This week I came to a realization, not quite an “ah-ha” moment, more of a “no duh” moment. As you can imagine, I’ve read A LOT of books and articles on parenting, working, working and parenting and work life balance. If it relates to one of those topics and trying to figure out how to fit it all in, I’ve probably read something on it. I’ve been reading these books for at least ten years and this week I finally realized the one thing that all these books have in common, they all relate successful parenting to good time management. Every one of these books has at least one chapter on how to fit everything into your day. They offer time hacks on ways to create the perfect schedule, use an online calendar, how to divide up the chores and even suggestions on how to say no more often. I have fallen into the trap as well. This is not my first blog about time management, in fact one of the first blogs I ever wrote was about making time for important things in your life.
Earlier this week, I started jotting down some of my thoughts, in preparation for this blog. The next day, my husband sent me a link and said “you should watch this, I think you’ll like it.” The video was created by Jay Shetty, a former monk who now creates impactful videos on timely topics and posts them on social media. This video is only three months old and already has over 60 million views, his message is striking a chord with a lot of people (not to mention the 240 million minutes people have spent watching this 4-minute video).
I was talking to a good friend yesterday and the topic of time management came up during our conversation. She is trying to add more “want to-do’s” into her day to balance out the long list of “have to-do’s”. We don’t get to talk very often and yet, in our short conversation, an aspect of time management came up.
Is time management really the answer we are looking for? All those books I was talking about in the beginning offer great ideas on how to become more efficient and put less pressure on yourself, but even after reading the tips and implementing what we can, we are still left feeling like our list is too long, that we are too busy and that we don’t have enough time.
In Jay Shetty’s video, he points out “everyday 86,400 seconds are deposited into our life account”. He goes on to say, “We would never waste it if it was money, so why do we waste it when it comes to time?” In this sense I believe this is where parents are different, we are not wasting time. We are doing our best to maximize our time, trying to fit every possible thing into each day. We take it to the other extreme where if we are wasting time, we feel guilty that there is something else we should be doing. No matter which way you choose to look at it, our time limited. We can’t earn more than we are given. We can try to control it, but it will continue regardless of our best efforts.
What would happen if we allowed the day to just unfold and see what happened? Even as I type that question, I worry about all the things I would forget to do if I didn’t have a plan for the day. That is sad and at the same time evidence of why I should try to do it for a day.
Is time the answer or the source of the problem?
What if time is not the issue?
What if it is our mindset?
What if we let our heart guide what is important instead of the clock?
What is the worst that could happen?
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.