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June 11, 2024   |   Episode #:

301: Feel Like You Have More Time

In This Episode:

Where does the time go? Does it constantly feel like it’s flying by making you wonder where the day went? What if I told you that you have more control over your time than you think? In fact, with a few simple adjustments, you could feel like you have all the time in the world. On today’s episode we’ll dive into making every second count…without the stress. I’ll share simple strategies and insights to help you create more meaningful free time so you can enjoy the present moment. You’ll learn how to transform your relationship with time, adding wonder and awe to your existing schedule.

Show Transcript:

Watch the Podcast

The Big Idea

Create experiences to feel time-rich, not rushed.

Questions I Answer

  • How can I feel like I have more time during my day?
  • What are the best time management strategies for busy professionals?
  • How can I feel more productive?
  • How can I stay focused and motivated throughout the day?

Topics Covered

  • Time anxiety
  • Creating experiences
  • Daily focus word
  • Time distortion
  • Productivity tricks
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Time moving too fast
  • Relationship with time

Key Moments in the Show

[03:54] Why Does Time Feel Faster As We Get Older?

[10:05] The Secret to Creating Focus in Your Day

[13:30] How To Figure Out What To Do Each Day

[15:59] Create More Free Time

[21:33] How Much Free Time Do You Need Each Day?

[26:44] Figuring Out What You Love To Do

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

Tanya Dalton: Hello, hello, everyone and welcome to the intentional advantage podcast. I’m your host Tanya Dalton. This is episode 301. We’re going to be talking about. How can you feel like you have more time? Right now, I want you to ask yourself, do I feel like I have a lot of extra time or am I constantly feeling rushed and stressed and overwhelmed by everything I have to do and I’m cramming into my day?
And I feel like I don’t have nearly enough time. Well, today’s episode, we are going to be talking about that. We’re going to help you stretch some time out and we’re going to help you find some ways to make your days a lot more enjoyable. And it’s actually really, really simple to do. I’ve got three tips for you that are going to be simple to implement, really easy to put into your day that you’re going to really find, help you feel like you have more time.
Sound good. All right, let’s get started with today’s show.
Does your life spark joy? I’m not asking if your life is good or if life feels okay. Does it spark joy? When was the last time you slipped into bed at night and thought, today felt amazing? Because if it’s been more than two or three days, that’s too long. I’m Tanya Dalton, a best selling author, motivational speaker, seven figure entrepreneur, and oh yeah, wife and mom.
So I get it. I understand the stress of daily life. As a productivity expert, I’m here to help you choose the extraordinary life. This season, we will be exploring how we can create more joy and intention into every single day. And it doesn’t have to be so hard. This is The Intentional Advantage. I think that time is one of the most complicated relationships we all have. Honestly, if there was a spot on social media to post your relationship status with time, it would say it’s complicated. Because we do, we have a really complicated relationship with time. Sometimes we feel like we have this excessive, giant amount of time.
Oh, I’ll do things later. I’ll do that someday. while at the very same time also feeling like we don’t have nearly enough. I don’t have enough time to get everything done I need to do. I don’t have time to work on my goals. Am I right? So it’s, it’s this really interesting push and pull. And I knew I wanted to talk about time today.
Because our last episode we talked about aging, and feeling good about whatever age we are. Whether you are 50, or 60, or 40, or 30, or 20, or 80. Feeling really good about the age that you are right now. And I think one of the things that really holds us back with embracing our age Is this whole idea that we are running out of time?
And I don’t think that’s surprising because we’re constantly playing beat the clock, There’s this whole timeline this clock for let’s say graduating from college And then there’s all the the countdown for getting married When are you gonna get married when you get married as soon as you get married?
When are you gonna have kids? Right? Then it’s like, when are you gonna get the next promotion at work? So there’s this constant feeling of battling the clock. That causes time to move so much faster.because we’re constantly fixated. on time.
John Dalton: You know, it’s, it sounds kind of cliche and kind of old to say stop and smell the flowers. But, I mean, there’s something to that. When we’re always racing to the next thing, the next accomplishment, or the next appointment, or whatever it is, we’re missing everything around us and that time just, It just almost evaporates,without really realizing it.
So it’s about how do we stop doing that? How do we stop just focusing on the next goal or the next appointment and really enjoying the time that we have?
[00:03:54] Why Does Time Feel Faster As We Get Older?
Tanya Dalton: Well, I think you bring up a really good point there with the fact that time feels like it moves faster. The older we get, the faster we seem to experience time. If you think about the first 18 years of your life, it crawled by. Even now, if you think about those first 18 years, you were like, wow, that took forever.
But the second 18, oh, over in a second. That’s the thing, is You That’s just how we experience time. Time is still moving at the same pace it always has, but there’s truly a reason why time feels like it moves faster as we age. And that’s one of the things I wanted to get into today because it really is about creating these experiences for ourselves.
When we’re younger, when we don’t know a lot about the world, not that I feel at the age of 50 that I know a lot about the world still, there’s still a lot to learn. But, when we’re younger, everything is new. Everything is full of wonder and awe, and it’s so exciting. You, you see snow for the first time.
You learn new things for the first time. It’s this amazing experience of being young. being alive. And as we get older, that newness, that sense of wonder and awe, it goes away. Because we’ve already, oh, another snowstorm, ugh, more snow, or whatever it is, we’re not experiencing things for the first time, and so it doesn’t allow time to stretch.
And here’s a good example of when we’ve all experienced this time distortion. When you’re on a trip in a car and you’re going someplace new for the very first time, the way there feels like it takes forever, right? It takes a long time to get wherever you’re going. The drive back home, half the time, even though it’s the exact same amount of time.
The difference is, on the way to the place you are going, there’s all these new things. There’s the funny green barn that you passed, and there’s that tree that kind of looks like an old man, and there’s this little store that sells antiques that you notice. Well, on the way home, you’ve already seen the antique store.
Oh, the tree, that’s old news, right? Oh, the green barn, already saw that. And so, our brain just kind of fast forwards. And that’s why we get this feeling of time just racing past us. It really is about stopping. And experiencing life instead of just doing things to check the boxes and doing the things that we’re always supposed to be doing over and over and over again.
We’ve talked about habits about 5 million times on this podcast and habits are great, but
We don’t want to make life a habit.
We want to make sure we’re adding in some wonder and excitement and creating experiences in our daily life.
John Dalton: You hear people say don’t stop learning and, and there really is something to that. I think a lot of people feel like, Oh, once I’m done with school, I’m finished learning, and now it’s time to go work, but you need to keep doing things with us, reading books, you need to do things for yourself, like, I know for me, five or six years ago, I’m like, you know what, I’m going to run another marathon to give myself a goal.
I hadn’t done that in 15 years. And then, we were having a conversation one day, like, you know, I’ve always wanted to learn how to sail so I can rent a sailboat, but I felt like for some reason that I had missed that opportunity. And when we talked about it, it was like, well, that’s ridiculous.
You know, you still have over half of your life. Let’s find a place where you learn how to sail. And it took me 18 months to get certified and all that stuff, but I did it. And those are the kinds of things that you can do to keep things fresh and have new experiences. And that’s what slows down the clock a little bit.
Tanya Dalton: Absolutely, and I think you’re exactly right. It’s all in how we choose to look at time. Part of the reason why we feel like getting older is this terrible thing is because we feel like The sand is running out. We’re like Dorothy in the hourglass, right, and the sand is just, it’s, it’s falling all over the place, and we’re running out of time, and it’s so funny that you bring that up about the captain’s license to, to captain a sailboat.
You were, you were like, oh, I can’t do that. It’s too late. It’s like, well, hold on a second. Cause I think at the time you were like 45, why is it too late? We tell ourselves it’s too late
John Dalton: You know, that whole act your age kind of thing. I think that’s a real problem because we can still have fun and play and do those types of things. You know, I saw a picture of. Anthony Kiedis, who’s 60 years old, he’s the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for those people who don’t know his name.
And you know, he’s still going surfing. And I saw a very similar picture of Dennis Quaid, who’s in his 70s doing the same thing. And that’s part of the reason why they look young, is because they still act young. You know, there’s no reason you have to stop doing things that you like just because you reach a certain age.
You can still surf, or learn how to sail, or Go ride motorcycles, you know, whatever it is that makes you feel that sense of excitement. There’s no age where that has to stop.
Tanya Dalton: Yeah, I think you’re right. We, we age ourselves out.
Adulting is just an excuse to not pursue whatever we’re passionate about.
And the truth is adulting is a fantastic excuse because now you can actually afford to take sailing lessons. Now you can actually afford to do those things.
And I think a lot of times we feel like we’re too old for things. There’s very few things that I am too old to do. I’m too old to date a 20 year old. Yes. Okay. I’m too old to wear a tube top, but there’s plenty of things that are still out there for me to discover and to do at the age of 50 or when you get to 60 or 70, it really is all in how you choose to look at time.
And so what I want to do today is I want to talk about
How can we feel like we have more time? And the answer there is that one thing we just talked about. Creating experiences. And I have three things you can do. Three very simple, easy ways for you to really expand time. So you can feel like you have more time. I want to go through those very quickly.
They’re really simple things. So let’s start with number one.
[00:10:05] The Secret to Creating Focus in Your Day
Tanya Dalton: The first thing is create a daily focus word. this idea or this concept of having a daily focus word isn’t earth shattering or new, but the way I look at it is very different than how a lot of productivity experts talk about it. Because they’ll talk about, like, create a focus word of what you want to do for the day. I want your focus word to be about how do you want to feel at the end of the day, what’s the emotion you want to experience at the end of the day?
Let that be your guiding light for what it is you’re going to do for the day. So really tapping into how do I wanna feel? Now, here’s the thing, because I know what you’re thinking right now. Well, every day I wanna feel successful. Successful, first of all, is very ambiguous. But second of all, we want to make sure we’re changing up the word each day.
So maybe you do want to feel successful one day. Okay, make sure you define what that means. But think about what other ways would be beneficial in feeling at the end of the day. Maybe it’s motivated. Maybe you’re getting ready and you’re gearing up for a big project or, or a big presentation or something like that.
So maybe you want to be motivated at the end of the day. Okay, that’s very different than feeling successful. Maybe the word present is how you want to feel because, you know, sometimes when Kay has a volleyball game in the evening, I want to make sure I’ve done the work that helps me feel more present so I can be really focused on her and what’s going on with her for the day.
Right? So present is another way. Maybe you want to feel relaxed. Maybe you’ve had a really stressful couple of weeks, so you’re like, what can I do today to feel more relaxed? Or maybe it’s inspired. Maybe you’re spending the day doing, you know, some research. Maybe the word is enlightened or prepared or rested.
How do you want to feel at the end of the day? I think that’s really important because so often we get to the end of the day and we’re like, Where did the day go? What did I do today? And then we wonder why we feel unsuccessful. Why we feel exhausted. Why we feel stressed. If you start at the beginning of the day by saying, This is how I want to feel.
I’m going to design my day. So this is how I feel at the close of the day. Don’t you think that’s going to make a big difference? Isn’t that going to change how you experience your day?
John Dalton: I totally agree with that. I think it completely works. I think when we started having this conversation, I started trying this and, like you said at first, you think you just want to, well, at the end of every day, I want to feel fulfilled or successful, right? You want to check everything off the list and that’s great.
But when you really sit and think about it, there’s different things you want to feel like. You know, for us right now, I was recording this. It’s a Friday and we’re going to have dinner with people. So I wanted to make sure that I feel energized as a introverted person. I want to feel like I have my social battery ready to go.
So, I wanted to feel energized. That was my word for today. So. Had a little nap, you know, maybe I’ll have a cup of coffee or something before we leave. And that way I feel like, you know, we’re going to have a good time and I won’t be yawning at the dinner table. You know, so you have to think about every day as it comes.
And it is, it will change. It won’t, it won’t always be, I want to feel successful. Or, you know, but present is a good one because you don’t want to worry about stuff. So really sit down and think about it on a daily basis and it’s not going to be the same for sure. And that’s what makes it interesting.
[00:13:30] How To Figure Out What To Do Each Day
Tanya Dalton: too, if every day you have a different word that you’re focused on, you’re going to do different tasks. So John, that was a fantastic segue into the second way, which piggybacks off of that idea of the focus word, laser in on what’s important for the day. That focus word helps you figure out what is important.
This is probably the number one question I get from people. How do, how do I prioritize when everything feels important? Well, for John, he just said that he wants to feel energized because this evening we’re going out to dinner with friends. He’s naturally an introvert, so he wants to feel really energized.
So today, one of the things he said he wanted to do is, I want to make sure I take a nap. I want to make sure I’m doing tasks that you find energizing. So like, one of the things you did was, for one of your clients, you were finding music for them to use for their, for their reels and for their videos. And so you were listening to music.
That was very energizing. Versus, today wasn’t a day that you were like, I’m gonna go in and I’m gonna do a bunch of research, that’s gonna be boring. Today was what do I want to do so I feel a lot of energy? So here’s the catch for this second way, right? Lasering in on what’s most important. It’s three to five things, not 50.
We talk about the importance of throwing out your to do list, of using a priority list. We’ve talked about it in the books. Joy of Missing Out, there’s a whole section on it. We have videos on it. We’ve got podcast episodes on it. We have a whole planner that’s dedicated to the priority list with Inkwell Press.
But the mistake people make is Yes, they’re prioritizing, but they’re prioritizing 50, 000 things. So really get some clarity of what are the 3 to 5 things that you think are going to help you feel that emotion that you want to feel at the end of the day. 3 to 5. So, I think that’s what’s important too, is you’re not overloading the plate.
John Dalton: What I would challenge everybody to do when you start this is Just do three because you know how you work and this is how most people work You’re like well, and they say three to five I can probably do six or seven But then eventually by lunchtime you’ve come up with two that you forgot and then by two in the afternoon you have ten Right, so start with three because you’re gonna have one or two that kind of creep in you’re like I forgot about that one So make sure that you stay under five and if you can keep it at three That’s even better because that’ll just keep you focused On what you need to do.
[00:15:59] Create More Free Time
Tanya Dalton: Focused on your focus word, so to speak, right? I like that. I like that. That’s a really good tip, Which brings me to my third way. that we can feel like we have more time, create pockets of free time. Do you know why those first 18 years felt amazing and long? Because you had a lot of free time that made a huge difference.
the other day when Kay had, she had a field trip with her class. So the 11th grade class went on this field trip. She came home and she was so excited. She said, mom, it was the most amazing field trip. There was no agenda. She said it was completely unstructured. The teachers were like, we’re going to this lake.
We’re going to grill out hamburgers and hot dogs. You can bring balls and bring games and those kinds of things if you want, but there’s no structure. She loved it. she brought a volleyball. They went wading in the lake. She told me, she said, Mom, nobody was on their phones. We actually spoke to each other.
It was awesome. Like she, well, she probably didn’t use awesome. Cause she’s not a gen X or like me. She said it was mom. We cooked. That’s what she say. Something like that. Right? Like, so, this is the thing is that field trip for her was amazing because it was filled with. awe, they were doing all kinds of things.
The other day you and I were playing pickleball a lot of times in the morning, John and I’ll get up. We’ll play pickleball, go for a walk. And there’s the summer camp going on with all of these middle schoolers, which totally brought me back to summer camp when I was in middle school. Kind of a funny conversation you and I had,
John Dalton: was funny. Yeah.
Tanya Dalton: it was funny, we were watching these kids at the camp and they had literally just mowed the fields and these kids were grabbing these giant handfuls of lawn clippings and doing different things with them.
And you and I were like, that was our childhood. Right. You like, you would come up with like dumb things to do with whatever you had on hand. And it’s like, that’s what makes things fun. But we’re so busy trying to constrain time. We’re trying to bend it to our will. We’re battling time instead of saying, you know what?
I want some free open time. I want to figure out some things to do that are just for fun. Right. And when I say free time, when I’m defining free time, I mean a container of time. Right? We talk about containers of time. So, a time in your day with no purpose. This, for me, the person who wrote On Purpose, have time with no purpose except enjoyment.
Make it flexible. Make it so it’s an open space with no serious goals. The only goal is like shits and giggles. Like, I just want to have a good time. Because this is fun. That’s what we’re missing trying to adult.
John Dalton: Yeah, I totally agree. And I think that’s what’s important to point out when you’re talking about the free time is Don’t overhabit it. I don’t know if that’s a real term, but don’t always do same thing It’s essentially what i’m trying to say, right? It’s okay to watch a tv show, but if you’re just binging tv all the time You That’s not really free time anymore.
That’s just like turning your brain off. so, you have to force yourself to do different things. That’s really where the creativity comes into play. Now, you don’t have to go out in your yard and make a snowman out of lawn clippings like those middle schoolers were doing. But, find something new to do, you know?
Like, do you have A guitar in your house that your kid plays, maybe pick that up and screw around with it for a little while or just go outside and listen to the birds or do something different and The more unplugged it is the better the more creative your brain is going to be And that’s what really stretches that time out is doing new things
Tanya Dalton: new things. I like what you said there too, because TV is not necessarily a bad thing as you’re doing research on how to find more time. Number one thing people tell you, stop watching TV, get off social media. I’m not going to tell you to do those things. I’m going to tell you to create a container of time to do those things, because sometimes a TV show is really, really good at the end of a stressful day.
Sometimes you just need to laugh with a stupid episode of Parks and Rec, or Friends, or whatever it is. We talk about that in On Purpose, the difference between good distractions and bad distractions, because the truth is, We need distractions. You want distractions in your day. If you’re just going through and checking things off your list, huh, no wonder you’re so bored.
Find some good fun distractions with no serious goals attached to them.
You know, one of the things I’ve been talking about doing is picking up painting again. I used to paint when I was younger and I stopped painting and now I want to get back to it and I’ve mentioned it to a couple of people. First thing they ask me after I say, I think I might start painting again.
Oh, are you gonna start selling your paintings? I’m like, no, I just wanna paint . I just wanna paint for fun. Maybe, maybe one day I’d wanna sell my paintings. But that’s not the goal. The goal is just to go and have fun. And it’s been a long time since I painted, so that’s why we need to go back and learn how to do things again.
So just choosing to do things simply for the fun of it. we really wanna make sure that we’re adding in. A lot of unstructured time, some free time, but not too much. This is what I found really interesting.
[00:21:33] How Much Free Time Do You Need Each Day?
Tanya Dalton: There’s this 2021 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and they found there’s actually an optimal amount of free time.
Now, most of us will go, oh, I have too little free time. I don’t have nearly enough, right? But, too much free time. is also not very satisfactory. It actually can undermine how you perceive your day. You’ll think, Oh, I’m the worst. It was such a sloth. I didn’t get enough done, not productive enough, even though that doesn’t fit our definition of productivity, but we don’t want to have too much, not too little.
They found in this study two to five hours is optimal. they found that more than five hours of free time actually didn’t significantly add higher levels of happiness. So, it’s not about having more free time, it’s choosing to do really great things with those 2 5 hours. That’s what matters the most, is how do you want to spend your free time.
John Dalton: I think that’s great I thought that was a really interesting study it reminded me I had a Professor, in college, advertising professor at North Texas. And he always said, you need about four hours of blow off time every day. And I, I used to think that was ridiculous. And I don’t know what it is about being a college student.
You’re gearing up for your career, right? And you want to, you just, you feel like you can do everything and work all day and that’s what you’re supposed to do. And we’re kind of dealing with that with Kay right now, right, with her, with her job at Chick fil A. But that’s, it’s really not good
Tanya Dalton: work schedule.
John Dalton: and she just
Tanya Dalton: having lots of talks this day.
John Dalton: ten hours a day. Um, That’s not, that’s not good for you. You really need to blow some things off and, do things that are different and take a break and come back because that makes you better. I think some people they’ll work, work, work, work, work, or, you know, put in an 80 hour week and then not work for three days and then they feel not accomplished.
It’s like you got to find a rhythm and a balance. so I thought, Oh, he was right. Four hours. That’s about right. Two to five, according to the study. So I thought that was really interesting.
Tanya Dalton: Yeah, he was, he was dead on basically 4 hours. And I know some of you might be saying, oh, I don’t even have 2 hours. Stop and think about the time that you have. These little snippets of time, whether it’s, you know, going for a walk by yourself or maybe not even by yourself, but going for a walk or scrolling on your phone, check your phone to see how much time you’re on social media.
Probably more than two hours a day if you’re like most people. That’s definitely a big time suck.
Or if there’s certain apps that you get on and you find yourself in these doom scrolls or these wormholes where you just go and check the screen time. In your phone and you’re going to find, Oh, I actually do have a little bit of free time.
So let’s choose how we’re going to use that. I sent out an email to my sub stack subscribers Last week, I think it was last week or the week before about what are your summer plans? Making sure that you’re really carving out time and space for breaks Breaks are not a reward for great work to happen.
Breaks are a requirement for great work to happen. So, having those breaks, like you just said, John, that actually allows you to come back and be even better. To be even stronger. So, let’s be really intentional with how we want to spend our time. And if you do these three things, right? Start with your focus word.
Then you’re going to choose three to five things that you want to accomplish for the day and make sure you’re incorporating some free time. That’s going to make a huge difference. And I know that might feel like, I don’t know, that’s a lot. I don’t know if I can do that. Alright, you know what? Let’s start really simple.
The weekend? Fantastic place to start. Choose three things you want to accomplish over the weekend. Just three. That’s the challenge. Right? Because right now you’re like, but I have like 17 things I want to do. Choose three things. Make those your tent poles. Those are kind of the tent poles of your weekend.
I want to do these three things, and if I don’t do anything else, hey, I’m winning, right? So, start really focusing in. How do I want to feel for the weekend? If that’s an easier place than your work week, And to make this even easier for you, I’m actually going to create a download for those of you who are over there on my sub stack, a track record of achievement to help you focus in.
What’s your focus word for the day? How do I want to feel at the end of the day? What are the three to five things you want to accomplish? And then I’ll have a little section there for your weekend as well. That really will help you hone in because truly it’s not that you need more time. It’s that you need to be more intentional with how you spend your time and by creating experiences, adding in wonder and awe into your day, it’s going to make a huge difference.
John Dalton: Yeah. And I have a, I have a little bonus tip for everyone going back to the, the free time because. I can feel people out there listening to this thinking, What am I going to do? I don’t, I don’t have that much stuff to choose from. I don’t know what I can do with that free time. And one of the things you said, Tanya, was I want to pick up painting again because you liked that when you were younger and I think that’s a great place to start.
So I’m going to add a fourth thing to your weekend. Spend five minutes thinking about the things that you used to love to do, right? Whether that’s riding your bike, building stuff, playing in the garden with your grandfather or painting like Tanya and make a list of those things that you used to love that you haven’t done.
that’s a great place to start with doing new things during that free time that you create for yourself.
Tanya Dalton: I like that bonus tip. That’s a really good one, John. I totally agree. Because I really tapping into what was full of wonder and awe for you as a child, you’re going to feel that and experience that again, right? And that’s what this is really all about. It’s truly your life, so choose how you want to live it.
Create these experiences in your days. It’s going to make a huge difference in how much time you feel. We don’t want to be time poor. Let’s make ourself feel time rich. Like we have more than enough time for everything we want to do. And that starts with those three things, right? Creating the focus word. How do you want to feel at the end of the day? three to five things you want to accomplish and then creating that free space, that free time for you, that helps you feel like a kid again.
That’s how we can stop feeling like we’re constantly an adult. I like feeling younger. I don’t need to wear the tube tops to prove that I’m younger. Date the 20 year old, but it’s tapping into those things that we love. Because truly when you feel like you’re in charge of your time and when your days feel like they’re filled with wonder and awe.
That’s when you’ve got the intentional advantage.
Ready to take action on what we talked about on today’s episode? The easiest way to get started is my 5 Minute Miracle Mini Course. It’s normally $97, but you get it for free when you join my free sub stack. It’ll boost your productivity and it will double your happiness. Plus, you’ll get access to all kinds of extras from the podcast.
Just go to tanyadalton. com slash connect. And don’t forget to follow The Intentional Advantage on your podcast player so you never miss an episode.

**This transcript is created by AI, so please excuse any typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.


Tanya Dalton is a female time management expert and productivity speaker. She gives keynote talks on goal setting, productivity, time management and habits.

Image for podcast episode artwork is by Taryn Elliott