—as in what did my life look like before I adopted this practice, I must have never accomplished a thing, poor soul — to which I would respond, never this consistently.
But wait, there’s more. When I write down the things I need to get done, I keep it to three. Lots of things come in threes and that’s because three is easy. You can remember three things and they never seem totally overwhelming.
I also make sure that I include within the three the things that are on the fringes, the tasks that get treated like red-headed stepchildren (i.e. the ones that I see, but I never really pay attention to or are the first things to come off the list, which is usually anything having to do with me.)
For example, I’ve been wanting to learn Italian since that one semester I took it in college about a hundred years ago. Well, that’s on my list and now, every time I write it down on my top three to-do list, I end up finding those mysterious 20 minutes that I never had before and practice learning Italian.
It’s almost life-changing. Imagine what you could miraculously find time for if you write it down.
Declutter — and then refuse to re-clutter.
You cannot tell me that your life won’t exponentially improve once you clean out all your clutter. It’s amazing when you free yourself from all the things that are stuffed into dusty corners, under beds, tipping over in piles stacked too high.
Marie Kondo is a national icon because she showed us how much sh*t we really have when she asked us to collect everything we own and toss it into the middle of our living rooms. Who could ever do that? It’s too much work!
Clean out the stuff you’ve been holding onto for decades and relish in all the space you have — and then refuse to fill it all back up with new stuff! Energy flows better when you’re not holding onto the past.
Choose your time wisely.
I thought I could be a 5 am person. Turns out my time is better spent staying in bed until 7 am.
See, when I would force myself out of bed at 5 am so I could be one of those suberbly productive people who can create a miracle morning, that vision never materialized.
What these insanely successful people forget to mention is that you have to literally lock yourself away in an undisclosed area of the house, equipped with a flashlight and blanket for when the little people in your house wake up and clamor around the entire house searching for you as if you’re an Easter egg.
And their internal clocks are as unpredictable as the weather. Some days their little feet would hit the floor at 5:05 am and others they sleep in till 5:45. Where is that in any of these books bestowing the benefits of these early morning rituals?
Turns out the best time for me to write, to read, to do things for me, it after 8 pm when the kids are so tired from their day they’d never think of jumping out of bed.
Don’t try to wedge your life into a mold that isn’t suited for you. Pick your time wisely and find what works for you.
Try a daily 10-minute brain dump.
Every day I set an alarm for 10 minutes and I do a variation of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. Why do I vary it? Because 10 minutes works really well for me as opposed to three full pages. Three pages are daunting. 10 minutes?Repeatable.
Why do any of it in the first place? I’ve found that it’s a great way to release thoughts, however random. Like turning on a faucet, words and thoughts begin flowing. Occasionally you’ll get a sputter or spurt where all you can write is “I don’t know what to write” but usually it quickly smooths itself out and you’re back in the flow of some other conscious stream of thought.
As someone who enjoys writing and being creative, this practice has helped in a way that I can’t even put into words, but I’ll try. It helps get thoughts out, releases tension from your brain, and clears your mind. Getting the words out and onto paper helps me focus better on the work I have to do.
There I tried to make sense of it… try it and you’ll know what I mean!
Avoid engaging in time-sucking activities
This one has your phone written all over it and you know it!
That little piece of equipment that’s glued to your hip, or hand, or butt cheek has completely redefined free-time. Free-time now means device ‘time-suck’ time. Yes, it’s a thing.
Now when we’re waiting on anything — ANYTHING — we instinctively grab for our phone and begin futzing around. Waiting for dinner to be done — futzing. Waiting in the car pick-up line at school — futzing. Waiting in line to place an order at Starbucks — futzing. Waiting to fall asleep in bed — futzing. It happens and we don’t realize it’s even happening.
Try putting the phone down for one day — one full day — and you’ll realize exactly how much time and energy is spent on useless data. This is time and energy that can be better spent on you.
Taking ownership of the choices you make daily and calling yourself out is one of the best things you can do for yourself if you find that you never have time for yourself or the things you want to do.
Organizing isn’t always about creating tidy and neat stacks and knowing exactly where everything is at every moment. It also means taking stock of where your time goes and how you spend it — it’s our most precious commodity and one we all feel we need more of.
Even if you try only one of these tactics, you’re sure to uncover quality time that you otherwise would have never come across.
AM Costanzo is a wellness coach, a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and loves to help people feel strong, powerful, and downright fabulous in body and mind!