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How to find more time during the day

I am an expert time waster. It’s actually a gift. You give me a block of time, even an entire day, and I can accomplish next to nothing through all of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll look busy. I’ll sit at the computer and keep typing. I’ll keep moving about the house as if there are several projects I’m working on at once. But it’s all an act. A show, if you will.

Perhaps I should take it on the road. Charge admission. Put on several shows a week. Nah, that sounds like too much work.

You’re probably reading this wondering, where exactly does this gift come from because I think I’ve got it, too? In fact, you may think you are even more an expert at this gift than me.  I’d challenge you to a time-wasting duel, but that would be a colossal waste of time.


An interesting idea.

Where exactly did the idea come from? And how did it rise to such importance in our life?

Think about it. How much of life is centered around time?

Alarm clocks start us off each day. Schedules dictate how quickly we must leave the house, or when our kids need to move to the next project. We go through the day from one appointment to the next. Checking things off along the way.

We eat according to time. Travel according to time. Sleep according to time. Raise kids according to time. It’s everywhere.

Take a moment and look around you, how many things that tell time do you see?  Two, three, more?

Time runs our life.

When asked what you would like more of, you’d probably answer time. Many couples have expressed that one area they would like to improve is quality time in their relationship.

Have you ever spent a week or more away from the tyranny of time?

Where schedules and meals were determined by the sun and your body’s natural rhythms? This often happens while on vacation.

That’s one of the main reasons I love backpacking. You head off into the woods for several days with no time constraints. Life becomes slower. The body’s natural rhythms take over. The important things in life come to the surface.

What if you could live this way every day?

The interesting thing about being time-crunched is that whatever is important to you, you still make time for.

What if we replaced time focus with energy? Instead of looking at the day as a block of time, look at it as a finite amount of energy.

Then ask yourself, where do you spend your energy?

The answer to this question will tell you where your priorities lie.

Do you find that you come home too exhausted to enjoy your family at the end of the day? Work performance may be your priority. Do you find that there isn’t enough time in the day to complete everything on your to-do list? Schedules may be your priority. Have you racked up huge amounts of debt recently? Keeping up appearances to others may be your priority.

You only have so much energy each day for the things in life.

By spreading yourself too thin and being involved in too many things, your energy is dispersed and is of little real use to you or your loved ones. Think back to the times in life when you’ve been in the flow. Focused. All your energy devoted to one thing. What was that like? Cool, huh.

When you live life more in line with your core values, more energy for life is harnessed. If you displace energy on the immediate concerns rather than core priorities, life can be very chaotic and scattered.

In order to reclaim some of your energy, try this:

1. Learn to say no.

Probably the number one way to claim more energy for your priorities is to do away with the draining things in life. Say no from the start when invited to join some group that you are only mildly interested in. That way, you’ll have more energy for the things you really enjoy. Incidentally, this is a great lesson to teach your children. Do they really need to play every sport and be part of every school club?

2. Listen to your gut.

If you are unsure about something going on in life, listen to your gut. It often knows the best answer or course of action to follow. This is a learned skill, but it can serve you well. Those times when you are uneasy about something going on, act on your gut and live more in line with it. The uneasiness is probably due to a misalignment of things in your life.

3. Live passionately.

This is one of my core values. Live with passion. Whatever you choose to do, do it well. Let your self go a bit and let the passion flow to others. Live life out loud! Enjoy life and don’t take it so seriously. None of us are getting out of life alive anyway.

4. Feed off the energy of others.

Your energy honing will feed others. And the best part, you can surround yourself with energy people and feed off theirs as well. That’s the beauty of living in community with other like-minded people. You build each other up and spur each other on to greater things.

Where do you spend your energy?  Does this answer the question of where your priorities lie?

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  1. Wilma Ham

    Hi Corey.
    Yes time wasting is an interesting concept because what are we wasting here?
    For me time is about completion. I do things to complete and when I am done, I am done and I can go and play.
    I make sure that I am able to complete what I start and when I can’t I won’t start or renegotiate an extension. That way I feel no push for time and I feel I have all the time in the world.
    Like with all menmade invention we have gone greedy, we want more of everything, more than we need, we even want more time and how weird is that.
    As you say we have become a slave of time, we have become a slave of our activities and when we do important daydream, we get told we waste time?!
    I am with you all the way on this one.
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last blog ..Questions, the doors to our hearts. =-.

    • Jerry


  2. prerna

    Wow Corey.. Guess what, I have this gift too:-) And I agree, I’m gonna try focusing more on energy rather than time and am sure the difference would be there for all to see:-) Thank you for sharing this with us.

  3. se7en

    The biggest time waster for me is being unfocused… I can spend a whole day being terribly busy , working hard all day, being totally exhausted at the end of it and achieving nothing… The power of being distracted: Get up, coffee machine on, take some dishes from the dishwasher while coffee brews, remember to get the laundry to the washer, get breakfast out, shower, remember coffee but just grab the mail from the mail box and then start to sweep the doorstep… finally have breakfast closer to lunch time but cannot put the dishes in the dishwasher because I never finished emptying it… My challenge to save time is to be disciplined enough to finish one task, no matter how big or small, before I start the next one!!!
    .-= se7en´s last blog ..Se7en More HomeSchool Questions… =-.

  4. steadymom

    I think the tyranny of the urgent always tries to cut in and take away from what is really valuable. It takes focus (& sometimes unplugging from technology) to stay centered and remember WHY we do what we do!

    .-= steadymom´s last blog ..Steady Thought for the Day =-.

  5. Melanie at Parenting Ink

    I’m a time waster myself.
    I think the key, for me, is to schedule in time for what I feel passionate about (as you suggest). Some days, that’s a Zumba class. Other days, it’s 30 minutes of fiction reading. Or once a week, it’s my guilty pleasure of watching an episode of Glee.
    Scheduling something for ME, not just for my kids, helps me be more productive at other times.
    Thanks for a post that made me think!
    .-= Melanie at Parenting Ink´s last blog ..Divorce =-.

  6. Melanie at Parenting Ink

    I’m a time waster myself.
    I find, though, if I schedule time for activities that I’m passionate about (as you suggest), whether it’s a Zumba class, 30 minutes of fiction reading, or a weekly guilty pleasure of an episode of Glee, I feel more productive with my “other” time. ME time is important, and you really have to schedule it when you have kids.
    Thanks for a post that made me think!
    .-= Melanie at Parenting Ink´s last blog ..Divorce =-.

  7. Maryann @Raise Healthy Eaters

    Time managment is a huge problem for me. I think it’s good advice to think about where you put your energy. Like many moms, I’m spread thin between work, family and blogging. Thanks for the reminder!
    .-= Maryann @Raise Healthy Eaters´s last blog ..Quick Dinners: Chicken Fajitas =-.

  8. Jessie Stimpson

    I think the computer is my biggest waste of time…especially with lotsa junk email and blogging and Facebook!! I have to take breaks from these things mentally in order to stop and live in real life. I’ve started getting up early (and I’m NOT a morning person) to exercise and this starts my day off focused. And remembering to take time to PLAY!! This makes happy mama, happy kids, and joy in the house!
    .-= Jessie Stimpson´s last blog ..Feeling Uninspired Taggy Meme Questionnaire Thingy =-.

  9. val

    hi corey! i didn’t realize you write for this blog too! it’s also on my blog roll.
    i liked this post…. like we just shared w/ you during our first “coaching session,” our lack of time is our biggest problem!!!!!!

  10. The Secret Life of Kat

    I love the quote from Thoreau:
    “As if wasting time, doesn’t injure eternity…”

    It’s not about doing more with our time, but doing better things.

    Another quote I love says:
    “When drinking tea, just drink tea.”

    The idea is to focus on the present, the task at hand. There is so much joy, life an richness to be found if we’ll just take the time to focus.

  11. Jenni at My Web of Life

    Thanks for helping me realize that I have a gift! It is also nice to know that my gift is not unique to me! 😉

    I find that I swing out of balance with a variety of ‘time-wasters’. I’ll either spend hours of unfocused time on the computer, or I’ll skew off in the other direction and essentially abandon my computer (and blog) for months at a time.

    I am proud to say that I have begun to say no to what I am only mildly interested in so that I can say yes to the things I am passionate about. Essentially I am learning to pick my battles (or vices).

    My home is a huge time suck- just the hours spent puttering and decluttering. My goal is to get the whole thing decluttered once and for all this winter and then use my newfound ability to say ‘no’ to household items as well.

    Thanks for a great post!
    .-= Jenni at My Web of Life´s last blog ..Some Post-Halloween Horror =-.

  12. Rana

    I’ve been trying to live by my bodies natural time clock lately my kids and I. Especially when it comes to eating and sleeping and we seem to have better day because we are well rested and fed when we feel like eating. Although it is hard to do when you are faced with things in life that have to be scheduled in. My most time consuming thing is the computer too. I like your ideas this gives me something to think about. Corey I love your blog you have great posts and thought provoking questions.
    .-= Rana´s last blog ..Life Lesson # 221: Never mix lights with darks. =-.

  13. Susan

    Boy, thankful now I know I am not the only one who can WASTE AWAY a day!! I will try to be more aware and recapture that time that I can redirect elsewhere….I know it would make me feel better and I would love sharing the time with those I care about.
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..One Big Turkey, Eight Guests and One Busy Mom Equals….. =-.

  14. Laurie

    I have spent much of my energy lately on being creative, developing my ability to draw and paint. Time escapes me when I am doing this. I love it.

    I need to spend more time cleaning my house. EEEK!

  15. Melissa Gorzelanczyk

    I was just thinking about time today and how time rules my life.

    Because apparently, one of my personality flaws (according to the personality color wheel – its legit, I swear) is that I’m, “Constantly at war with time.”
    An entrepreneur said it best: Not waking up to an alarm – now that’s true freedom.

    Really great writing, Corey. Love your stuff.

  16. izzat aziz

    sometime i feel 24 hours is too short, but sometime it is too long it really depend on how I handle thing really.. gain back energy one simple way is enjoy whatever you do.. no fatigue will needed.. 😀

  17. Eric | Eden Journal

    Time is one of the few constants that we humans have not yet found a way to cheat or overcome. Thus we are left to manage it as best we can. I love your tip to feed of the energy of others. I find it absolutely terrific to surround myself with like minded people. I feel great when I have opportunities to do this!
    .-= Eric | Eden Journal´s last blog ..The Open Mind Test – Part 3: Our Purpose in Life =-.

  18. Ann-Marie Fagan

    Hi Corey
    “What if we replaced time focus with energy?” Such a valuable question.
    Huuuum. Energy focus serves me best. If I am creating and moving towards the things I want in life then time doesn’t play a big part. I am aligned with what I’m doing, I’m relaxed and I am so productive.
    However, when I am doing ‘donkey work’ I feel time pressure; I am tense, it’s about results and volume so I rush around and wonder why I find it so difficult to get things complete. I’ve realised that it is my attitude towards it that creates the clock watching. If I can’t fully choose it, I need to say NO to it and deal with the consequenses.
    Corey, this is really useful. Thanks.
    .-= Ann-Marie Fagan´s last blog ..Ann-Marie on Answering questions truthfully =-.

  19. Amy @ Frugal Mama

    Yes, like money, time and energy are precious resources and should be treated as such.

    I find myself conserving energy by trying to arrive places early, not just on time. If my kids and I are not in a mad rush to get ready for school, we conserve both mental and physical energy that could be wasted on stressing, nagging, and running around.

    I love being able to stroll to school in a leisurely pace, to arrive a few minutes early so the kids can get their wiggles out on the playground before sitting down to their desks, and having the time to chat with other parents.

    Starting the morning off right in this way — being gentle and respectful of our energy — can really extend how much we are able to accomplish during the day.

    Thanks for the great post.
    .-= Amy @ Frugal Mama´s last blog ..How to Conquer the Downsides of Online Shopping =-.

  20. Juggling Motherhood

    I love the idea of focusing on the energy….it kind of makes you want to use your “energy” on things that matter.

  21. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

    Well. I’m here because I’m rivaling your time-wasting skills. 3 1/2 hours on the computer and not a checkmark on the list to show for it. 🙁 I’m having great fun reading blog posts, though!

    I echo your sentiment about leaving time behind – I used to attend and run retreats where everyone had to turn in their watches at the beginning, and it was so freeing to never have to look at the time or worry about taking too long doing something. Good conversation was always one result!

    .-= Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship´s last blog ..Searching for a Slow Cooker Recipe? Me, Too! =-.

  22. Angie

    Absolutely loved this article. Sharing it and bookmarking – truly eye opening, thanks Corey!

  23. hailey


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