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  • Writer's pictureErin Engelke

Stop Wishing and Start Living

Stop wishing and start living. You don’t actually need more hours in your day.

It’s the most amazing thing. We are gifted 24 hours of time…every day…to do with what we want. Part of that time is meant for rest, for sleep, but the other 14-16 hours are an open slate.

And yet, the number of times I’ve heard myself or other people say they just wish they had more hours in the day is a tad bit ridiculous.

Several years ago, while on a business trip to meet with the Dr. Phil show in L.A., I became friends with one of the executives who also happened to be a working mom. We immediately connected, sharing stories and photos of our precious littles, while also commiserating about the pressures we face as career women and mothers. After recounting all her commitments and demands, she sighed and emphatically said, “If only I had more time in my day, I could get more done!”

Let’s be honest.

She wouldn’t get more done if she had more hours. And neither would you or I.

We would instead fill those extra minutes or hours with more “things” to do, and then get frustrated because we weren’t able to fit it all in.

We must stop wishing for more time and instead use the time we have to do what is the best use of our energy, physically and emotionally...and fill our days with the things that bring us value and give us joy.

I’m not unrealistic. I know some days it feels like there’s entirely too much to accomplish and not nearly enough time to do it. But intentionally asking ourselves the following question helps in narrowing down those “must-do’s”.

Is this something I HAVE to do or something I have CHOSEN to do?

We have a lot more say in what we do with our time than we think.

And often we place too high of expectations on ourselves or make tasks a bigger deal than they really need to be.

For instance, I really want our family to eat at home most nights of the week, and eat meals that are healthy and made from clean foods, which usually requires more prepping and planning.

Generally speaking, feeding my family is something I have to do. But overwhelming myself by preparing a long drawn out meal is something I choose to do…and isn’t always necessary, especially if my 24 hour day is already jam packed. Meal planning over the weekend (by chopping up veggies, making up easy taco meat and portioning out veggies in the refrigerator, etc) is one way to ensure I have more time during the week to accomplish other tasks that fall into the “have to” category.

But sometimes I even have to let go of that and simply be ok with hot dogs and macaroni and cheese! If I have the time during the week, then I will absolutely choose to cook because I love to.

If a choice is causing stress, let it go!

Another GREAT personal example of this is packing lunches for my three kids each night during the school year. I stress out about getting that done every evening because inevitably it’s the last thing I can get to at the end of my already long work day.

Do I have to pack their lunches every night? Well, no. Schools make very healthy lunch options too. Imagine that! We can afford for them to eat at school and if that means I can enjoy a more relaxed evening with my kids, it’s a choice that is worth every penny to let them do so, at least a couple times a week.

In both of these instances, I have been the one to place the stressful expectations on myself. But sometimes others place expectations on us that make us feel like there’s not enough hours in the day. In those moments, remember you still have a choice! Don’t apologize for saying no, if that is what’s best for you and your family.

What are some aspects of your life where you could save time by simply making different choices?

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