I’m a big fan of Laura Vanderkam. I find her no-nonsense advice refreshing. There are no complicated rules, just straightforward suggestions for how to arrange your time to fit in personal wants and needs. She says things you might expect to hear from a pragmatic, but loving, friend.
I regularly find myself repeating a particular turn of phrase or idea from one of her books or weekly blog posts.
A personal favourite: Plan it in, and do it anyway. She notes that when we say we wish we had more time, what we’re really looking for is more memories. Endless Friday evenings spent scrolling on Instagram are unlikely to produce meaningful memories, but that magical Handel’s Messiah concert we attend in an old cathedral likely will.
So her suggestion: plan in something that excites you.
To me this has meant: booking the concert tickets, scheduling the walk with a friend, arranging that evening bonfire on the beach. When things come up, which they inevitably will – the baby slept fitfully all night, which means you also slept fitfully; it’s raining; or any number of other reasons that would entice you to reach for your pajamas and settle in for a night of mindless scrolling – do it anyway.
Admittedly, there are times when the opposite approach may be both ideal and highly memorable but I think, in general, our future selves are far happier when we capitalize on opportunities for adventures.
These don’t have to be grandiose affairs. They can be as simple as going out for a dessert crêpe with your spouse, taking your daughter to a Saturday matinee at the local movie theatre, or setting up a tent in the living room for a weeknight campout, a family highlight during our ongoing lockdown.
They could be big too. That temporary Matisse exhibit at the Met or a whirlwind 24-hour trip to Paris are sure to leave a lasting impression.
So, the next time you feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, identify some potential adventures (big or small). Then, plan them in and do them anyway.
But don’t quote me…