“A man without a plan for the day is lost before he starts.”
Lewis K. Bendele

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I know that I am meant to do this with my life, but with all the things I have to do, when will I have the time?” Sometimes, the real challenge is not finding your dream, but finding the time to dedicate to your dream. Our lives are full with work, family, friends, technology and more. De-cluttering your day may be just what you need.

De-cluttering your day is not a lot different from de-cluttering your closet or your desk. You have to go through all the ‘stuff’ (or in this case, ‘stuff that needs to be done’), get rid of the stuff that no longer serves you, and streamline/organize the rest. It may mean that you let go of obligations that no longer make sense for you. It may also mean that you let some things go.

Maggie was in a small, cozy book club. Several women from work got together once a month to have a glass of wine and discuss the current book. It was fun, but Maggie wanted more time to pursue her dream to paint. Giving up book club would not end contact with anyone in the group, so Maggie told her friends she would be moving on, to take a painting class. Her decision was met with complete support. “I was nervous that they’d be somehow insulted or hurt, but ‘the girls’ have cheered me all the way. They even came to my first art show in the city.” Maggie is on her way to earning a full-time income from her painting, and her friends are very proud of her.

Chores take time too, and they just won’t go away. I’ve checked, and there is no ‘laundry fairy’, but that doesn’t mean we can’t streamline things a bit. Start with the tasks that are your responsibility within your family, work, etc. Are your kids old enough to take on more responsibility at home? Maybe it’s time to delegate a few tasks at work to someone who would like more responsibility. If finances allow, it may even be time to hire a little help. According to Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, time management expert and author of Beat the Clock, “Hiring a college student to do routine tasks (grocery shopping, yard work, household chores, etc.) will free up as much as 20 hours per week for the average person to devote to more productive uses.”

Take a long hard look at how you use technology as well. Tell the truth — how often do you check your email? How much daylight are you burning on social networks and forums? It’s important to be in touch, but not to the point that you can’t get things done.

Spend some time this week paying attention to how you spend your time. Find those ‘lost minutes’, gather them together and use them for the important work that is your life.