Wishing you had more free time? Read this.Aug 12, 2022
I’m always asking you these types of questions.
What would Future You say in this situation? What would Future You want you to do? How would 5-Star Future You react?
That’s the whole premise behind my book, Becoming Future You: Figure out who Future You is and then act like her.
For some of us, it's fairly easy to clarify what we want when it’s about things we can make a to-do list for like losing weight, starting a business, decluttering our home, etc. But what about when what you want actually means doing less, not more?
Here’s what I mean. I realized some time ago that when someone asks Future Mel how she’s doing she never says, “busy.”
Why? Because she’s not busy! She’s not overwhelmed. She’s not all stressed out in permanent hustle mode. She’s chill. She enjoys lounging at her pool. She can take off for a weekend trip at the last minute without thinking, “but how will I get all this work done?”
That was a pretty big revelation for me, mostly because I realized I was putting it in the “someday” category. Someday I’ll have more time. Someday I’ll chill out. Someday I’ll take the weekend off.
Then I realized, duh, someday isn’t coming! I’m not going to magically wake up one day and be calm, cool, and relaxed Mel. I would have to become her. And becoming her would mean something totally different than I’d ever done before: I’d have to start taking things off my plate instead of always filling it up. I’d have to block out time on my calendar that was just for doing whatever I wanted. I’d need to start having conversations like this:
“Hey, Mel. What are you doing on Sunday?”
“Let me check my calendar. Oh, I see it says… ‘anything I dang well please.’ Nice!”
“So are you available to watch my kid/come to this event/commit to some other obligation you probably don’t want to do?”
Someone asked me recently how you get blank space on your calendar. And the answer is both simple and complicated.
First of all, you’ve done half the work already if you can just recognize… I don’t want to be so stressed out all the time AND that means I’ve got to make a change. Not, I need to wait for things to change. I’ve got to change.
Then, you’ve got to become the kind of person who has free time.
For me, I started taking deep breaths throughout my day whenever I felt stressed and that was the first baby step. Then, I started slowing down my morning and I allowing myself to stand outside for a few minutes and watch the sunrise without succumbing to the crushing pressure to hurry, hurry, hurry. I stopped rushing my lunch so I could get back to my desk. “Future Mel doesn’t constantly feel behind,” I told myself. “Future Mel likes to sit in the sunshine for a few minutes just because she can. She doesn’t have to rush back to work.”
I was feeling calmer. I was becoming this version of Future Mel.
Then I started having this uncomfortable, irritated feeling when I was doing some of my work. It took me a long time to figure this one out… but the reason I was having so much resistance to some of the projects on my plate was because even though Past Mel thought they were a great idea, they were now at odds with the calmer, less-busy version of Mel I was becoming.
So I had to take things OFF my plate. I had to say no. I had to declutter my schedule. I had to work ahead instead of procrastinating so I could have some time freedom. I had to block out large portions of my calendar that just say, “Mel time.”
There isn’t a magical time management system that will suddenly fix all your problems. The answer to feeling more time freedom is accepting that you have to become the kind of person who creates time freedom. You have to change how you’re acting and reacting on a microlevel and you do this by saying, “How would Future Me deal with this?” And then doing that.
If Future You would be ramping up and working harder, then go for it! But if Future You would be sipping her coffee on her porch knowing she’s got a clear morning to do whatever she wants, you’ve got to become the kind of person who creates that AND savors it. If you can only get 10 minutes for yourself, revel in the satisfaction of those 10 minutes instead of worrying about what comes next.
Does that help?
I hope so!
P.S. Wishing your life felt more relaxed, meaningful, and happy? Read Becoming Future You.
Procrastinating? Struggling to focus?
Not achieving your goals?
Watch the free class and STOP SABOTAGING FUTURE YOU!