It’s clock changing time again. Unless you are one of the lucky ones residing in AZ or HI, Sunday morning was spent re-learning how to adjust the microwave, oven, coffee maker, car, and other non-wifi clocks in our lives. This long outdated practice of shifting our lives an entire hour forward in the spring and then back in the fall has been proven to wreak havoc on our bodies, our sleep, our children, and overall well-being. In fact, 19 states in the past 4 years have legislated or passed resolutions to keep time constant year round. We crave the consistency of time, and when we mess with it, it messes with us.
Thankfully, we only have to contend with daylight saving time twice a year. Every morning comes, regardless of how well or poorly I performed the day before. Every night, I’m given the opportunity for 8 hours of sleep if I choose to go to bed by 9:15pm. I’m predictably hungry at 7:30am, noon, and 5:30pm and can plan meals around it. Every day presents the same 24 hours for me to use to accomplish my goals, love my family, or help others. I can’t buy a 25th hour, but neither can anyone else. It’s up to me how I choose to invest my time.
During the school year, I am a volunteer facilitator of the CHOICES curriculum for local 8th graders. It’s an awesome program that helps students make positive choices for their future. One of the core units is about time and understanding the finite amount of this precious resource we each have regardless of who were are or how much money we have. We help the students understand the rocks (must do’s), gravel and sand (unscheduled fun stuff) of their lives, and how to make all it fit in a giant glass beaker that’s analogous to our day. It only works if we plan our lives around the big rocks.
The same is true for adults. I love helping professionals make the most of their time through smart management of their schedules, efficient e-mail processing, and proactively managing their work because it makes work life better for all of us when we value time for ourselves and others.
While we can free up an incredible amount of time for work through these practices, it still leaves us with a few precious hours after work to spend time with people or invest in ourselves.
Pre-pandemic I had exactly 2.5 hours with my kids per weekday for cooking, eating, homework, sports/activities, bath, stories, etc. This was because I was disciplined about my end of work day routine. For those times I did work late, that time shrank to an hour or less, or when I traveled, it became a 10 min phone call.
During the pandemic, my daily commute time went from 60 minutes down to 60 seconds. But I found myself often working longer because the next activity on my schedule was dinner, and I had plenty of time before those duties began. So instead of being intentional with my saved commute time, I lingered over work instead. Even though the time was there each day, I couldn’t seem to pull away from the computer until I started scheduling a walk right after work.
At first, I had to have a phone call planned with a friend so I’d actually get outside.
Then it became routine, consistent, like clockwork 😉
Have you ever thought about all the things you have to do and want to do after work?
Go ahead and take 30 seconds and list out all you want out of your after work time. It could be as simple as exercising, prepping dinner, paying bills, calling your mom, walking the dog, or listening to a podcast. Or it could be something big like spending 30 min on a side hustle, painting a wall, mowing the grass, or sending a friend a birthday gift instead of a gif.
Now think back to last week, and how many of those things on your list did you actually accomplished. Most? Half? A few?
That’s because it’s a wish list, which are awesome for Santa, but terrible for making things happen in a finite amount of time.
If we want to accomplish something, we have to get it off the wishlist and into the schedule. Scheduled activities lead to action – at work, and at home. When we make the most of our working time, we are freed to take advantage of the hours that consistently come after work.
They are just waiting for us to give them a purpose.