You just got an email from your neighbor asking you to keep an eye on the house while she goes on vacation AGAIN. Your best book club buddy says she’s reading a book a week AND is totally caught up on Serial season 2. Your favorite blog just told you how useful regular naps are. On Facebook everyone is going to painting parties, hitting hot yoga and managing to prep meals for the week on Sunday afternoon. By the time Sunday rolls around all you want do is watch Netflix…but you often spend it cleaning. There is never enough time for the things you want to do. Where are they all getting all this time?
Reality check…she has exactly the same amount of time as you.
I too used to hold a grudge about the things everyone else seemed to have time for that I never did. After I read 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam I had a perspective shift. I found that doing a time log is a lot like doing a food log. It really makes you aware of your choices. It helps you see the little things that are sneaking in and keeping you from reaching your big picture goals.
Reality check…how you spend your hours is really your choice.
Now I’ve just finished Vanderkam’s latest book, I Know How She Does It. I was excited to see what new tidbits I could learn from her work studying time logs of successful women. The study, called The Mosaic Project, stems from the work she did in 168 Hours and the desire to learn how these woman manage to “have it all”. (Spoiler: no one has it all.) My original goal was to find the best nuggets to share (and apply) in case you didn’t have time to read the book. However, when I sat down to review my notes and outline what I wanted to say something else very different bubbled to the surface.
Reality check…YOU are the reason you don’t have time.
This is not about blame. This is about taking responsibility. This is about acknowledging that we make choices every day on what time we go to bed, whether we watch the Biggest Loser or do our own workout and how much time we spend on Pinterest. She and I can give all the time management hacks and suggestions in the world but unless you make the choice to utilize them they are useless. Until you decide to take control of your life you will never have enough time.
She calls her study The Mosiac Project in reference to the spreadsheet she asks women to use for the time study. Each cell is a tile in the big picture. Each woman has the same number of tiles. She is in charge of what she colors them with and how she arranges them. I will acknowledge that each woman in the study is a high-income earner, meaning all her basic needs are met. If you are struggling to make ends meet this is a totally different conversation. Some women are single, some are married but they all have at least one child at home.
With a 168 hours at her disposal:
She averages 44 hours per week at work.
She gets at least 7 hours of sleep most nights.
She makes time for an average of 3.3 hours of exercise per week.
She understands that the “Time Crunch” is just a tool to keep her from living the life she wants to have.
Reality check…she is not perfect. She is all about GOOD ENOUGH.
She’s not afraid to order groceries online or hire a sitter even if she works from home. She doesn’t care if all she has is 10 minutes, she makes the most of those 10 minutes. She gives herself permission to not be “ALL or NOTHING”. She takes her vacation time. She knows the value of her time, her work and her wisdom.
What I need you to know is you will never have enough time until you take control of the time you have. You have the power to create the life YOU want if you:
Stop letting other people set your agenda.
Stop asking for permission and rarely beg for forgiveness.
Stop waiting for opportunities and create them.
Stop worrying about what others think (or are doing) and listen to your own inner voice.
I need you to look at the big picture and start creating your mosaic. I know when I did both my life and my attitude changed. When I stepped back and looked at my mosaic I realized how truly blessed I am.