When did we become a society of multi-tasking, overbooked, disconnected individuals? Why do we believe that it is acceptable and even normal to have every moment of our waking hours committed to one activity or another?
There are lots of excuses we tell ourselves – But I have so much to do! I have children! I have an important job! If I don’t do it, it won’t get done! It seems we are always running from one task to another, cell phone in one hand, coffee in the other. However, it doesn’t really have to be that way.
When I decided to scale down my possessions, a strange thing started to happen, my free time increased. You might not see the correlation between stuff and time but I assure you it’s real.
Take your home for example. When you begin eliminating extra stuff from your space, cleaning becomes faster and easier. Cooking will take less time because you won’t have to sort through cluttered drawers and cabinets. When you’re not spending hours shopping at the mall or your favorite department store, that time is freed up too.
The biggest time suck for me was the television. When I gave up cable, I gained back more than just the money I paid to the Time Warner, I recouped several hours a day. I put that extra time towards walking, cooking with friends, reading, or just laying on couch enjoying music. Oh, I still enjoy some Netflix and Hulu, but it is intentional. Gone are the hours of mindless channel surfing.
So here’s the other part of the recipe for more time. Less commitments. That’s right, you actually need to give yourself permission to say no sometimes. No, you really don’t have to attend every dinner, birthday party, event, or gathering. If it’s not something that you’re truly excited about, go ahead and politely decline. Somehow along the way we decided filling every second of our day was acceptable, even admirable. It’s not. Our bodies weren’t meant to run 24/7 and we all need some down time to rest and replenish. Allow yourself a little afternoon nap, some time to lounge and listen to music or read a book, a walk in the fresh air. Turn off the TV, silence your cell phone and take some time to just breathe without all the distraction. You’ll be surprised how it’s much easier it is to face your day when you give your body and mind a little extra room to move.