Ever wake up in the morning with all the “things to do” swirling about your mind?  Your days have become a perpetual checklist of chores, check-ins and chatting with all sorts of people. Granted, with career, school or perhaps “domestic engineering” let’s face it:  There’s so much to do.  Some days it’s as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done, so we find ourselves by days’ end, weary, tired, checking chores off and adding tasks to that never-ending list – of “things to do.”  If there were only more time in the day, we tell ourselves.  I wish I had more time.

All we have is time…until it’s gone.

Twenty-four hours in a day equals 1440 minutes.  Seems like a lot of minutes, right?   Until you reference the list, assess the time it takes to get it all done and try as you may to throw in a quick lunch (breakfast is out of the question, as you’re out the door early) and get to bed at a reasonable hour.

May I offer some advice?  Take a moment.  Take one moment of those 1440 minutes and do something for yourself.  I know you’re probably thinking, Dr. Ford, what good will a minute do?  Well a whole minute can deliver a lot!  It’s enough time to take deep breath, or 20!  Consider this:  A person’s respiratory rate is the number of breaths you take per minute. The normal respiration rate for an adult at rest is 12 to 20 breaths per minute.  So, take some good, cleansing breaths and think about something pleasant.

MUST do’s

Budget your minutes.  Now, that doesn’t mean you have to get so granular or regimented about timing that you shouldn’t be flexible or spontaneous.  (By all means, do something that isn’t on your list if you choose to!)  But be mindful – there are 1440 minutes in a day.  Spend them wisely.  Some things we MUST do.  There are certain tasks to accomplish daily for our family, our boss or clients and even ourselves.  But prioritize the tasks and allocate time for these.  How long will it take for you to make these things happen?  How much of your day must you dedicate?  Keep a calendar.  Budget your minutes.

WANT to’s

That’s just the first part of budgeting your minutes.  The second part is setting time aside for the things that make you happy.  Things that aren’t “have to” items.  Take a moment for expressing gratitude, spending time with your puppies, storytelling with your kids or enjoying a home-cooked meal with a friend or significant other, or yourself.  Know that these moments are every bit as important as the ones you spend doing the things you “have to” do.  Making time during the day for the things you like to do creates a balanced life.  Maintaining a balanced life is becoming increasingly more important for your personal health and well-being in a fast-paced, modern world. Sustaining a balanced diet, alongside personal fitness, can stabilize overall health and wellbeing.

You’ll find that when someone introduces a new “thing” for you to do that isn’t on your list, you won’t be so worried about squeezing it in, rather you’ll find yourself asking the question “how will I spend my 1440?”