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You Probably Don't Have Enough Free Time To Read This
So I can't say I'm surprised by the findings of Real Simple's study, which reports that women don't have enough free time. What's more, according to the survey "women who set aside regular free time are ultimately more satisfied with their lives." As Real Simple editor Kristin van Ogtrop put it, "There is a startling connection between scheduling free time and happiness–and an equally startling connection between the ability to delegate and happiness."
That's right, it's not actually that aliens come and steal hours from your afternoon (as I've sometimes suspected), but apparently much of this time pressure we feel is actually our own fault. Mediabistro's Fish Bowl blog has a great run-down of the survey's takeaways, but what really struck me was that most often women limited their own free time by not delegating and not being able to let go of control. It's that old "well I could ask him to clean the kitchen but it won't get done right so FINE, I'LL JUST DO IT." Mediabistro reports that, discussing the study, ABC News Correspondent Claire Shipman noted "girls are often raised to be perfect, because we’re able to be perfect (duh!), but at what price? She says women often lose their ability to be in the moment and just enjoy life. So now she focuses on being good enough. She doesn’t worry about being perfect at work or parenting. She recommended that women stop dwelling on things that don’t really matter."
Another time-sucking culprit? Constant interruptions. Work flows into home, home flows into work, a lunch date is punctuated by texts, and in the end we forget to be present enough in the thing that we are doing to enjoy it. We must remember, for the sake of our daughters if not ourselves, to make time for ourselves, to stop sweating the small stuff, to release ourselves from perfection. We must Be Here Now, in the words of that hippie book my parents always had lying around. A book you could read, if you made some free time for it.
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