• Nancy

Where does the time go? Let me tell you…

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

We’ve all had Monday morning conversations that start out with “Where did the weekend go”? It seems like there’s never enough time, and it seems to go faster and faster as we age. There’s a reason for that and it’s the way our brains process our experiences. “Do you have a design in mind for your blog? Whether you prefer a trendy postcard look or you’re going for a more editorial style blog - there’s a stunning layout for everyone.”

My favourite explanation for this, is that when we look back and remember events, our brains recall new and different experiences more clearly. The older we get, the fewer novel experiences we have in our lives. So, as our tired brains pass over the “same old, same old” memories, they speed up our perception of time passing. I think it’s a great excuse to travel more, or even try something new; we’ll seem to live longer! 

It’s easy enough though for all of us to get caught up in our day to day life, forgetting to take time to be creative, have fun, and do something different. Daily routines for the average working person, especially for working parents, are exhausting to even read about. Some of the most interesting data on time use can be found by looking at the American Time Use Survey

Let’s take a look at the numbers (and weep), shall we!

Average work day: 8.5 hours 

Time spent caring for children under six (women, on average): 5 hours

Household cleaning and meal related chores: 2 hours 15 minute a day

There’s 15 hours a day, and we haven’t even left the house yet!!

Commute time is 52 minutes (26 minutes one way, on average) in Canada

And we can’t forget the “experts” that we all love to hate. They remind us that we need to play outside with the kids for a mere three hours a day. In our spare time of course. Then read to them for an hour, spend 30 minutes to an hour on bed time routine, before snuggling our little ones in for the 12 hours of sleep that they need. Oh, and we have to be mindful and fit some yoga in there too.  

That should all work out for the average women, whose day is magically 36 to 48 hours long,  not 24 hours like the rest of the mere mortals here on earth. I wish for once, the “experts” would look at their recommendations holistically, like within the confines of the 24 hour day!! Anyway, I’m digressing. 

When I recently turned 40, I became fascinated with time use and how I was using my own time. I kept a time log for two days; “they” recommend keeping a log for a week, but ironically I found it too time consuming. Essentially, the idea is to make a note, every 30 minutes (or an hour, if that works better for you) of what you are actually doing, then step back and look at your patterns. How are you actually using your precious time? If you don’t like what you see, set goals, make some changes and keep your time diary again. 

After logging my time for even a couple of days, I regretted how much time I was spending on household chores. So, I made some changes that I could live with. My house might be a bit dirtier for it, but I use more of my time doing what matters most to me in the long run: spending time with my children, nurturing my creative spirit and taking care of my body. Just by bringing some awareness to how I spend my time, I was able to shift it, just a bit, towards what matters most to me. It’s too soon to tell, but hopefully being more conscious of how I spend my time will help it to appear to slow down! I’ll keep you posted.