I had so much more time when I had insomnia.
I’d wake up in the middle of the night, slip downstairs, turn on the computer, and work. I got so much done. And not just actual work, but blogging, photobooks, and home movies to boot.
I came to rely on that time. The house at night was so peaceful. So still.
No chance of anyone needing me for anything. No phone calls breaking my focus.
Just time. Deep and clear as a blue mountain lake, and just as quenching.
Of course, it had to end.
You can’t stay awake all night indefinitely. Doctors get after you. Weakens your immune system, increases risk of disease, makes you foggy during the day, and so forth.
But how else was I going to get that feeling of floating in a bottomless pool of time?
A 2015 Gallup poll asked Americans, “Generally speaking, do you have enough time to do what you want to do these days, or not?” 
The responses were split fairly equally down the middle. Half of people had enough time, and half didn’t.
Looking more closely at the results, it’s clear that some people have more time than others.
Being retired gives you lots of time to do what you want. Being in full-time employment with children at home does not. When most of your day goes to doing things you have to do, there’s not much time left for doing what you want.
Which explains another statistic:
One third of Americans are sleep deprived. 
When the kids are asleep, the dishwasher is running, and tomorrow’s lunches are sitting in the fridge, the sense of freedom is delicious.
You don’t want to go to sleep. You want to prolong this unfamiliar sensation of doing absolutely nothing. You surf the internet, turn on the TV, look through a magazine, and no one interrupts you. It’s the only time you have to yourself, and it’s too precious to waste.
I knew one father who found his own peaceful haven in the midst of busy family life. He closed the bathroom door, sat down on the toilet, and reveled in the peace. He could hear his children running up and down the wall, he could hear the screams and shouts, but he didn’t have to do anything. As long as that door was locked, the minutes ticking by were his own.
But constipation is no better than insomnia as a way to get more private time. There must be another way.
Here are 5 suggestions.
Tip #1. Question habits.
We go through our days on autopilot. We don’t question our routines or our habits, because they’re what we’ve always done.
So start questioning. As you go throughout your day, ask yourself:
Is what I’m doing necessary? Is there a better way to do this? Can I hand this off to someone else?
Tip #2. Be antisocial.
Being antisocial is seriously underrated.
You don’t have to be social just because other people expect you to. You spend your entire workweek with other people. You come home each day to your family. It’s not like you’re living in an isolation chamber.
Some of life’s biggest timewasters are other people. Don’t let them make you feel guilty for taking time to yourself.
Tip #3. Choose the novel over the familiar.
Time is stretchy. You can make it go fast or slow, based on how much attention you’re paying to it.
One sure-fire way to slow down time is to do something unfamiliar. Whether it’s driving a new way home from work or trying a new restaurant, a dose of novelty makes your day memorable.
Tip #4. Keep technology on a tight rein.
Emails, texts, and social media can drown you if you’re not careful. The more you’re interrupted, the longer your jobs take.
So block out times of the day when you’re not available except for emergencies. It’s amazing how much more productive you can be when your phone isn’t buzzing every 5 seconds.
Tip #5. Stop thinking.
If your head keeps up a constant monologue, commenting on every aspect of your day, then no wonder you feel stressed. You never have a quiet moment to sit in peace, because your mind won’t let you.
Learn ways to quiet your mental chatter. Meditative practices can give you a sense of spaciousness, as if you have all the time in the world—even when you don’t.
The ultimate solution, however, would be something altogether.
In my imaginary future, I’ll be able to go online, order some more time, and see the UPS man pull up in front of my house.
Here you go, ma’am. A box of 5 hours, as requested.”
If that service ever becomes available, I’ll be the first to let you know. 🙂