A few years ago, when I was in the middle of a major project and working 12 hour days, a friend said she understood because she had no time, either. She then went on to tell me about her weekly appointments with her personal trainer, ladies night at the local wine shop and a fun afternoon with her grandkids.
I was frustrated because I was not doing any of those things so how dare she complain? And yet, I could tell she was stressed. I asked her some questions, and then we both realized that her frustration was that she was overscheduled and had no time to do what she wanted, when she wanted. She took steps to remedy that.
The lesson stayed with me and the other month, when I realized I was becoming cranky, I realized I need more unscheduled time in my life. I played on a volleyball team one night a week for two hours. I went to the movies with a friend one night a week. I went to the gym once or twice a week. I had book club and board meetings.
Where was the time to read magazines? Or sit by a window and watch the birds at the feeder? Where was the time to simply decide in that moment what I wanted to do?
Despite enjoying all of the activities in my life, it was time to create unscheduled time. I’m taking a season off from volleyball and I’m not going to the movies every week.
Already I feel better. I’ve had more time for walks in the evening. More time to get lost in a book. More time to simply be.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, no matter how fulfilling your life is or how much fun you are having, maybe it’s time to give yourself the gift of unscheduled time.