Thursday, 26 February 2009

Where do you get the time for that? (Part 2)

by Eilleen
Consumption Rebellion

Back in November last year, Julie wrote a fantastic post here on this topic (hence the part 2 part in the title of this one). Julie outlined in her post how one small change can have a cumulative affect on a person's time. From my own journey, I can say that I have had the same experience. However, I would like to add a little bit more of my own thoughts on the issue.

To add just a bit of a background. I am a single mum to a 4yr old and a 6yr old. I work four days a week and I volunteer 8 hours a week for a couple of organisations. When people in my life find out that I have embraced a simple non-consumerist lifestyle, they almost always invariably ask me "where do you get the time for that?".

The first few times I answered this question, I used to say that I have the time to do this because I am not buying brand-new/shopping/watching large amounts of TV etc etc. And while I think this is partly true, I am slowly realising that perhaps this is not really the reason why I have the time to sew, craft, cook etc etc. I think the reason why I do it is because the more I learn to do these simple things , the more empowered I am and therefore the more time I give to it.

Time is a funny concept. Before I started consciously making the effort to be more aware of my consumption habits, I never seemed to have the time to do anything. At first, it seemed it was all I could do to have the time to work and see my friends. Then much later, it seemed to me that it was all I could do to have the time to raise my kids. For as long as I can remember, it seemed to me that I was always pressed for time.

One thing I've learned is that there is *always* time. When I look back I can see that nature has proven this to me "time and time" again. (heh).

In the past, I used to say: "I don't have the time to take a day off work/looking after my family to rest/recover from sickness"..... and then I would get really really sick and suddenly that day off became a week off... And somehow work/the family survived without me and I had that time.

In many ways, I think I had fallen into the trap of thinking that I should spend more time entertaining myself (with a very narrow definition of what is entertainment) rather than being productive (with the implication that being productive is work and therefore not supposed to make me happy).

Looking back, I can see how disempowered my language was in respect to time. Time and the constant search to find more of it, drove me. It took me gaining confidence - to have faith in myself - to finally say, "I don't need more time because I *can* use *this* time to sew/craft/learn/cook/garden." Doing these things makes me happy and that is just as important as other things. Karenmc summed it perfectly in her comment to me on my personal blog when she said:
I complain too much about not having enough time, but I have as much time as anyone else, and enough to pack in a lifetime of experiences. I have so much I want to do that I need to prioritise into those things that have to happen now or I may never get the opportunity again (such as playing with the kids while they're still young enough to want to play with me!) and things that can wait a little longer. And I find if there's something I want badly enough, I will subconsciously prioritise and find the time no matter how busy I am.

I think another aspect is that we tell ourselves we have to do certain things, and there's a certain status in being busier than everyone else. I'm certainly guilty of that sort of thinking, and am consciously trying to stop it. Yes, I'm on 3 school/preschool committees, but you know what? I want to be there, I want to be involved in something that's a big part of my children's lives, and I'm not prepared to give it up, so I'll stop talking about it in terms of it being a burden.

So in short, by consciously acknowledging that what I want to do and what I am doing is important, I have given myself the freedom to have the time to do what I want to do.

I hope everyone is having a lovely day.


A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

So true so very very true!
Time is about priorities.
Sometimes it is hard as you want it all.
But often we can in smaller steps and grasps.
Lovely inspiring and thought provoking post.

simplelife said...

This is a great post, thankyou. I'm always feeling very time poor but this has made me think about how I look at things. Maybe it's just a matter of changing how I think about things and deciding what is REALLY important to ME. This post has made me think about this is so many different ways, my mind is all over the place. LOL

So thank you for helping me to have a different perspective on an old problem.

cheers Kate

Mia's Boys said...

Too true, I just loved this post. I just made a little dress-up cape as a birthday present ~ everyone asked, "Where did you find the time?" I swear, it took me less time to make it (30 minutes or so, I love sewing that involves straight lines and some ironing!) than it would have to drive the store and back to buy a present. And I don't think I could have bought the cape for the seven bucks or so worth of reclaimed materials that I used to make it.

livinginalocalzone said...

One of the things that seems to make a big difference in time is the learning curve. I think when a person first jumps into any kind of life change, there is a lot to learn and even the most basic things take a lot longer than expected. But once a routine or mindset starts to kick in, and more resources are discovered - or simply new skills are built - it starts to get easier and faster too. The task doesn't seem so daunting and other parts of life fit in better.
I agree with the others, taking whatever degree of steps that are possible at this time, and setting priorities for what can be learned and carried forward not only helps in the time/effort situation, but makes it much more manageable...

Willo said...

Thank you, this was very inspiring!

ChristyACB said...

livinginalocalzone makes a great point and one that stimey's many a person with good intentions. When a new lifestyle or even minor changes in lifestyle are made, it takes more time to do things until the hang of it is achieved.

Take many people have had services or a person that did much of it for them, but the economy is tight so they cut back. At first, it seems a long and time consuming..and dreary..task. But after a while, they are as fast as the service and have learned the words to a whole slew of new songs on the radio.

It is all perspective and learning. I'm guilty too though and strive, every day, to make the changes I want to see made.

Love the post!

Kate in NY said...

This is embarrassing to admit, but 10 years ago, I was a stay at home mom of 2, with a housecleaner once a week and a babysitter 2 afternoons a week - and I was completely overwhelmed. I was "too busy" to cook, so we ordered out a lot. "Too busy" to shop carefully, so I paid full price for everything.

These days, I am a mom of 4, have no outside help and work part-time from home, shop frugally with circulars and stockpiles, make my own bread, etc. And I rarely feel "overwhelmed" at all - I am full of energy, projects and plans for our busy household, and so much happier than I ever was "back then." Self-sufficiency is powerful and self-generating - the more you do for yourself, the more you realize you are capable of.

Great post!

Chiot's Run said...

Great post, I get this question all the time. I have 1 full-time job and 1 part-time job. I raise most of my own food and preserve it. I make my own butter and cheese and grind my own flour and make my own bread and everything else for that matter. And yet I find time to read several books and week and maintain a blog and many other "enteraining" things.

People often ask how I find time to do it all, but I don't watch TV, don't spend too much time on-line, I think it's all about priorities. If you love doing something it's not drudgery or work, so you don't notice. I don't mind that I don't have time for "myself" as most people want, I think when I'm grinding flour and making bread, or weeding in the garden this is my time.

I think my life is actually more simple than most. I don't need all kinds of things so I don't spend time running to the store to buy groceries or other things. There's something wonderfully liberating about living a simple DIY life.

Joanne said...

So much of what we feel we have to do is based on guilt because we feel we have to live up to expectations of others. In reality, others are busy with their own lives and when they ask "How do you find the time for that" they are really saying "my life is so busy I couldn't do what you do". But people generally do find the time for what is most important to them. If I had to answer people I would say "I find the time because it is important to me."

cathy c said...

Like Joanne said, you find the time for the things that are important to you. My friend and I have said that for years. She is working full time and raising 2 kids. She doesn't "dust" her house because she would rather color with her kids. Who cares down the road if her house was dust free? Her kids certainly won't!

Love the post! Thanks so much!

Sharon said...

Thank you for this post. Especially the comment from Karenmc! I love being on the committees that I am on with Kinder and school. BUT as soon as I mention to friends that I want to help out I get comments like...."Oh your way to busy you have 4 kids you couldnt do that. Stay home and look after them" These comments always seem to come from parents with 2 kids?!

I find that the time on committee's etc is my "me" time and adult interaction and I love being able to impact my kids lives in different ways.

Yes Im busy but if I want to do it I will fit it in!!!