Time: The Key to Happiness

  • January 21, 2022
  • Lynne Yryku

Time: The Key to Happiness

I’m always trying to get the most out of my time, as I’m sure many of you are, but I feel like something’s got to give every single day. There must be a better way, right?

Here are four steps I am trying out to avoid the overwhelm and be more productive without sacrificing my family, fun or sleep time. Spoiler: It isn’t always easy; however, overall, it’s working.

1. Audit your time. This is simple but very effective. Track your time for a few days to a week, writing down brief notes (even just a word) about what you did each half hour or hour. Then look back and see how you really spend your time. I discovered just how much time I spend looking at social media and doing online “window shopping” when I only have 5-10 minutes between tasks because it doesn’t seem like enough time for anything substantial. Now armed with this awareness, I bookmark podcasts or friends to message each week for those random minutes to make them more valuable for me. What best fills your bucket?

2. Delegate. Here is how you can determine if something should be delegated: Do you enjoy doing it? Can someone else do it faster, cheaper or better? If you don’t enjoy it and you answer yes to the second question, then 100% delegate if possible. For instance, I order my groceries online because anyone at the store can pick out groceries more quickly than I can but not everyone can pull together this magazine. You can even take it a step further and ask yourself if you can just delete the task—what would happen? Of course, this is a complicated one at work but considering what is possible, instead of immediately ruling it out as impossible, can be eye opening.

3. Tie up loose ends. When small items are continuously ignored or left unfinished, your to-do list is longer and more overwhelming—and many of those things generally takes only a few minutes to complete. As per David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” method, “If an action will take less than two minutes, it should be done at the moment it's defined.” Little tasks, like replying to an invitation I wasn’t sure about, used to linger on my list because I was too busy with the “important” stuff—until I realized the disproportionate mental space they took up. Now I live by the two-minute rule. Where are you procrastinating?

4. Audit your energy. Sometimes what feels like a lack of time is really a lack of energy. Are you drinking enough water? Are you picking energizing foods? Are you getting enough sleep? Personally, I need the most work on the last one. That is why I started “Mindfulness Daily,” a 40-day online guided mindfulness program by Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. It is the last thing I do before I go to bed and takes me 10 minutes. I’m at day 18 and I already notice the difference in my sleep quality. What small steps can you take to improve your wellbeing?

It's all about the big picture, about figuring out how to focus on what brings you value and minimizing the rest. Start with the first tip and the rest will flow from it, helping you reclaim some lost time and be happier in the process.

Looking for more? Here are some good resources for more information:

  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

  • “Mindfulness Daily” & “Mindfulness Daily @ Work” by Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield (www.tarabrach.com)

  • Reinvention: Changing Your Life, Your Career, Your Future by Arlene Dickinson

  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

  • 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam


Lynne Yryku is the Manager of Communications for the CCCA and a longtime wellness warrior.