It is indeed possible to stretch time—to make the time you have go farther, and use it more for what you really want to do. Stretching time is not difficult if you have the prerequisites: self-awareness, a sense of purpose, thoughtful action, and a playful approach.
More from YourTango: Dear Dr. Romance: I got very drunk and kissed another man
As with all successful life skills, time stretching works better if you know yourself well. When you are aware of your priorities—for example, where do work, relationship, family and fun fall on “What’s most important” list? Are you spending the most time on what is most important?
You will be more effective and less stressed if you learn to take charge of your personal and family time. Families need to sit down together and decide what activities are really worth doing, and what is just a “rat race.” Learning to avoid "time sinks"(such as unnecessary email, TV or people who talk too much on the phone) is crucial, because certain people and activities can absorb a lot of time and not be worth it. Becoming “time aware” is the best way to achieve balance.
More from YourTango: Make New Friends, Keep Good Friends
If you’re a parent, you need time off, too. This can be achieved through allowing children over seven to spend occasional nights at friends' homes, and then reciprocating. This allows both sets of parents a chance to be alone, to go out, to have a break. “Family networks” in which several families (related or not) share time, driving, trade of babysitting, etc. can really expand the amount of time off that each family enjoys.
The key is achieving balance between work/play, self/others, giving/receiving and time off/financial security. Achieving balance between work and the rest of your life is the key to avoiding burnout. You'll be much better at doing this if you are self_aware, think through your options, schedule in personal as well as work time, and learn to be flexible.
Sense of Purpose:
As you become more aware of your priorities, you may also discover a sense of purpose. Or, perhaps you already know what your sense of purpose is. However you arrive at it (and I’ve given instructions in both The Real 13th Step and It Ends With You, if you want more info) knowing what you want to do with your life saves amazing amounts of time. Once you know your purpose, many decisions are made in advance – it becomes a process of deciding which moves will bring you closer to your purpose, which won’t, and that saves the time wasted in experimenting, waffling and being undecided.