All around the world, people are working longer hours and drowning in the quicksand of ever-expanding task lists. And somehow they still feel guilty when they take time for themselves. It’s madness — and it probably feels like madness for those in the middle of it, too. I know I’m not the only one who has felt like this. People want more time to themselves, but they are trying to get there by working more. That just doesn’t add up. Somehow we’ve lost our way. Instead of working to achieve our goals and enjoy life, we just work and have no time for ourselves. So how do you go about getting off the hamster wheel and finding a way to add time?

Realize That Time Is Elastic
People complain they don’t have enough time — as if time itself is the issue. You’ve probably heard Parkinson’s Law, it states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” If you haven’t heard it, you’ve probably experienced it. Remember that time you left your chemistry assignment until the last minute and you still managed to finish it by the due date? Or that time you took forever to complete a simple task just because you had the space available in your schedule? Time is somehow elastic when it comes to work. You can find time to enjoy your life more—right now. To state things more correctly, you don’t have to add time because you already have the time. All you have to do is put yourself first and aim to experience fun and adventure now rather than after you complete all the work ahead of you. None of us are guaranteed that future time, but we do have right now.

Start putting yourself into your own schedule by taking the following three steps:

  1. Make a daily appointment to meditate for 20 minutes
  2. Schedule six weeks of mini-adventures – 2-4 hours of fun each week
  3. Book your next vacation, no matter how “impossible” it seems

Life is for living. So don’t waste it stuck in the hamster wheel. I know this is hard to put into practice, but I’m trying, are you?

Sarah Caudle, PA-C