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Why you have more time than you think

(MoneyWatch) If you'd asked me three weeks ago about my TV-watching habits, I might have gotten a bit haughty. I don't have time to watch TV, I might have told you. And I would have really believed it. At the time, I wasn't watching any shows on a regular basis.

But over the past two weeks, I got massively into watching the London Olympics. Yes, I used my DVR and fast-forwarded through many segments on the games, but I was still logging well over two hours daily of gymnastics, diving, swimming, and track and field.

Now that the Olympics are over, I'm pondering where those two hours per day came from.

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I have a rough idea. Many of my newspapers delivered in the past few weeks went straight into the recycling bin. Same with my magazines. There are books that I might have started that I didn't. It is possible that my own running regimen has gotten a bit lax as I watched other people's amazing feats of athleticism.

But the funny thing is that, busy as I feel, I managed to carve out two-plus hours per day for something I found entertaining. That suggests that if there's anything else I've been pondering in life that takes two hours per day, I could find time for it, too. I could learn another language. I could train for a marathon. I could start a business on the side.

The reason that I'm not doing these things is not that I don't have time -- it's that I don't want to. I may as well be honest with myself and admit that.

Time is highly variable. Perhaps your schedule is packed with things that cannot be changed, even if the chef at your favorite restaurant called you up and offered you a free meal or a health emergency landed a loved one in the hospital.

But I doubt it. How we spend our time is a matter of our priorities, and for two weeks I decided that watching TV was a pretty big priority in my life. So I found time for it. It turns out that I have more time than I think. Perhaps you do, too. When you realize that, you start looking at time differently -- and start asking how to use the abundant hours we do have for what matters most.

What have you made time for in life?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user kimubert
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