There’s Never Enough Time

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If there’s one thing I had thought my retirement would give me, it was time. Sitting in my office life day in and day out, I began to believe that my lack of satisfaction with life had its roots in my lack of time.


And perhaps that was true.


But one thing retirement has taught me is that there’s never enough time. Verily, my obsession with projects has filled up every day and I never seem to have enough time. Quitting my job has given me more time to do what I want, but it hasn’t slowed down my days at all. My obsession with busyness and personal projects has overtaken my days now that I no longer have 8-10 hours a day sucked up for the gain of someone else. So I’ve taken on a new perspective with my approach to time, projects, and life.


Project Abandonment and Taking on Less


One of the most helpful things I’ve discovered recently is the art of abandon. I’m the type of person that has an ever evolving list of things I want to accomplish, projects I want to complete, and things I need to do. The problem with an obsession for productivity is that you’ll inevitably let yourself down. That can be incredibly frustrating, but it also devalues the most important thing you have in life: time. So I’ve taken to project abandonment.


It’s not as lazy as it seems. It’s simply a more critical look at what is actually important. Do I really need to paint the shed, re-finish the floor, and sheetrock the ceiling to a warehouse I’m planning to leave? It’s more than just prioritizing though. It’s about giving yourself the permission to abandon a project regardless of where you’re at with it.


I still find that time is my currency these days. Everything I do or commit to is evaluated based on the worthiness of my time. Taking on less and allowing myself to abandon a project or commitment gives me greater enjoyment with the time I have.


After all, there’s never enough time.



27 Responses

  1. One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn to do was be able to let unfinished projects go. I carried many unfinished projects with me for years expecting that I’d go back and finish them. Despite my best efforts a thickening layer of dust didn’t increase my desire to finish them.

    Now I try to keep better record of what it is that stalls the project, whether it be time, or an actual hurdle. Keeping the notes helps me look back and see where some of these problems arise. They also give me some insight on how long I might spend on the project, letting me schedule a time to fully dive into it.

    • That’s a good point. Tracking progress seems tedious to me, but I suppose it forces accountability. I like to think this blog does a little of that for me.

  2. There’s Never Enough Time « Boldly Going

    […] like this thought process. A lot. Click through to read the original article:There’s Never Enough Time Go Ahead. Giving Is Good!MoreLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  3. I think you have accomplished a lot during your retirement and I am very happy for you. My days don’t seem long enough either. I notice I tend to put all my projects to the weekends and by the time the weekends come those days fill up too. I have been told by certain people in my life that I take on too much. I am starting to actually understand what they are talking about… Living each day for yourself rather then for other people helps minimize the projects and priorities. Great post once again. I am pretty proud of some of the projects we have accomplished together. (especially the garden)

    Here’s to many more manageable projects… Like maybe a house someday with a big kitchen and lots of windows!!! 🙂

  4. Todd | Channelingmyself

    Hey Dave,

    I really like the quote, “I no longer have 8-10 hours a day sucked up for the gain of someone else.” This is so true in the working world and is literally making me ill these days. Oh how I wish I could get out of the rat race and see what else I could do with my time.

    • Todd, I think you’re getting close to the breaking point. I hope you snap soon and make a clean break!

  5. There’s Never Enough Time « Boldly Going

    […] November 01, 2011 at 11:15AM from Almost Bohemian Click through to read the original article:There’s Never Enough Time 34.750833 -112.116679 Go Ahead. Giving Is Good!MoreLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  6. Often there seems to be a cyclical trend going from “not enough to do”->”too much to do”->”not enough to do” and so forth that can be hard to break. For example, after quitting my 65+ hours/week job half a year ago, I rubbed my hands together and said “Aaah, now I have time for everything”. Well, pretty soon I felt I didn’t have enough to do and overcompensated by getting involved in all sorts of projects until once again found I was swamped. After I while I started getting rid of projects and felt guilty because I was so used to being busy. The instinctive antidote for this would be to once again dive head on into all sorts of stuff, but what really takes discipline is picking your battles and learning to enjoy so-called “non-productive” time as well. At least that’s my personal challenge.

    • You have accurately diagnosed the problem. It’s easy to talk about balance, but it sure is a lot harder to execute it daily.

  7. Oh, snap! I have had many reviews to abandon the glut of things I am passionate about. I keep realizing that no matter how hard I push there will always only be 24 hours in one day!

    If you are like me this is something you will have to keep doing because as soon as you clear and de-glut your time, things just start creeping back in there! It comes with having an ever curious, interested personality, so that’s the positive side.

    • You’re right Pea. I guess curiosity brings on projects. Well, I’m hoping to find a focus and peace in all of it!

  8. Feeling this same thing – right now it IS my job that is sucking away time and mental energy from the things I want to do. Working on that.

    But I have become more critical about the things and projects I spend time on – and I ask myself the intention or motivation for completing it. Is it out of some sense of obligation? Is it for others or myself? Is it to maintain an image or to be who I am? Does it align with my best intentions?

    Examine each project through a critical lens of alignment…

    Great post!

    • Liane, that’s exactly why I had to make the break from my job. It would have been the death of me (or at least my passion!).

  9. I know this feeling well. I am impressed that you have so quickly “named it.” I also applaud you for making the decision to do something about it – to change the ridiculous expectations we set for ourselves.

    As two fairly driven and passionate individuals, Kent and I can tend to feel like we are not accomplishing enough (despite also feeling like we have so much to be proud about). However, we have come to appreciate the value of down-time and now fully realize that it is an integral part of our success. Down-time is the space we often need to allow our ideas to macerate and then fully gel.

    It sounds a bit silly to be quoting Fiona Apple, but one of her lyrics has always stuck with me… “I don’t believe in the wasting of time.”

    • It’s good to be a strong personal critic of yourself. It also helps to get outside words here and there, to remind yourself that you are accomplishing a lot and impressing the hell out of a lot of folks.

  10. hmmm, i’m not fully abandoning the time i spent on freelance projects. after all, i still have some to finish up. but on the contrary, i find myself taking on MORE. full time job (which is 50 hour weeks over here) on top of the side hustle.. it’s a lot to cram, especially when i only had the parttime web stuff before.. i guess what i’m finding though, is that i function better with structure and really suck at giving myself structure on my own time.. when i had more time to work on things, i actually spent less time doing it. but now that my schedule is packed, i tend not to waste as much time…

    • Janet, sometimes piling on the insanity it what works. And in the very least, you’ll be making money to keep yourself afloat. Just remember this may be the time to cut back on personal projects while you get your cash flow going…

  11. I’ve reached a similar conclusion via my inaccurate diagnosis that time was the bottleneck causing me to not accomplish all I wanted to .

    I think it speaks to a broader point of the value of determining (with precision) the variables that are within your control. It’s way too easy to blame time. It’s more difficult to look at yourself.

  12. Hi Dave,

    I am new here.

    Like you idea and lifestyle now. Actually not having enough time in your situation is good. You are having not enough time to do what you love now. Some people never have enough time doing what they do not like for the longest time. Consider this your privilege.

    Your art of abandonment is certainly the new way to go. At the end of all your abandoning, I am sure you will find great satisfaction knowing that you have spend your time wisely doing the things that you love.

  13. Life style become very fast , so we didn’t find time for our-self. We have to do our work at-least 9-10 hours a day including traveling to the office and come back. Not getting time for other family members also.

  14. I admit that, many times I don’t things due to lack of time. I don’t know weather it’s my perception or real. I accomplish my passionate things just like that, with out any second thought. I wish to make my to-do list with things that will passionate and admire me.

  15. I think I also have an obsession with business and personal projects!
    I have many unfinished projects but the pressures of work take most of my time away!
    I need to adopt the abandon approach!

  16. […] months ago I wrote a piece titled There’s Never Enough Time. It’s probably boring, so you don’t have to read it again. The premise is simple: […]

  17. » Never Enough Time Our End of the 'Net

    […]   Saw myself again today. I was young, playing in the corner next to the old man. The old man looked confused as to where he was. He didn’t recognize me. Do I get that bad at that age? Must be: for I am him, and he is me.   The boy: me… was I that clueless then? Yes, I guess so. I could be an older brother. In a way, guess I am.   When I was young I remember being so confused. Who are these people who keep popping into my life, but no one else can see? I learned to say nothing: nothing at all. I learned not to tell the truth. Tell the truth and the “professionals” show up who think   It’s not.   In fact I think we all have our sense of reality. We may agree on what an orange everyone’s sense of reality is exactly the same.tastes like, but transplant another set of taste buds into our mouths and we would get confused because it’s NOT the same. We just use the same words for different things. We come to think, because we use similar words, we all taste tastes exactly the same. But the only consistency is our own, and even that varies some.   My rooms, my days, my years are filled with myself. I live with various versions of myself every second. Sometimes five year old me is here, sometimes 87 years old me. I haven’t seen anyone beyond 87 so I can only assume…   They come. They go. They paint my days like art by Edwin Hopper. As I walk, go to work, go to the beach, talk to my wife: they’re here. It’s having many conversations going on in my head, only they’re not in my head. They’re walking around me. Sitting where there are no chairs, swimming where there’s no water. I can only assume they are where they are: swimming, driving, sitting, and I look just as strange to them doing what I’m doing as they do to me.   There’s a coffee shop we all like to visit on a side street, in a little river town, up the Hudson from the big city. When I go there there’s always one of me. Sometimes we wave as discreetly as we can, sometimes we ignore each other and, sometimes, we just look in each others eyes, knowing all we know about each other: but knowing we dare not say.   We have tried to warn each other about what has happened: about to happen… but either time changes because we attempt to warn each other, or we live in different realities. Maybe these are also different timelines. All I know is when we try to warn each other what was bad never happens: but something worse does.   Maybe if we had enough time we could figure it all out. And we have more time than many folks. But there’s never enough time, is there? ____________________________________________________ ©Copyright 2013 Ken Carman all rights reserved Courtesy […]

  18. This is really true. we always keep on rushing and rushing fancying the things that really does not matter and in the end we find that we have ample of time, but n0 energy left to enjoy the beauty of life.

  19. Nice and informative post

    “There’s never enough time” is a universal truth.We can just think of doing things later but we fail always because of lack of time.It is not that we are too busy but when we have to use it or want to do something there is always a factor of “there’s never enough time” that comes.

    I guess one thing we can do about it is planning . Atleast that could help you save some time.

    Thank you for sharing.

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