Every weekend my husband and daughter steal away for an afternoon of daddy daughter time. Which sounds like the perfect time to catch a movie, luxuriate in a hot bath or curl up and get lost in a good book. But instead of spending that quiet time doing something that I enjoy, what do I do? Spend the whole time doing laundry, running errands, and tackling my never-ending to do list.
I almost hate making plans for the weekend that include me. Activities have become distractions that take me away from my list. If I go out and do something fun now, the list will make me pay for it later. I get jealous when I hear about how other people spend their weekends. Out seeing and doing while I’m cleaning and organizing. The list has me on a treadmill and I can’t seem to get off. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even know how to relax. I’m always thinking about how I can multitask. Doing one thing at a time is no longer good enough.
The truth is that I (and most women I know) would need another day added to the week to accomplish everything on the list. So comes the guilt that goes along with feeling like I never get anything done. The realist in me knows that it’s impossible to do it all, but the dreamer in me wants to believe that I can list myself into some kind of zen freedom.
We are all given the same 24/7/365. One of my goals for the year is to spend more of it doing things that I enjoy. I’d be lying if I said I was going to throw the list out the window. But here are a few other things I’m going to do to find time to do more of what makes me happy:
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Re-evaluate the list
The more I think about it, the more I realize that my anxiety is what drives the list. I get anxious when things are out of order. But when you have a family, things tend to be out of order most of the time. So instead of spending time obsessing over what is out of place, I’ll work on coping with a little bit of messy. And I’ll stop adding superfluous tasks to the list. Or better yet, I’ll pay someone else to do them.
Shorten the list
Rather than constantly adding items to one long list, I am going to create a shorter list that I can likely get done in a day. That way, I will feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s completed.
Add my name to the list
From now on, I will add doing something that makes me happy to the list. It could be taking a yoga class, visiting a museum, having lunch with a friend, or something as simple as reading a magazine. Just as long as I make an effort to carve out some time to do something just for me.
I guess we’ll see how it goes. Maybe one day, I’ll be brave enough to get rid of the list for good…
Enlighten me! How do you make time to do what makes you happy?