I often get ask how I find the time to do what seems like "so many things" in my life?
The answer is definitely not single-faceted. It took years of making mistakes, years of pivoting my plans, years of trial and error, years of not believing in myself, years of caring about what others think, years of blaming my past, years of wasted effort on people who are just takers; although I will contradict that last point saying that it was followed by years of learning from it, changing my mental model, and knowing life is about learned lessons and the quality relationships you have.
Going back to “having the time.” The biggest key is having the support and I am so fortunate to have that with my family. Also becoming more of a recluse, introvert and having a smaller, quality, meaningful and tight knit group of friends. I believe as I grew older with all the mistakes under my belt and knowing my time, energy, and knowledge accumulation is finite, I am very intentional about how I spend my time, what helps align my goals, strengths and purpose; who I spend my time with, who makes me laugh, who deeply cares for me, who I care for and love, who challenges me to be a better person than I was the previous day.
In the book I am currently reading "Algorithms to Live By", that I know is already going to be a life-changing one with half a dozen re-reads to come, the author states:“The traditional explanation for the elderly having a smaller social network is that it’s just one example of the decrease in quality of life that comes with aging - but the study has argued that in fact, the elderly have fewer social relationships by choice. These decreases are the “result of lifelong selection process by which people strategically and adaptively cultivate their social networks to maximize social and emotional gains and minimize social and emotional risks. What the study found is that the shrinking of social networks with aging is due primarily to “pruning” peripheral relationships and focusing attention instead of the core of close friends and family members, this process seems to be a deliberate choice as people approach the end of their lives they want to focus on the connections that are the most meaningful.”
But why start when your wrinkles are set? The book outlines the concept and dilemma of exploration and exploitation - that in your younger years or in the very nature of children, these are the years of exploration, experimentation and an open floor of making all the mistakes. And as you grow into adults, most start the process or exploitation a little too late. Exploitation is the act of making use of the knowledge that you accumulated while exploring. So start reaping the benefits of your decades of exploration, knowledge-gaining, and learned lessons.
Here are the pillars of what gave me back time to do things that matter most to me:
- Having family support
- Having the best, most wonderful, silliest, most inquisitive and intelligent boy pushes me to be the best version of myself. Or just having a child period pushes you to set a model example.
- Having quality, meaningful friends
- Always remembering my values, principles and what gives me joy and ask myself whether what I’m doing aligns with those
- Staying active
- Learning to stay focused and consistent
Sandwiched between all those purposeful days are days of self-rumination, days of simply doing nothing and just being, days of doomscrolling, days of going out dancing into the night. Those days are just as purposeful as the rest as they will let you recharge, reflect, and reconnect with yourself and loved ones. So, finding time isn't just about being constantly productive, it's about making intentional choices that align with your values and priorities, while also taking care of yourself and nurturing your relationships. All the above truly helped to conserve my time and energy where I never feel like I'm trying to doing too much.