Time Management Myth Buster: You Don’t Need an Extra Hour a Day Today’s time management blog post is designed to challenge your beliefs about time. Does this sound familiar:  Do you feel time starved? Do you feel like your to-do list rules your life? Do you feel like if you could just get caught up, then you would be able to have time for yourself…to have fun…to spend with your loved ones and other people who matter most to you?

I was blown away by your responses to the Freebie Friday giveaway when I asked the question “If you were given an extra hour a day to spend however you’d like, how would you spend it?”  The things you would do if you had an extra hour each day are really important things! If you didn’t have a chance to read the comments…just look at this list—this is how blog readers would spend an extra hour a day.

  • Connecting with loved ones via phone or email or writing letters.
  • Cooking healthy meals
  • Crafting
  • Creating—keepsakes for my kids, photo albums
  • Doing something creative.
  • Doing something just for me…hot bubble bath or listen to a relaxing piece of music maybe a glass of wine or all three at the same time and just empty my mind of all my to-do’s.
  • Doing stuff with my girls. We would cook, craft, scrapbook, snuggle, read, play games, ride bikes – anything we could think of, but just time with them is so needed!
  • Drinking tea
  • Enjoying nature
  • Exercising my body and mind! I think my life would be better this way.
  • Exercising so I have more energy to do other things.
  • Going through all of my mother’s stuff, she recently died and I have tons of paperwork as well as photos I would like to organize and sort of scrapbook somehow.
  • I’d do nothing.
  • I’d spend it alone.
  • I’d like to think I’d use the time to relax, unwind, read a book, rest… and not feel guilty about it. But I would probably use the hour to be more “productive”, do more work, get more things done so that one day I could relax and not feel guilty about it. (Hmmm… there’s something wrong with this picture, isn’t there?)
  • Doing something FUN, just for me – craft, read, etc.
  • Knitting.
  • Learning sign language.
  • Looking for a new house.
  • Making a list of all the things I like to do.
  • Meditating.
  • Organizing:  the papers on my desk, my digital supplies, craft room, desk, my home, my scrapbook space, my mind.
  • Playing a game with my kids.
  • Practicing guitar.
  • Praying / reading the bible.
  • Enjoying quiet time.
  • Reading a good book or the blogs I subscribe to; read with my kids.
  • Re-energizing.
  • Resting.
  • Scrapbooking guilt free.
  • Scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking, making photo albums, working on my photos.
  • Sewing.
  • Sketching.
  • Sleeping.
  • Spending it guilt free to do “nothing” and be silly.
  • Spending it on myself, doing something I like to do.
  • Spending time with friends and loved ones, my family (unplugged), my husband.
  • Taking a walk by MYSELF.
  • Training my cat to do circus tricks.
  • Volunteering.
  • Doing yoga.
  • If I had one more hour in the day, I would treasure every second.
  • I’d love an extra hour to spend with my kids without worrying or thinking about anything else. I bet I could make this happen with some discipline. I’m going to make it a new goal!
  • Being given an extra hour every day would be a gift. As a result, I would offer myself an hour in my craft room to make cards or scrapbook!
  • …without feeling guilty about wasting the time!
  • Honestly, an hour extra every day… Without a good plan and some more discipline, it would probably and sadly just slip away. I would love to get to where I could and would use it for strategic personal growth in some area that needs improvement.
  • If I had an extra hour I would spend it connecting with people I love!! Thanks to your help, I have implemented good systems for paper, a decent sleep schedule, and a daily workout – but since I’m working on a new business venture, communications with those that don’t live in my house have fallen aside. I would definitely use this time to call, write, or email them and let them know how much they mean to me!!

This is the good stuff my friends. It is the stuff that makes life worth living. And yet, for so many of us, we feel like the way we could do these things…or the way we could do these things without feeling guilty…is if we had an extra hour each day.

But wait…

What about the 24 hours we already get every single day? Do we truly believe that none of those hours (or even some of the minutes) shouldn’t be invested on the activities and people that make us happiest? Do we really think that those things that matter most and make life worth living should wait until our to-do list is done?

One thing I find when I talk to others about time, in my time management workshop and with coaching clients, is the belief that a big windfall of time is coming. In other words, many of us live our lives as if someday things will be different. Someday we will have the time to exercise, cook healthy meals, scrapbook, sew, knit, organize our homes, hang out with our loved ones unplugged, and dare I say it just plain live. But here’s the news flash:  the big windfall of time isn’t coming. We aren’t going to get an extra hour each day—unless we create it for ourselves.

There is a way to have time to do those things that nurture your soul and make your life worth living…and it is this:

Spend less time doing something else.

If you have an answer to the question “If you were given an extra hour a day to spend however you’d like, how would you spend it?” then it’s time to make a change in your approach to time management. It’s time to spend some of your daily 24 hours on you—doing things that inspire you, energize you, fill your heart with love. And it’s time to do these things guilt free!

Here’s the thing, when you do these things on the list above, you will have more time, energy, enthusiasm and love to share with everyone you care about. You will have more time, energy and enthusiasm for all of the other tasks on your to-do list. And guess what that means? Your to-dos will get done more quickly and with far less effort.

Stop sign Take Action! My challenge to you is to spend one hour this week doing that thing you would do if I could give you an extra hour each day. You have the power to create an extra hour every day…but if that feels impossible, start with an hour a week. If that feels impossible, start with fifteen minutes, and then build up to an hour. This is your life! This is your time! Stake a claim to a piece of it today to spend on the activities and people that matter most to you.

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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