It’s really no secret. It’s just not.
My family knows it. Most of my friends know it. Mainly because I’ve talked about my trials and tribulations with it. They know it’s one of my continual, enduring quests. A path that has not yet ended. It’s always been on my to-do board. Always. And, of course, I have had more losses than wins with it, but the quest continues regardless of failures.
I guess what keeps me going is the thought that my plan might actually work. It just might.
Ever since I was a youngster, I have never thought that twenty-four hours was enough time in the day. For some reason, my get-er-done list has always been longer than my available time. Every morning for years, I start my day like a rocket heading to the moon. I look at my list and I’m off to the races. And every evening, the list is exactly the same length, with what seems like two new items replacing the one item I may have completed.
I have tried rising earlier and staying up later. And though I did seem to have more time for awhile, eventually I ended up being too tired to complete anything successfully, happily, or coherently.
So after much pondering, I concocted one of the most glorious, crazy-funny plans to combat the dilemma of not having enough time in the day that I have ever concocted. This plan is the type that has kept me way too engaged in activities that could have been considered monotonous or boring, but now I consider them whole-heartedly challenging.
I call it my find-the-time plan. And I have, indeed, found new, additional time with it. In fact, one day I found nearly fifteen new minutes. I recall spending those new minutes as if I were on the greatest of all holidays. They were fleeting minutes, but they were fun. I supposed it was just the idea that I nearly met the quest . . . of finding more time in a day.
How you may ask?
Well, the plan actually has two parts. The first part is simple. Well, it sounds simple. Let’s double well that. Well, it is simple until and unless something goes wrong during execution, then it actually causes a loss of time. But, in its origin, it is simple.
Just do the ordinary faster! Just do the ordinary . . . a lot faster!
For many years, I made my son the same breakfast each morning. Three eggs, scrambled. Two pieces of bacon. Two pieces of toast, buttered. For the first few years, that particular breakfast took me ten to fifteen minutes to prepare. I’d get to the kitchen, waltz around, get out the food, prepare it, dilly dally a bit, clean up a bit, and voila, it was fifteen minutes later.
But as I started my find-the-time quest, I found that I could actually sail through this breakfast much, much faster. Think Martha Stewart meets Usain Bolt. I learned to race to the kitchen, crack those eggs while feeding the bread into the toaster. I flung bacon into the microwave, lathered butter on bread, supersonic scrambled those eggs, and tossed everything on a plate in record times. I found time that I had previously lost. I was actually so amazed that I found this time that I really didn’t use the time I found too well.
Doing the ordinary faster works great if there are no errors. But the days that I burnt the toast, dropped the eggs, or flung the bacon on the floor by mistake actually took me more time to clean up and repair the damage than had I just leisurely made breakfast.
So on to part two which is more failsafe, usually.
The second part to the plan is comically fun almost all of the time. All I have to do is . . .double up. Just double up on the regular and ordinary. Doing two unique things simultaneously saves a boatload of time . . . which fits so well in the find-the-time quest.
During find-the-time quest part two, I have learned to brush my teeth and make my bed . . . at the same time, a two minute save. I have figured out how to dry my hair with two hair dryers instead of one, cutting a ten minute chore into five. I clean my car while filling my gas tank. I think lots of us do this one! Another two minute save. When I take my shoes off, I make sure I am standing in my closet. I only save a few seconds, but it’s still a save.
I have dozens of double up wins and I also have a few double up losses. If I lose, I give myself kudos for the attempt.
My favorite moments are the times that I keep track of the double up minutes saved and it add up to nearly a half hour. What a bonus world to have thirty additional minutes in my day. It’s magical.
My find-the-time quest clearly is more trivial than earth shattering. It’s definitely a personal day game that keeps my life in the groove.
Yet, as trivial as it is, I have learned a great deal from it.
I have learned that anything can be joyful. Really, just anything can be. Brush my teeth, make my bed, fun. Scramble eggs at the speed of light, fling bacon frantically, fun. Fritter away found time, fun.
Such a simple quest has taught me that the mundane is only so if I let it be that way. How I frame my life is how my life will be. With a little effort, the ordinary, the normal, the usual becomes anything but.
I pray this quest never ends!