Think about how often we all regretfully say that we don’t have the time to do “something” (you fill in the blank). What we’re actually saying is that whatever this “something” is, we aren’t giving it a top priority in our lives. Not enough time… or not a priority. There’s a big difference there.

The first step to finding balance and meaning in your life… and putting an end to the feeling that you’re just existing day to day… is to stop allowing the hours of your day to be filled by default with “busy-ness” that you don’t control. Take some time to sort out what your real priorities are and to determine what is really important to you… and also what is not. Try to eliminate or reduce the things you routinely do that bring you little or no satisfaction or joy, and reclaim that time for something more meaningful to you. This process is the same for everyone, but your priorities will be unique to you because they will be influenced by YOUR circumstances and YOUR goals.

What you WANT is important… but can’t be your only consideration. Your family, your work, your financial obligations, and your need for downtime must all be a part of the equation… and some compromises are almost always necessary.

Once you know what your priorities and possibilities are, you can start taking control of your time and your life. Don’t try to make several big changes all at once. It will be easier to stay on track if you start slowly and make only one small change at a time. Keep your plans flexible and don’t be afraid to make adjustments if something doesn’t work out as well as you thought it would, or if your circumstances or priorities change.

Time is the only resource that everyone gets in equal amounts. Some people have more money than other people, some people have more energy, talents, or abilities than other people… but everybody starts out with the same twenty-four hours in every day. How we each choose to spend these hours defines who we are and the life we will live.

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I’m sure I’m not alone as a reader who spends too much time on the computer. It’s inspiring and wonderful, and as a stay at home mom to three young kids sometimes it’s an important outlet for me, but it’s a big time sucker that takes time away from other things I’ve claimed I don’t have time for. Thanks for the reminder :)


Your site is very well done!

It appears that people are drawn to simple living for different reasons. Decluttering, green living, financial freedom, wanting more time, etc. I imagine there are as many ways to approach the topic as there are people. In response to one woman’s post I find that decluttering and purging is very helpful for me. I like clean, open space. It helps me keep valuable items organized, protected, and accessible. It allows me to think more clearly and be more creative and more relaxed. An added benefit to purging is being able to live in a smaller space mor enjoyably and less expensively. I am planning to use my free space to rent my home by the week, allowing me to travel while getting paid! Ultimately our choices must fit our lifestyle.

ThAnk you for your excellent site


What you wrote about just existing day to day describes my life to a tee. I feel frazzled and unhappy and although I keep going all the time at the end of the day I don’t feel that I have accomplished much. You have encouraged me to try to figure out changes I can make. Your posts always inspire me.

Norman from CA

Posts like this are the reason I love this blog. It’s easy to get caught up in all the ‘lifehacking’ advice out there, and some of it is helpful, but I really appreciate the calm and sensible advice you provide. Thanks Shirley!

Jann B.

Sometimes I feel like every minute of my day is scheduled for some activity or some place to go. I don’t want to live like this any more.


I’ve been off the grid for the last week due to a blizzard. I’m boiling water and cooking on my woodstove and just working harder for the basics. Even so, I have a lot more time… without my computer. We just got internet back (hopefully the electricity will follow). I’m enjoying a little computer time this evening, but I hope to NOT get back to normal once I’m back to normal.


Very well said!


I’ve been forced to examine how I spend my time, and how I don’t want to waste it, after episodes of illness. Being so limited physically really makes you reconsider the most valuble use of your time and physical energy.


So true. We all have the same number of hours in the day, but we have different priorities for our time.


wish I could reset my default from mundane to sensational! ;)


Thank you for this post. I prioritize what needs to be done now and what can be put off until another time. Doing this, I have time for things I want to accomplish for myself. I needed to read this post today because so many people I know say they don’t have enough time. I keep telling them that there is always time for things you enjoy doing for yourself. Then the ‘well’s…’ start getting deeper and deeper. You have a nice website that is very inspiring.


A friend once advised me to change the beginnings of my sentences from ‘I should’, ‘I have to’, and ‘I must’ to ‘I like to’ and ‘I want to’. The change this almost instantly and automatically brings is amazing.