Imagine this for a moment… one day, you wake up and realize you have won the lottery!
Your fairy godmother has appeared and has granted you the wish of 10 extra hours each week of free time.
And it’s going to stay on your schedule…for good. Ten whole hours that previously were used for something else… but now you’ve got 10 extra hours in your schedule each week. For the forseeable future. What would you do?
Well, first you’d probably celebrate, right?
WOO HOO! YEE HAW! DOING the Snoopy Happy Dance! YIPPEE!
Then, after the excitement wears off, you might think to yourself… wow… this is so awesome…
I don’t quite know what to do with myself!
Let me tell you – this is a normal reaction. The stunned silence. The gaping mouth. The feeling of “Whoa! What’s going on here?” We are so used to living our lives in a way that is so scheduled – overscheduled, really – that we have lost the art of “free time” and “space” and “wiggle room”. For many of us, it’s been since we were kids that we really knew what to do with any extra time.
I’ve coached several professionals over the years who have taken sabbaticals or who have retired. As we have worked together to help them prepare for a change in their schedule, the number one thing that stumps them is that they don’t know what they want to do with their time! So in many cases, sadly, they end up wasting their precious time and then wonder what the heck happened.
No doubt you’ve heard of the phenomenon of people who win millions in the lottery only to squander it all in the first few years after their windfall. They are so shocked and overwhelmed at their windfall and they are so out of touch with their core values that they blow it on frivolous stuff and having nothing to show for it years later.
Time and money are both valuable commodities in today’s busy world. If you find yourself with extra of either, it’s important to know how you want to spend it – and spend it wisely!!!
So… I have a confession to make– I’ve won the lottery this month. The Free Time Lottery, that is!
Now that my daughter has started kindergarten and rides the bus to school, I really have gained an extra ten hours in my week that I used to spend in the car driving her to and from her pre-school.
WOO HOO!!! I’m so incredibly grateful for this gift of time. I intend to invest it wisely. My priorities are regular exercise (4-5x/week), spending time with my Mom, writing and meditation/prayer.
While you may not be in my shoes this year, remember that free time can show up in a variety of ways.
- A meeting gets cancelled and you have a few extra hours in your schedule.
- You have to stay home with your sick kid and all they want to do is watch movies so you are free to do some things at home.
- If there’s a change in management at work, there may be a shift in the schedule or in expectations around meetings.
- Perhaps a family member plays sports many months of the year but there are a few months that you don’t have to work around the game schedule.
- Your favorite TV show finishes up its season leaving you with an extra hour a week!
So if you are fortunate to find yourself with some free time like me (doesn’t matter if it’s 1 hour, 5 hours or 10 hours), I want you to ask yourself the following:
- What do you value the most? Time with family and friends? Your health? Your spiritual practice? Spend more time doing that.
- What are you craving? Quiet time? More time in nature. Get togethers with friends? Reading a good novel? Commit to following the craving.
- What have you been procrastinating about? Developing a new product for your business? Organizing your finances? Working on your book? Think about how you’ll feel once you complete this project and commit to starting today!
Revitalizing Action: Make a list of how you would like to spend your free time if you suddenly got a whole bunch more of it! Write it in your journal or post it on your fridge. Or, bring it up at the dinner table one night and discuss with your partner or your children or your best friend. See what people say and get ideas for how you can be prepared the next time you get the gift of unexpected time!
Here’s to more Free Time!