You Have Time

Pivotal changes come about when you set conscious goals to change parts of your life you’re not happy with. By implementing these fundamental, subtle techniques in my own schedule, my happiness and sense of fulfilment have only grown exponentially. Just like Beyoncé, Elon Musk, and your respective idols, we are all granted with 24 hours each day. However, we constantly find ourselves justifying our failures on a day-to-day basis with the same old excuse: “I don’t have time.” Deep inside, we know that isn’t necessarily true. Many of us are protective of our finances ─ meaning, we don’t just give out our money randomly to anyone. But there is a problem with this: we don’t do the same with our time. If this sounds like you, there are two things I suggest you consider:

Practice saying “no”, even to your closest friends.

Saying “no” to your close friends is painfully hard but necessary, and I find it helpful to address why certain activities are important to me. Friends who truly care about your wellbeing will be accepting and encouraging. If yours are putting you down for not hanging out, that’s a red flag.

Set a schedule that revolves around your well-being.

When you’re busy responding to every single temptation, you leave little time for yourself, your personal projects, and your internal environment. The key is to be intentional to what you pay attention to.

  • Date intentionally. In other words, be very selective with who you let into your personal life and go out on dates with. Hanging out for the sake of doing so not only is a waste of money, it’s a huge waste of time. Modern online dating, especially, has lowered the bar for so many of us and offered us unlimited possibilities. But with endless choices, we are rendered highly disposable, akin to shopping on Amazon. Used and didn’t like it? Return. Package not as described? Return. When you start living in the real world and detach yourself from the virtual one, amazing, magical things happen.

  • Consume intentionally. Binging Netflix and YouTube videos mindlessly promotes escapism and eats up time you can otherwise use to create content for others to consume. Be mindful of what you consume or they will consume you.

Image source: Kyle Cottrell

It’s also crucial to take a step back and re-evaluate your purpose of being on social media. Is it to share your passion for photography? Do you want to share your journey of building a spaceship, or simply want to catch up with your old, distant friends? When you have identified your why, it will be easier to act on it. And when you find yourself uninspired or have allowed a naysayer to put you down, treat yourself to a social media detox. A day, a week, a month ─ whichever feels the best for you. By doing so, you will be able to live your highlight reels and suffer less with FOMO. Hard, but necessary.

Here’s a fact: no one really notices when you disappear from social media for a day. Everyone else is so busy living their own lives, worrying about their own set of insecurities, and checking on Yelp to find the next best place to eat. The truth is a harsh but liberating one: no one really cares where you are or what you’re doing.

Now that you know, free yourself from the thoughts of others and get into the flow of doing what you enjoy. Even better, do more of the things that make you forget you even had a phone!

As you learn to prioritize your time and well-being, you’ll also find it extremely helpful to break a huge responsibility into a task so small you can do it within the next 30 seconds.

What’s the one thing you can do right now that will bring you closer to your goal?

For just one week, push yourself every day. No matter how you’re feeling, no matter how stupid you think it is, or if you think this “something” is not going to work. Paint a painting, make progress on a project, or learn a new chord on your acoustic guitar. What you’ll need is physical evidence to prove that you’re actually inching forward to a place that’s critical for your growth.

Stretching yourself also means taking a lifetime of roller coaster rides filled with occasionally unpleasant emotions. If you find yourself feeling negative, whether self-inflicted or triggered by something as minute as your phone lagging or your food arriving late (ugh, and wrong order?!), you can choose to be reactive and go wherever life kicks you, or be proactive and take initiative to better your situation. The best way I have found to be proactive is to ask myself: “Will this conversation matter in a day? Will I remember this event in a month? A year? Ten years?”

When you’re using your free time to its full potential, you’ll find your health barometer in every other aspect of your life tune up positively. You have the time; you just have to see it.

As you make time to embark on your fulfilling journey, always remember to: remove yourself from situations that don’t serve your well-being, set intentional goals, and lastly, don’t be afraid to aim high.

Image source: Shalom Mwenesi