I haven’t had a lot of time lately to write.
But is that a true statement or did I just choose to use the time I had on other activities?
How much time I have for something isn’t based on the clock—everyone gets the same number of hours each day. My time is always tied to my decisions and nothing else. I could decide to stay up late, sleep in, take a short lunch, exercise, watch TV, and so on. The hours are the same, but my choice of how I use them makes all the difference.
The choices I make are also tied to my emotions and energy. If I have spent all day writing code at work, I’m more likely to avoid my personal computer at home—even if there are important tasks awaiting my attention. My energy level or desire to spend my off hours in that manner are directly tied to the decisions I’ve made throughout the day.
Statements that begin with “I wish I had more time to…” are red flags for me. When I hear myself say something like, “I wish I had more time to exercise and get in shape,” it really means that I need to make time to exercise. Wishing it won’t change anything. I won’t magically have more time or extra energy by making that comment, so it’s useless.
But I do find myself wishing for more time even with the knowledge that I’m fooling myself. Wishing and wanting is so much easier than deciding and doing. It’s always comes back to low energy for me. Sometimes I just want to chill and fuzz out with a good movie. I understand that actions like exercise can build energy, but the day is short and my excuses are long.
I’m really, really good at convincing myself that I need down time. Really good. Expert-level good.
So I trick myself. There’s a fun, chill activity going on in San Francisco and all I have to do is get to that location. No exercise is required. Just walk there and maybe walk around a bit more after the activity and then head home tackling a few 12 percent grade hills along the way.
Walking is my easy for me and doesn’t feel much like exercise. I love being outdoors, looking at this city’s architecture and parks, and getting out of the apartment. It’s all about incentivizing healthy activity.
That goes for most of my time management. I have to look at my options and the potential results of each to make the better choice. Do I want to spend time on personal finances? No. Would I rather run out of money and suffer the pain of debt? Hell no. So maybe I turn on a movie that I’ve seen before to sweeten the task of budgeting. Bonus time.
The older I get, the more critical it becomes to spend my time well. My kids live 2,000 miles away, so when we get together, our shared time is more precious. Family time.
I’ve spent years improving my skills so I can have the job I want. Not using my hours at work to further that time investment is foolish, but I’m also smart enough to know that I need a work/life balance.
The point is that time is precious. It’s the most limited resource we have and needs to be treated as such. The last thing I said to a loved one might be the last time I get to speak to them. The last action I made could be my final statement about who I am, and I want to leave this world a more positive place than when I entered it.
Writing this feels like a good use of my time. I hope reading it was worthy of your time as well.