I have this bad time management habit: I assume that one day everything will just magically fall into place.
“Today was just an outlier,” I mutter to myself as I stare at my unfinished to-do list. “Tomorrow I’ll find the time to make it to the gym, do my laundry, clean out my inbox, and tackle that big work project I’ve consistently shuffled to the back burner. If not tomorrow, then certainly the next day.”
Do you do this too? Do you operate with this same assumption that eventually things will click and you’ll have more than enough time for all of your tasks and lofty ambitions?
Unfortunately, I think we all do. How often have you heard someone say something like, “I just need to find the time…”?
But, here’s an eye-opening realization I had only recently: You’re never going to find the time. You have to make the time.
That’s right, my stressed-out friend. There’s no stash of extra, untapped hours hiding in the back of your desk drawer. You aren’t going to wake up tomorrow with genie-granted extra time at your disposal. Instead, you’re going to have the exact same number of hours in your day and likely the very same challenges, roadblocks, and excuses.
So, with that rude awakening out of the way, what’s the secret to actually accomplishing what you want to get done?
Well, I think it’s as simple as moving away from this passive approach to your time (you know, where you assume you’ll blindly stumble upon some additional hours) and being more proactive in terms of actually managing the 24 hours you have in any given day. Ahem, that’s why it’s called time management, after all.
Have you been meaning to fit in a workout for the past week? Schedule it on your calendar and honor it as you would any other meeting. Are you consistently pushing your passion project to tomorrow, next week, or next month? Maybe you need to get up earlier, or work on it during your lunch break or over the weekend. That’s one way to feel as if you’ve created more time, when in reality you’re just allocating and managing your existing resources differently.
I’m sorry if it’s hard to hear, but it’s the brutal truth: You won’t just find the time, and it certainly won’t find you. Making time requires a conscious effort and a sense of accountability and commitment to using the hours you have more effectively—rather than repeating the same routines and hoping that one day things will miraculously change.
Is taking control over your time an easy thing to do? Definitely not. But, I can assure you that it’s far more productive to try than to move through your workday with the misguided optimism that tomorrow will somehow grant you all the time you’ve ever needed.
TopicsTime Management , Syndication , Productivity , Tools & Skills , Achieving Goals , The Muse Editor's Picks
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Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author