Finding the Time? Making the Time? What’s the Difference?

The other day, in a weekly check-in email to one of my coaching clients, I asked if they had made the time for writing lately. The client replied, “That’s exactly it, Anne – I haven’t found the time.”

pile of clocks, all telling different times

Where’s the time? Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

To me, there’s a difference between what I said and what the client said I said – it’s the difference between making time and finding time.

In my own life, I’ve started making the time for more physical exercise. I couldn’t find that time, year after year, preferring instead to stay with the sedentary habits I developed as a sickly kid many decades ago. After all, I said to myself, what’s not to like about reading books (and sometimes writing them) while seated comfortably? Turns out, even at this late stage, paying more attention to moving my body really improves my life.

So far, I’ve started walking with friends once a week for several miles. Taking classes. Working with a trainer. Etc. The time to do these things wasn’t just lolling around my calendar waiting for me to find it. I needed to slice other things out of the day to make the time. And finally, I am starting to do just that.

I think one reason I’m doing this now has to do with the seasons and the Delta variant of Covid-19. The days are shortening and the weather cooling in Central Virginia where I live. The pandemic shows no signs of departing, in spite of those hope-inducing moments in May, before Delta, when it looked like the worst was over. So, the coming of darker days and potentially more isolation combined to suggest that I get my act together and establish some habits now, so that later, when things may take more effort – eww, it’s cold and rainy – I’ll be ready. I’ll be more likely to keep hitting the trail or going to the gym (pandemic permitting), if I’ve already been doing it for a few months.

This approach lends itself to more than writing and exercise, too. I’ve seen people make the time for a community cause, and for relationships, whether family, romance, or friends. When they do, their life brightens.

When we make the time to do the most important, meaningful things – urgent or not – we allow ourselves a richer experience of life. Life will still happen, and the day won’t always proceed as planned, of course. We can feel off-balance and despondent. Intentionally cultivated habits provide a helpful way to right ourselves when things feel wobbly. Getting back to writing, exercising, community, and important relationships will be more likely to happen. And we’ll appreciate that we made the time.

baby koala looks curious

What haven’t you found the time to do? Photo by Vita Vilcina on Unsplash

What haven’t you been able to find the time to do? What might you make the time for? Is now the time to make the time?