The Elusive Concept of Time: Incorporating the Love-tos into the Have-tos

The elusive concept of time: Incorporating the love-tos into the have-tos

Time is never enough.

It’s a saying we hear over and over again, but we don’t realise just how true it is. It’s very easy to say, “Once I finish this project, I’ll have time.” But the truth is that work never finishes. You will never have time to do the things you love, unless you create time for them.

I have many practical examples of this. Last year, I put off blogging for so long because of law school. I wrote a few random posts here and there, but I was never really consistent. I was so sure that I would go back to blogging consistently after law school.

And it wasn’t only blogging. I created a reading list – I would start reading for pleasure again! I would take online courses. Maybe I would even start music again. The world would be my oyster.

Two months after I finished law school, I started creating new excuses for myself. At first, it was because I had a deadline to meet. I had been working on a research paper earlier in the year, and the editor’s comments came after I finished law school. So, I had to revise the paper in line with the editor’s comments. I told myself that once I was done with the paper, I would be free.

After I sent the updated paper back, the deadline for my first assignment in my master’s programme was close, so I had to start working on it. I told myself that I didn’t have the time to focus on anything else. I would work on submitting the best assignment I could before thinking of anything else.

When I finally submitted the assignment, I had a second research paper waiting for me to work on. By the time I was done with that paper, I had to start working on my next assignment. The list goes on.

It’s been about six months since I finished law school, and I am amazed at how little progress I have been able to make in meeting the goals that I set out to achieve after law school. The trend I am trying to show is that there will never be time to do the things you love unless you create time for them.

In fact, I wrote a draft of this post as far back as November last year, and I am only coming back to complete it four months later. I love writing, but outside the academic context, writing has sort of taken a back seat in my life over the last couple of months.

The truth is that if you keep shutting everything else in your life to focus on the things you have to do (the ‘have-tos’), then you will go through life never doing the things you love to do (the ‘love-tos’). This is why time management is so important.

I’m pretty sure everyone has heard about time management at some point in their lives. Create to-do lists. Prioritise your tasks. Set realistic time limits for each task. Eliminate distractions.

But what I am particularly interested in is incorporating the things you love doing into your daily life. You have to consciously make time for what you love doing. So, when you are creating a to-do list, don’t just schedule time to meet that deadline at work, or to run those errands, or to do those chores. Also schedule time to write a blog post, read a novel, visit an old friend, learn a new skill, and so on. A self-imposed deadline, if you will.

Time is never enough. If you don’t incorporate your love-tos into your have-tos, you will go through life never doing the things you love.

As I’m writing this blog post, I’m also reflecting on my life. I hope to become more consistent in doing the things I love, starting with writing. Let’s hold each other accountable. What love-to do you hope to create more time for going forward?

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