Many of us are looking for ways to save time, not in order to do more, but in order to have more time to do the things we care about most. Maybe you are looking for ways to spend more time with your children, or your doctor has recommended a slower paced, less stressful life for your health. In this case, perhaps what you need isn’t just another clever time saving trick; what you need is a lifestyle change.
Making a “Sea Change”
Life in a large metropolitan area is challenging. Property values are high, rents through the roof, and the cost of living is usually noticeably above that of the surrounding area. On top of this, there is the constant barrage of media and social pressures to constantly earn and spend. By making a “sea change”, you can reclaim your time and quality of living. The term sea change comes from a major Australian trend of moving out of the metro areas and into more remote seaside towns in order to practice a simpler and less stressful way of life. Farther out from major metropolitan centers, the cost of living is lower, so you can move into a less stressful job, or take fewer hours in a similar position as your current one, and still earn enough money to clear your cost of living. Recently people have also taken to moving inland to forested areas for the same purpose, or up into mountainous regions. As these movements are becoming more popular, their proponents have adopted the terminology of the sea change movement and started to call then “tree change” and “hill change”.
Another, closely related trend in time-saving lifestyle changes is lifestyle “downshifting”, where you choose to reduce your consumption habits and recurring expenses in order to allow you to take a lower-stress occupation and live simply, with more free time to pursue your own pursuits. Proponents of the downshifting movement recommend making a gradual transition – try a week with no media, for instance, and see how freeing it is if you stop watching television, reading newspapers, and surfing the web. If that works well, then you can try cutting out something else that complicates your life. Maybe you’re just getting sick of owning a house and doing all the maintenance that homeowners need to do, so you downshift to a small apartment, and shed some unneeded possessions in the transition. Extreme downshifters have been known to move out to the country where they can live with just water, heat, and minimal electricity, taking most of their activities “off the grid.” This isn’t recommended for everyone, though. Downshifting is meant to be something you adjust to your needs. Whether you do either or both of these, you will have taken a substantial chunk of time-consuming activities and stress out of your life and converted them into time that you can use freely as you choose. Although lifestyle changes like this are very dramatic ways to conserve time, you’ll find that they are very effective.
Taking a Sabbatical
Maybe the lifestyle changes outlined above are not suitable for you. Perhaps taking a sabbatical for a few months or a year is a more viable alternative. Refer to the 'The Power of Time Off'