It's a rather startling visual when you think about it. How much time do we all really have left? And what are we doing with it?
I've been reading this book recently and it talks about the idea of opportunity cost in relation to our time management. (Not being a business major I wasn't super familiar with the concept, but basically when you make a choice to do one thing you automatically make choices to NOT do other things--ie, if you have $5 and spend it on candy bars you choose to NOT spend that $5 on rent--roughly.) And then introduced the idea of a "stop-doing" list. As one who lives by my many "to-do" lists I was intrigued. In order to accomplish any goal or make progress toward something (particularly something new) in your life you have to choose to stop doing something else in order to make room/time for it. To start a new exercise program you have to get up 30 minutes earlier. To learn to paint you sign up for a class which means you have to cut back on the time you watch TV. You get the idea. It's all about priorities and what you are willing to sacrifice in order to do/be something better. (This is a fabulous talk on the same subject.)
I continually fall prey to this. There are so many things I want to do with my life that I dip my foot into as many pools as I can but I never actually go for a swim in any of them. My book is a prime example. I tell myself I really want to write and I even go so far as to take a class every now and then, jot down a paragraph or two when the ideas strike and drag a notebook around with me wherever I go. But I haven't taken the firm step yet of cutting something out of my life to make room for it. I'm still not truly making it a priority.
So, my goal over the next couple of weeks (I'm in the middle of a move right now and packing is the immediate priority no matter how much I want to do other things!) is to find 3 things I can put on my "stop-doing" list, be they big or small, that will carve out a chunk of time I can reclaim for some writing.
Lesson learned: You only have so many hours in a day and nothing you do will change that, therefore you can only change what you do with them. What are you doing with yours?