post written by: Marc Chernoff

12 Things You Should Start Making Time for Again


12 Things You Should Start Making Time for Again

This is a new day.  A new beginning.  And things will change.

Today, I was jogging on the outskirts of downtown Austin when a woman I had just passed began screaming for help.  I turned around to see that her husband had fallen to the ground and appeared unconscious.  I ran over and checked his pulse.  He had one, but he wasn’t breathing.  The woman called 911 on her mobile phone while I performed CPR on her husband.  Somehow, miraculously, I got him breathing again before the ambulance arrived.  And although I have no idea how this couple’s story will end, I’m hopeful based on positive remarks from one of the paramedics who said the husband seemed to be in stable condition.

Now I’m sitting here reflecting on the incident and, even more so, on the words the woman repeated over and over through her tears as I was attending to her husband:  “It’s not his time.  Oh please, it’s not his time.”

And in a backwards way, her words keep echoing in my mind, reminding me that life is fragile and fleeting, and that I need to start allocating my time properly again.  Life has been busy lately, and certain things have fallen by the wayside, but it’s time to revive and resume the rituals that best serve my well-being and my relationships.

I hope you will join me in…

  1. Taking better care of yourself. – You are like a building with stained-glass windows.  You always shimmer and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in your true magnificence is revealed only if there is light shining from within you.  It’s your duty, and yours alone, to keep your inner light shining bright.  So learn to love yourself first, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you.  Loving yourself does not mean being selfish and narcissistic, or disregarding others.  Rather, it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart and mind – a guest worthy of extra care and respect.  Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it.  Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it.  That’s a great start.
  2. Getting lost in playful exploration. – Sometimes we put too much weight into trying to control every tiny aspect of our lives.  Switch gears, relax and ride the path that life takes you sometimes.  Try something new, be a bit daring, and explore your curiosity.  Letting go a little lets you experience the unexpected.  The greatest joys in life are often the unexpected surprises that you never intended to happen.  If you want to get really good at something, let go of the notion of perfection and replace it with the notion of endless playful exploration.  We don’t stop dreaming and exploring because we grow old; we grow old because we stop dreaming and exploring.  (Read The War of Art.)
  3. Indulging in your passions and hobbies. – Do fall in love, not always with a person, but with an aim, an ambition, a passion.  If you lost everything but your mind, heart and health, what would be your reason to wake up every morning with a smile?  There’s definitely a fire burning inside you.  It’s your job to find it and keep it lit.  As we grow older, with all of our responsibilities, our passions and hobbies often seem like an indulgence.  They shouldn’t be.  They should be a requirement.  Even if you can only dedicated 20 minutes a day to something you love, DO IT.  No excuses, no regrets.
  4. Spreading joy. – BE the change you want to see.  Love fearlessly and without limits.  No act of love or kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.  The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion, compassion, humor, generosity, and kindness, and using these tools to improve the lives of those around you.  Smile, and help others smile too.  If you don’t have the power or strength to write someone’s happiness, then try to help them remove their sadness instead.  And don’t let the numbers overwhelm you.  You can’t help everyone.  Focus on assisting one person at a time, and always start with the person closest to you.
  5. Initiating long, intimate conversations with loved ones. – Death is a real challenge of life.  It tells us not to waste time.  It tells us to make time right now to tell each other that we love each other.  It tells us to stop texting and tweeting every second and actually open the floodgates to real, long, heartfelt conversations with the people we love.  Relationships flourish when two people are able to share their innermost feelings and thoughts about themselves and each other.  To be fully heard by someone, in raw form, and be adored anyhow, is what true love is.  Making time for these deep connections and conversations is worth it.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  6. Listening to others without judgment. – Be selective in your battles.  Let go a bit and just listen and smile.  Most of the time being peaceful and compassionate is far better than being right – especially right off the bat in a new conversation.  So keep in mind that wisdom is not just knowing when to stand up and speak, but when to sit down and listen.  It’s about knowing that your ears will never get you in trouble, and will always give you a chance to learn something new.
  7. Interacting with quality people in-person, in the flesh. – In the digital age we live in it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of sustaining our relationships through digital means only.  Although it’s nice that technology is making the world smaller and making remote relationships easier to manage, nothing can replace the intimacy of physical human connectedness.  Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a hug, a handshake, a kind pat on the back, a listening ear in a shared space, or the smallest act of caring for someone close by, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
  8. Enjoying peaceful downtime. – You deserve quiet moments away from the daily hustle, in which no problems are confronted, no solutions are explored, and no demands are being made of your time.  Schedule time every day to not be busy.  At least twice a day, withdraw yourself from the sources of stress that refuse to withdraw from you.  Do so for a few minutes and simply be and breathe.  Don’t fool yourself; you’re not so busy that you can’t afford a few minutes of sanity.
  9. Reading amazing books. – Books are truly the perfect entertainment: no advertisements, no batteries, hours of delight and education, and no cost with a library card.  What you have to ask yourself is: Why not carry a book around for those inevitable gaps of wasteful waiting time – five minutes here and ten minutes there.  Bring that dead time back to life.  And remember, it is what you read and learn when you don’t have to that determines what you will be capable of when you have no other choice.
  10. Cooking real, wholesome food. – Your body is a temple.  You are what you eat.  So do not eat processed food, fast food, and all the filth the big processed food companies try to pass off as “healthy.”  Most foods that you don’t have to prepare manually statically cause sickness, cancer, and disease.  Do they taste good?  Sure.  It’s all well-seasoned, pre-packaged poison.  This is why so many people are sick – mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually – because of being hooked to the taste of poison, instead of being hooked on the truth and to real foods that heal and provide you with good health and wellness.  (Read Super Immunity.)
  11. Cutting yourself enough slack to make mistakes. – The greatest mistake many of us make is living in constant fear that we will make one.  Life is just too short to berate yourself for making mistakes.  After all, mistakes in life are as certain as sunsets and detours.  So why exert energy avoiding the unavoidable?  The truth is you aren’t really free until you give yourself the freedom to make mistakes.  So liberate yourself!  Cut yourself some slack.  Shift your energy from protecting yourself from failure to squeezing more living out of your life.
  12. Celebrating the small victories of each day. – Sure, not every day will be good, but there will always be something good about every day.  Notice these things and celebrate them.  Train your mind to see what’s right.  Positivity is a choice.  The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.  When you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change how you think about it.  And the first step is celebrating what you can – the lessons, the laughs, and love you experienced along the way.

The floor is yours…

Truth be told, the most important decision you will ever make is what you do with the time that is given to you.  Let every day be a part of a dream you can touch.  Let every day contain love you can feel.  Let every day be a great example of a life truly lived.

Leave a comment below and let us know…

What do you need to start making time for again?

Photo by: Girish Suryawanshi

Download the ebook If you enjoyed this article, check out our new best-selling book.
Marc and Angel Subscription via Email And get inspiring life tips and quotes in your inbox (it's free)...

Enter your email address to get new articles delivered for free:



49 Comments

  • This is such a timely post for me right now - I buried my father this weekend and definitely have re-valued and re-assessed how I spend my time. Family and friends are truly important and I want to be able to say “I’m glad I spent time with them” and have no regrets in not spending quality time with them.

    I really value your emails, your blog, your book - especially in times like this.

  • I need to spend more time realizing and celebrating all the little achievements and changes that have made a difference in my life. For too long I had been trying to make big changes all at once and it never worked. Now I’m making lots of little bits of progress here and there, but I rarely give myself the pat on the back I deserve.

  • Thanks so much for this post. I often think of how short life is, but it’s hard to know what I should do differently to better reflect that.

    I would add that we should make time to really think about what our values and priorities are, so we know where to focus our efforts.

  • How incredible that you were part of saving this man’s life! It’s interesting how we automatically resist death, which naturally I understand in the heat of the moment. But, the truth is, it can come at anytime and it doesn’t matter how young or old we are.

    Knowing this, I really take your suggestions to heart. Especially spreading joy and having deep, intimate conversations with others. But, I also just took a walk in nature and that was nice too!

  • I need to start taking more time to simply be. To honor the divinity within. To remember that we are all interconnected. We are ONE. We are LOVE. And I need to start treating others the way you would like to be treated, every day, no matter my mood.

    Excellent reminders. As usual, you have reset me on the right path. And I know it’s just in time. My thoughts about this post, and my path forward, remind me of a quote from your book that I read last week and wrote down:

    “Remember today, for it is the beginning. Today marks the start of a brave new future.”

  • Melissa Webster
    March 31st, 2014 at 4:44 am

    #8 Enjoying peaceful downtime. I was trying to do this. I took a job at a horse stable as much for therapy in a happy, peaceful environment as it was for the money, to help me recover and regroup after a series of setbacks and heartbreaks that left me lost with no clue where to begin to start over. It was a peaceful place where I felt I could have the downtime I needed to just ‘be’ for a little while until I figured out what to do next.

    And now I’m dealing with a woman who just started working there, who has been systematically manipulating everyone and everything around me. And I do mean everything. Every conversation she initiates has an agenda. On the first day I met her my bullshit radar went off, and she’s been proving it ever since.

    At first I just rolled with it, more curious than concerned, just to see what the day’s agenda was. She didn’t feel negative or threatening. But in the last five days or so, it’s turned malicious. She’s pitting other employees against me and trying to force me into competing with her. Not sure what the hell we’re competing for or why, but she wants the confrontation anyway. The more I refuse to play her games, the more she doubles down on the effort or changes tactics to come at me from another angle.

    And it’s like she thinks she’s actually teaching me lessons, like it’s something I need and what she’s doing is good for me or something. Even crazier than that is she works into conversation exactly what she’s doing on whatever day she’s doing it. It’s weird, like toxic, twisted, stalker crazy weird.

    Now I’m just trying to figure out if she’s one of the online stalkers who’s been screwing with me for the last three years, following me from forum to forum to play head games with me, who’s decided to make it real life, or if she’s just some random person who showed up off the street and decided I was a work threat she needed to neutralize. I don’t know.

    On the positive side, I talked to my boss yesterday and he knows exactly what’s going on and the kind of person she is, so I know my job is safe, but it’s no longer the peaceful chance to recover and regroup that it was supposed to be, and I’m having to make a daily conscious effort to be aware of her manipulations in order to protect myself, which keeps me on edge way too much of the time.

    So instead of the peaceful downtime I really needed for a couple of months over the summer like I’d planned, I’m dealing with a stalker and trying to decide if I should quit my job and remove myself from the situation completely, or if I should just continue to ignore her and let her play her games by herself while I focus on the positive aspects of the job, which are the horses and the people I interact with whom she can’t manipulate.

    Great list! Thanks for this.

    Melissa

  • Oh Marc & Angel, just how awesome you guys are!!

    This is such a wonderful post, something I am trying to do right now. Recently I have been so busy that I have forgotten to truly live and enjoy myself. How I love to read & cook homemade meals. Thanks for the reminders.

  • Thank you for this. Your gifts of words and ideas matter so much to me. I seldom write but I read with benefit. This one? Particularly timely for me. Reminds me of a scrap of a song which floats thru my mind often these days: “…in the end, only kindness matters…” I hope all you do comes back to you in comfort and joy.

  • Marc and angel. This is my big thanks. Thanks for impacting me in a positive way.

    Much love from Nigeria.

  • I just watched the school bus pick up my son for his first day back to school (6th grade) after a week off for spring break. I can see the bus stop at the corner from my living room window.

    I realized how lucky I am to get to be the parent who is raising him, who gets to greet him each morning and say goodnight each night…….and watch him chatting and goofing around with his friends at the bus stop.

    I realized that some mornings I don’t watch. I listen, but don’t necessarily watch. One day I’ll wish I could be watching that every morning, as he is off leading his life somewhere far removed from my line of vision, and although that is how it should be, I know that I will miss these days terribly.

    I need to be conscious of taking the time to completely enjoy every moment of parenting this, my last child. I need to let my stress take a far distant back seat to the reality of my joys, which are more than apparent as the sun is shining and it’s finally warm outside my window today and my son was laughing as he stepped on to the bus.

  • This is such a great reminder to me and it’s a post that confirms the very things that I have been thinking of lately since my last visit to the ER two weeks ago. Life is really fragile, it slips away so quickly as we draw our last breath. I am thinking how important it is to spend quality time with my family. I’ve already taken a step in that direction and one of the things we did together on Sunday was to have a picnic on the beach. It was such a blessing to serve my two daughters, their husband and my grandson and grand daughter.

    Great inspiration as always from you Marc and Angel. Have a blessed day/week. :)

  • Thank you for this post. I really enjoy reading your blog.

  • Thank you so much for all your email newsletters and posts. Extremely helpful.

    This one reminds me of several important activities I need to start doing more often… and today I’m starting with #1.

  • #7. I just had this come up with someone I love because I posted some good news to FB rather than calling them. This is a person who has always provided love and support. In short, they deserved to be told in person about this news rather than with all of my FB acquaintances. I apologized and learned a valuable lesson to make sure that I care more for those who care for me. Thanks for the reminder.

  • I need to take time to love my husband and not take him for granted. I need to take time and have fun.

  • In the last two weeks I saw my father pass away and am glad I spent the time when he was alive to tell him that I loved him - number 5 above. Yes these are all great posts and worth remembering! Thank you both so much for all of your work.

  • You have such insight! It’s truly a gift, and we’re all truly blessed that you’re sharing your gift. Almost every single list comes at the right time just when I need it. Thank you!

  • @nancie, like that song too-Hands by Jewel. Poverty stole your golden shoes, It didn’steal your laughter..

    Thank you Marc and Angel, I’m very lucky to have stumbled upon your very inspiring posts at the time when I needed it most..You are blessing.

  • Someday I hope to not need so many reminders of these relatively simple truths. But until then, I continue to appreciate you for providing them. They are all very important reminders to the need to live in the present and let go of the things we cannot control in the world. And I especially appreciated the inclusion of number 10.

    I don’t see diet mentioned very much on this site (not a complaint, I understand that it’s not your main focus), but I wholeheartedly believe that so much of the stressors in our lives and more so the way we deal with those stressors can be tied to the quality of the fuel we put in our bodies. The body and the spirit are so intertwined that I believe it to be impossible to poison the body and still maintain a healthy spirit. Thanks again for doing what you do. Happy Monday.

  • Because I’m currently jobless, I have recently felt there is nothing to celebrate than to be alone in my room and think. In response to my detrimental feelings, Marc and Angel’s posts always awake my nerves, rebuild my strength and show me there is still plenty of good in every day. I changed my orientation, started loving myself more… and I know I deserve an ovation when the time is right.

  • Your articles are helping me to implement a big change in my life…I’m still at the beginning, baby steps!! But I’m sure I’ll achieve my goals…

    Thank you for sharing your words and thoughts… thank you for inspiring all of us.

    Lots of love from Brazil :)

  • Because am jobless, I felt there is nothing to celebrate than to be alone in my room and think. In response to my detrimental feelings, “marc and angel post” awake my nerves, rebuild my strength and shows me there is always a good thing in Everyday. I changed my Orientation, love myself more and I know I deserve an ovation when the time is right.

  • Excellent post! Thank you. I have the “Days of Life” app on my phone, and every day at 5:00 pm it alerts me to how many more days I can expect to live (using avg life expectancy stats). Some people think it’s depressing, but for me it is a reminder that each day is precious.

  • I’m going to make more time for meditation..:-)

  • “Death is a real challenge of life.” Jesus warned us about the same challenge when he said that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Living your full potential in life requires that you live with the knowledge that you will not live in this material form forever.

    Memento mori means “Remember that you will die” in Latin. Some people are scared by this truth but it inspires the rest of us to take action to live to our highest potential. Thank you for writing this post, Marc.

  • On March 21 I had my 2nd heart attack. I guess the first one 2 years ago was not enough of a wake up call for me so…I was sent a reminder. I have wanted to change my life, create a simpler, less drama filled life. I’ve not been happy in my marriage of 30 years and my adult children continuously are trying to control everything I do. I’m done. As hard as it is to leave this behind and reach into the unknown at my age, I feel like its time. The regrets have been there for years but no longer. I may make wrong choices, I may not be happy every day and I may even be afraid but it’s my choice and I’m starting the process of leaving it all behind and going to live the life I want to live. Thank you for your helpful, common sense posts!

  • Today’s prose were beautiful. Thank you.

  • I would add exercise to the list. It’s important to take good care of the inside as well as the outside. People with anxiety have a lot to gain from exercising, and I speak from experience.

  • Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
    -Jesus

    Treat others as you would have them treat you.
    -Jesus

  • I absolutely agree with this: ‘Although it’s nice that technology is making the world smaller and making remote relationships easier to manage, nothing can replace the intimacy of physical human connectedness.”

    We need more face to face contact. And the best work is always done through an intimate connection.

  • Hear hear for #9!! I read every single day and there is nothing that can replace a good book.

  • I didn’t get out of bed today till about 5:30pm and that was with sleeping through all last night! This has, unfortunately become my life for many years now. My only sibling, my sister, my mother and father are gone now. I am not married and have no children. Choices I made in my much younger years. I think I let my family know face to face, way before their deaths how blessed I felt to have them in my life and blessed to be born into that family. I turned 67 on the 24th of March and I can truthfully say that I will not do anything to my self, but never feel like I want to be alive. Thank you Marc and Angel for the work you so lovingly do and the wisdom and inspiration you so lovingly share. You are appreciated more than I can find the words to adequately express. …God bless you and your chosen path, that you have chosen to share with all of us. Words fail me to express how much it means to me.

  • I know everyone says the same thing, but this is really an eye opener for me. You were meant to be there Marc, at that moment in your time.

    I have made a few comments, and are feeling more comfortable here. Your posts are just amazing, and they hit home so much.

    I am working on my “one day at a time” still, but really need to step it up. We all have a limited time here, and it is not up to us as to when we are taken. I know that personally. What I can’t figure out is, “if we were meant to be together, why was he taken away so early?” Thank you so much.

  • No. 4 is my favorite. Thanks.

  • To the last point, #12, I once read a quote that I’ll paraphrase because I can’t remember right now.

    It goes “If you can’t find something to be grateful for every day, the problem lies within you.”

    There are days I make it a point to just be grateful for something like, I have coffee. It’s that simple. Find something to be grateful for every day, even if it’s small. It helps, I promise!

  • If you lost everything but your mind, heart and health, what would be your reason to wake up every morning with a smile? There’s definitely a fire burning inside you. It’s your job to find it and keep it lit.

    My sweet little cat would be my reason. That, and writing. I’m currently writing a romance novel (new genre for me) and am trying to figure out how best to tell the story. It’s proving a bit tougher than I thought, but I’m hoping this will help lead me to a writing career, where I don’t have to go into the office for work.

  • You go, Vicki! It’s never too late to have a happy life. I also began late, but am so blessed now to have such a happy place to be. It starts from inside, and one small choice at a time. If you don’t like the life you have - choose something else! It’s easy - but not simple. But oh, so rewarding.

    Melissa - I am keeping you in my thoughts and sending positive vibes. You will make the right decision for you.

    Thanks Marc and Angel for another beautiful post!

  • I love this post. I find myself having problems with number 11. I’m learning to cut myself some slack when it comes to making mistakes. I’m learning to accept my imperfections and love myself in the process. I can’t be a perfectionist forever. That lead me nowhere.

  • Great list… I think sometimes we go so caught up in trying to be efficient and get everything right we forget that a balanced life is a composition of all the areas of our life.

    Having fun is an obvious one that is often missing.

    You list is great. When things have gotten really wacky for me working with my coach is a way I’ve not only put put things back in balance but it’s something that includes several of these points. :)

  • I would like to suggest to you and the readers to also “leave a legacy”. It could be in the form of writing, photography, videography that can be shared or kept alive. It would be nice to be able to keep hold of what brings forth a smile in one picture to another. Though we know in between, trials had happened, it’s seeing how you grew from them. Just like what you are doing. You are clueless of who, beyond your newsletter subscriptions, read your blog but it truly helps. It touches people’s lives one way or another. You are imparting your legacy to them…. to me. So, I’d say, when you have time, impart and share. Leave a legacy.

  • Fabulous post. Yes, life is so short, yet we spend it doing meaningless tasks. Relax. Spread joy. show love & respect to others and take care of your self.

    On his deathbed, a man doesn’t regret things which he did, instead he regrets things which he didn’t do.

  • Yassine AîtLaaraj
    April 2nd, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Marc And Angel, I can’t find words to thank you… this is just awesome, Great List!

    Greetings and Much Love from Morocco :)

  • *Embrace the present*

    One of the things that helps me to live happily in each day is to accept things as they are.

    If I concentrate too much on the past, trying to find a do-over or reliving mistakes, I get depressed. If I seek to have what others have, I invariably find myself in envy or self-pity. If I think too much about what might happen or what is coming, then I find myself in worry and anxiety.

    The meditation I use for this is:
    What I have is enough, what I am is enough.
    (And, you, my friends, are too!)

  • Truly inspirational Marc. Its always a pleasure to read your articles, you have such an insight on life and an impressive way with words.

    Many thanks
    Sam

  • @All: Absolutely beautiful. Angel and I loved reading all the positivity and insight tonight. Remember, many things aren’t equal, but everyone gets the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We make time for what we truly want. Now it’s time to put action into these commitments. Cheers! =)

  • Very inspiring. It’s true, we need to constantly reevaluate and reconsider how we spend our time. I was busy working when I came across this blog. You just inspired me to get up and take the dog for a walk in the woods:-) Sometimes I forget to take breaks.

  • Be here now… Do things you want the moment you think of it. Waiting for proper time is OK, but doing it right away like you might lose the moment if not. Just Live the moment. Somehow all the things you write motivate me right away. Thank you.

  • I really struggle with #1. I can’t seem to love myself enough to put myself first or rely on myself for love. I’m always looking for others to show they care. Really frustrating. Anyone have any suggestions on how to learn to love yourself first?

  • I learned so much in the past year! Life is completely changed for me since losing my precious daughter of 22 years old. Amanda was a special girl always trying to make us prouder than we already were she really was a gift! Amanda was smart, witty, a had a knack for making people feel better about themselves. There was something about her that made people love her …. A quality that not many possess it’s called being a good listener. This was just one of her many qualities that I sorely miss. I miss spending time with my girl, chatting about life and sipping on a nice cup of tea that she thoroughly enjoyed. Life has really changed since those days. I pray that she hears our prayers and long talks and hope to one day be reunited forever.

Leave a Reply