*A version of this post originally appeared on higheredgeek.com
“You make time for what you want to make time for.”
This is something I say to people often. It can apply to anything and speaks to what we value and what we make space for in our lives. Whether it is volunteering, starting your own venture, or networking, there is always more that we can do with our time to achieve our goals. But often, I find that people suffer from inertia. They get stuck in the routine of what they've always done or whatever is easiest. Time is a finite resource. When we "save" it, it isn't going into some bank to use later. We have to make the most of the time that is given to us.
An example of this that often frustrates me is people making time for each other. Whether it is friends, colleagues, or family, we have to deliberately make time for whatever we want to make time for, even when that might not be the path of least resistance. We always give each other the pleasantries of wanting to meet up and do something or talk more, but we often don't. After the long days of our busy lives, we end up procrastinating about these sort of things. They warrant our attention and we have to push through the inertia to actually make it happen. If we don't make the effort, then the decision about it will be made for us what we're neglecting.
Certainly part of this is examining what deserves our precious, limited time. Do we really need to spend hours on mindless games on our phones or scrolling through social media ad nauseum? We curtail certain habits that take up a lot of time without producing a lot of value to give ourselves the space to do more of what we actually want. And part of this means giving ourselves literal space. I say all this to mean we don’t need to be on for the entirety of our days. We can have unscheduled down time to relax, but it is especially nourishing if we’ve been purposefully productive with the rest of our day, not wasting time on things that aren’t deserving of our energy and giving us something or aren’t getting us to where we want to be.
We can do more and be better by spending purposeful energy thinking about what specifically we want to make time for and actually making that time. Schedule time to talk with that person you want to talk to, make a to-do list about that project you want to get done, set specifically when you’re going to go to the gym, and figure out what in your life deserves your attention.
There are plenty of ways we can be more strategic with our time. Personally I’m big on setting to do reminders and blocking off time on my calendar to get things done so I don’t let my days get away from me. Also, you can utilize different journaling techniques to visualize out your goals and actionable steps to get there. Lastly, you can plug into different productivity tools to manage your projects and collaborate with others.
Inertia is the enemy of productivity and the enabler of complacency. We can do more and be better to each other by being aware of it and actively working against it. We have to make time for what we want to make time for. Only then will we feel empowered to make positive change for ourselves and each other.