“I need to make time for working out.“
“You should make time for the kids.”
“He needs to make time for his check-ups.“
These are just random sentences, from everyday lives, but notice how they all use the phrase ‘make time’. How do you think this phrase originated? I mean come to think of it, you can’t make time. It’s there already, right? Did the English make a mistake? Remember how Amitabh Bachaan says in the movie Namak Halal, “English is a fun-ny language”? Not really. There is a lot of wisdom in that phrase.
Why we say ‘make time’ is because, even though time itself is infinite, we have only a finite amount of time to do everything that we want to do; we have to fit it all in those few minutes, hours, months or years that we have. Making time means shifting around your finite amount of time, to make space for that something that you have been sitting on. Ultimately, it’s upto you to manipulate your time to find the time to do something.
These days everyone is busy. We have jobs, bills to pay, our homes to look after, families to tend to, and social events to attend. Getting a breather is difficult and we’re often even working on vacations and on days off. We are so busy that we don’t have time to call, pay visits, celebrate festivals or events with those who matter to us. We just text them or WhatsApp them and tell ourselves, ‘That should do. They’ll understand because I’m busy’.
But are we busy? Or are we hiding our laziness behind our ‘busyness’?
Do we really have no time to spare, no time to ‘make’ for things that we want or ought to do?
Why am I patronizing? I’m no less.
When I was working full time at a law firm, I used to think that I was the busiest person on the planet. I had no time for anything at all. No time to meet friends or family, no time to care for my health, no time to indulge in my hobbies, no time to prepare for my CS exams. I would always cry, ‘I have no time!’ Yet, I would find time to watch the latest flicks, chit-chat non-stop with my homies or go our on shopping sprees with my besties.
Then I got married and suddenly, even though I wasn’t working anymore, I was busier than before. Boy, those late nights watching reruns of shows or Whatsapping friends over the phone, were history. Chores at home won’t end. One would finish and the other would line up for my attention, and by night time, I would be dead tired. But then I enrolled for Masters in Law. And then everything went for a toss! Days blurred into each other as I tried to cope up with the syllabus and the truck-loads of assignments. My family used to complain how they never got to hear from me for days on end. But even then, I would find time to hang out with friends, go out, work out, what not. I hope by now, you’ve noticed something.
But motherhood changed everything!
Time is elastic. When you’re a parent, suddenly you’ll feel like time is flying by and you have no control over your own life. And yet there are moments, like when you’re trying to put your child to sleep, or in my case, when you’re trying to make her eat, you’ll feel like time has come to a standstill. There were days when I had no time to brush my teeth, take a bath or even change my clothes! Everything took a backseat and the one thing I was giving all my time to was my baby. Eventually the baby grew a little self-dependent, but I still found myself struggling with time. Then came a knee injury which finally put things into perspective for me.
I realized that I need to ‘make time’ for doing all that I want to do – like getting a job, or working out to keep myself in sound health. I realized that my excuse of not having time was just a farce for hiding my laziness. I also realized that if I carried on this way, I’d have a lifetime of regrets of never being able to do what I want. That’s when I started working as a freelancer, started my blog, picked up all those hobbies that I’d left behind, reconnected with friends and family that I hadn’t spoken to or seen since forever. In short, I started managing my time so I could ‘make time’ for all that I wanted to do.
I realized that time management comes from constant practice, trial and error, but most importantly, from trying.
The two most important lessons that Motherhood taught me are –
- While you care for someone, you must care for yourself too.
- No one will give you free time; you must make it for yourself.
Two years down the line, I’m happy to tell you that I’m a happier person. It doesn’t matter whether my job is working out for me or not, or that my blogging or hobbies are going unnoticed, or that I don’t get to see friends for more than a few hours every once in a few months. But it matters to me that I’m doing all of this while not sacrificing my duties as a mother or as a wife. I’m not giving myself the excuse ‘I’m busy’ anymore. I’m keeping busy in the real sense of the term.
To optimize the use of your time, you have to prioritize and compartmentalize your time so that you can squeeze the most from the very last second of your day. Read a book while you’re putting your child to bed, or call a friend while you’re taking that train to work. If you keep telling yourself that you don’t have time, or keep turning down opportunities on the pretext of ‘being busy’, then you’ll never get anything done, not even your jobs, because there will always be a part of you aching to do something else.
Being busy does not just mean working at a desk job. You can be busy being a parent, or busy being a student, or even as a couch potato. But being busy doing just that one thing, is a waste of a lifetime, because life has so much to offer.
So ‘make time’ for all that you’ve wanted to do – be an artist, a dancer, a photographer, a tourist or just spend time with those you love and want to connect with. Call instead of texting. Meet instead of calling. But don’t hide behind the excuse that you’re busy.
You have just one life. Make the most of it.