Subscribe to blog via RSS

Search Blog

Full Time, All the Time

with Britt Reints

Forget the 9 to 5; the demands of a working mom aren’t limited by a time clock. Full Time, All the Time is a blog about balancing the many roles of a modern woman - and maintaining your wellbeing while doing it. I am a writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and sometimes volunteer living in Pittsburgh. Oh, and I think you look pretty today.

You can also find Britt on Twitter and at InPursuitOfHappiness.net.

The hard truth: you’ll never have more time

Categories: balance

9 comments

We all say it.  Most of us even believe it when we say it.  But every single one of us is flat out wrong.

The reality is, you’ll never get around to that when you have more time.

Not when work slows down.  Not when school is out.  Not even when the kids move out or you retire from your full time job.

You will never, ever have more time than you do right now.

Unless you - or someone smarter than you - invents a machine that stretches time, you will always have 60 seconds to a minute, 60 minutes to an hour, 24 hours to a day, and 7 days in a week.  That’s it.  No more, no less, no matter how young or old you are.  You have exactly as much time to do that now as you will in the future, and you have exactly as much time as I have.

You have exactly as much time in your week as the President of the United States.  And Oprah.  And your retired uncle.  But more importantly - the President of the United States! How crazy is that when you stop and think about it?  I have weeks when I can’t even keep my toilet clean, and in the exact same amount of time a guy runs an entire country!

How is it that Mr. President and Oprah and The Lady Who Runs Everything At Your Child’s School seem to get so much more done with their week than you do?  Why is it that you don’t have time to get that done - whatever your that is?

The truth is, doing or accomplishing more is not about time but about priorities.  To be clear, when I say priorities, I’m talking about “something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives.”

Hearing that my make you mad or make you think that I simply don’t understand or appreciate how much you have to do.  However, I say that fully assuming that you, like me, have a very long list of things that have to be done each day.  On some days, that list may even require more than your allotted 24 hours.  I get that, truly.

But I also know that many of us forget all the little things we choose to do with our time, like:

  • watch TV
  • read blogs and other favorite websites
  • talk on the phone with friends
  • check our email - again
  • download music - and then organize it, of course
  • watch movies
  • read books

Are these things bad?  Not necessarily.  In fact, some of the things on this list have been things that I’ve wanted to “do when I have more time”!  But they are examples of ways we can mindlessly spend our time, forgetting that we are actually choosing to make this more important than that.

Of course, the President and Oprah and maybe even The Lady Who Runs Everything At Your Child’s School aren’t getting more done than we are simply because they’ve switched off the TV.  They also have a lot of help taking care of items that are on most of our “Must Do” lists - like doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring children, paying bills, mowing the lawn and grocery shopping.  That help, as we all know, isn’t free.  So maybe we could argue that how much you get done in your week is limited by your income.

Except… instead of choosing to spend time on a housecleaner or other form of help, you may be choosing to spend money on:

  • fancy coffee drinks
  • manicures and pedicures
  • shoes
  • gym memberships
  • cable TV
  • meals out
  • books or movies

Again, there isn’t anything wrong with spending money on any of these items.  But it’s important to remember that when you do so, you are choosing to purchase those items instead of competing alternatives - like someone who could help you free up more of your limited amount of time.

What’s my point?  Am I trying to encourage you to quit Starbucks, hire a lawn care company, and finally get that done?

Not necessarily.  There are some things, for instance, that I’d like to do when my kids grow up.  I will not have more hours in my day then, but at this point in my life it’s more important to me to spend certain hours helping my kids with homework than, say, learning how to not kill plants.  I’m OK with that, and I’ll probably be OK if I never learn how to make something grow.

But what about the things we aren’t OK with putting off?  What about the things we’d really, really like to make sure we get to before our time here is over?

Stop and think about the things you’re putting off and why you’re putting them off.  Ask yourself how important it is to you that you do or accomplish that.  Is it more important than some of the things you’re currently making a priority?  I know when I ask these questions, I have to admit that the priorities I have in my head don’t exactly match up to the choices I’m making in real life.

I’m determined to do something about that.



Subscribe to blog via RSS
Share this on:

9 comments so far...

  • Why can’t there be a way to eliminate sleep? That would be perfect!

    Avitable  |  June 2nd, 2010 at 6:56 am

  • I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do certain things. Or rather to WANT to do certain things. What it comes down to is this: Mostly you make time for what is important to you. Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to make time for things like leisure, especially if we are moms. I believe that happens because somewhere in our heads we feel we shouldn’t need it.

    Part of truly finding balance is also letting go. Letting go of needing the bathroom to be cleaned OUR way and asking your spouse or kids to do it. Letting go of needing the house to look like a picture in a magazine. So what if my bed’s not made? I’m just gonna get back in soon anyway (although my bed will always be made if there is company). Let go of stuff that we are told is important but really just eat up a lot of time we could be doing something that we WANT to do.

    Finn  |  June 2nd, 2010 at 9:20 am

  • There are a lot of things I’ve been putting off that I shoudln’t be. Good resolve to try and stop putting off those things.

    Mich  |  June 2nd, 2010 at 11:01 am

  • @Finn - I think that is a separate issue. I think many people - I know I’m included in this - don’t have habits that line up with our beliefs or priorities, but we’re pretty mindless about them.

    Miss Britt  |  June 2nd, 2010 at 12:22 pm

  • Ditto what Finn said — except my bed won’t be made even if there IS company!

    SoftwareMom  |  June 3rd, 2010 at 7:04 am

  • I agree with Miss Britt. It is a separate issue. I, for one, love coming home each day to a clean house and a made bed. There’s something about sliding between those un-rumpled sheets at the end of the day that’s soothing and relaxing.

    But I also know that when I say “I’ll do it when I have more time,” it means that IT is not a priority for me at THIS time. It means that my allocated 60 seconds to a minute, 60 minutes to an hour, and so on, are currently being taken up with More Important Things. If It was that important, something already on the list would be bumped down to a space in the future when the time was not yet blocked out for something else.

    I’m not sure that’s what others mean when they say it though - and I know it’s not what my ex meant when he said it - so it’s nice to hear someone reinforce these thoughts and concepts once in a while.

    Phe  |  June 3rd, 2010 at 9:42 am

  • Phe - I know sometimes when I say it, I forget that’s what it means and I need to stop and check to make sure the choices I’m making are lining up with my priorities.

    Miss Britt  |  June 3rd, 2010 at 9:51 am

  • I’m getting pretty good at letting things go if I don’t get to them. Not sure if that’s maturity, senility, or what.

    SKL  |  June 4th, 2010 at 11:52 am

  • SKL - I think we get more and more aware of what is worth MAKING time for and what we can shrug off as we get *whispers* older.

    Miss Britt  |  June 7th, 2010 at 7:21 am

Work Life Balance Stories

Check out our best tips for balancing work and home life.

Quick & Easy recipes

Browse our favorite quick and easy recipes, perfect for busy moms.

Ask & Answer Questions

What working moms are talking about on our question board!