Dear Aunty B,
I’ve always been my own boss and loved the flexibility that it has offered me, especially when my kids were little. The plan was always to create a business that would support my family and then there would come a time where I could take a step back and have some of that elusive “free time”. The thing is, my kids have grown up and I’m still waiting for that time to come when my life doesn’t revolve clients and suppliers and whatever today’s drama at the business is. The more the business has grown, the less time I have and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
I’m tired of feeling like I never have time – please help!
Dear Time poor,
If I was a gambler, I’d be putting money on the fact that just about all of SmartCompany‘s readers can relate to your situation.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried out all those apps to help you be more productive and you’ve read those articles full of tips to help you save time. But those minutes and seconds we supposedly “save” are usually then spent taking more meetings and replying to more emails.
What I’ve learnt is how important it is to reframe how you think about time, and indeed success.
As Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, wrote last year, while most of us will say that our priority is to have time with our family and friends, that doesn’t always match with how we think about success in business.
“As long as success is defined by who works the longest hours, who goes the longest without a vacation, who sleeps the least, who responds to an email at midnight or five in the morning – in essence, who is suffering from the biggest time famine – we’re never going to be able to enjoy the benefits of time affluence,” she says.
Huffington says she wishes she learnt earlier that there is enough time in her life for the things that are important to her. So starting today, Time poor, make a list of those things that you would do if you did have “free time” and find a way to make them happen. If it’s taking a holiday with your family, tell your team that you are taking leave and come up with a plan for who will be in charge while you’re away. If it is leaving work each day in time to make it home to eat dinner with your family, make yourself get out of the office at exactly that time today, and then do that again tomorrow. If it is catching up with a friend for a cocktail after work, send them a message right now.
Start making little changes today to make your “free time” a priority.