Time has a tendency to fill up around us, and we don't help matters by telling anyone who will listen how busy we are.
To quote my mom, "Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean you have to."
Just because others complain about being busy, and then pack their schedules to the gills, doesn't mean your life has to look that way. You can enjoy your time and find more of it every day. Here's how...
How to get more free time
and take advantage of it
1) Don't freak out.
Maybe it's because I run a business, but sometimes I freak out when my schedule opens up. As if free time is a bad thing and I should be working harder.
Truth is, good ideas often percolate when I'm not at my desk. I composed this post in my head while on a bike ride during (gasp!) business hours. It made me excited to get back to my computer. That's working smarter and healthier.
2) Keep this list handy.
Start a list all the things you would love to do if only you had the time to do them, from a getaway weekend in the country to getting a pedicure. Be as specific as possible, including links to make booking a snap.
It's easier to use free time when you know what to do with it. Then instead of scrambling -- or spending it on Facebook -- you're crossing a fun thing off your to-do list. What could be better than that?
3) Change your view.
To do that, let's look at your calendar in a new way.
Instead of blocking off meetings and commitments, look for open spaces of time, choose your favorite color and schedule them first. What will you do with those spaces? Your list from step 2, of course!
Once your eyes are trained to spot free time in your calendar, you'll start seeing it everywhere. A long line in the supermarket gives you an extra moment to breathe. A conference call ending early means a chance to walk around the block before your next one.
And as you revel in the found time day to day, move onto the extra credit assignment. Look one or more months out and block a bigger chunk of time. Tell your clients, call your babysitter and schedule spa treatments.
Getting free time means giving it to yourself. Doing something you want to do before checking with everyone else to see if they want something first. (Pro tip: They always want something if you ask them, so don't ask them!)
This throwback photo is for all the Wonder Women out there! Give yourself permission to take the time you richly deserve.