Gretchen Rubin

Face it: you have no free time.


The other day, I was waxing poetic to a friend about the joys of clearing out closets, and she sighed, “I know, my closets are a mess, and I’m dying to get them cleaned out. As soon as I have some free time, I’m going to get started.”

The fact is – she doesn’t have any free time.

I suffer from this illusion as much as anyone. I fantasize about the summer looming long and empty, with ample time for me to undertake all sorts of projects that I can’t do during “the year.” I think I’ll get a lot done at night after the girls go to bed. I imagine that as soon as I’m done with my book proposal/my manuscript/book publicity, I’ll have a glut of leisure.

But for a lot of people, including me, that kind of open time just isn’t going to present itself.

The fact that I have no “free time,” however, doesn’t mean that I can’t “free up some time.” I need to set priorities and make time for the things I want to do.

Only since the Happiness Project have I kicked the bad habit of putting off things I didn’t want to do, with the excuse that I’d do them when I had free time -- priorities like weight-training, doctors’ appointments, starting a blog, organizing all my wonderful happiness quotations in a book.

These days, I often go to the extreme of making an entry in my calendar, like “research Disneyworld” or “clean out coat closet.” Otherwise, I never find the time.

I might have thought that making time for these "free time" priorities would make me feel overwhelmed by a crowded schedule. Actually, it makes me feel more relaxed, because I see that I can tackle the tasks that I know should be done. As the list shrinks a bit, I feel like my life is in better shape.

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There are so many aspects to happiness in my view: diet, exercise, relationships, romance, parenting, creativity, efficiency, spirituality, order, learning, work....the list goes on. When I poke around the internet, there is SO MUCH that interests me that sometimes I just turn away and pick up a book. Yesterday I was checking out the "self-improvement" zone, and came across Today is That Day and ended up spending a lot of time there.

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