A survey by Real Simple Magazine and the Families and Work Institute revealed that almost half of American women say they don't have enough free time. The survey defined "free time" as "time that you spend on yourself, where you can choose to do things that you enjoy." I was surprised that the percentage was only 49%, but I'm glad to know there are women out there who don't fit into the mold of an overworked, overstressed female.

If you're one of the women who is happy with the amount of free time you have in your day, congratulations – I'd love to hear how you do it. And since you have plenty of free time, you’ve got loads of time to share your tips! If you're someone without enough free time in your day, it might be helpful to explore why that is.

The Real Simple article on the subject surprisingly reported that it isn't typically because of work obligations, but rather because of domestic duties – housework, errands, and childcare.Housework, errands, and childcare all seem like obligations that would be hard to diminish, but for the sake of our mental health, it might be necessary to find a way – constantly being busy with things we “have” to do increases our stress level which can reduce our overall physical and mental health.

So how do we scale back? Two solutions that most commonly work for my clients are lowering expectations and delegating more. These two go hand-in-hand – if you're less concerned about whether the towels are precisely folded into perfect piles, you might be more willing to delegate that task to your able-bodied children.

Even without delegating, lowering your standards can help you find more time. For example, if you’re willing to make frozen vegetable a few nights a week rather than washing, cleaning, and cutting fresh vegetables for every meal, you might have more time to spend doing something fun (although I know there’s someone out there who enjoys snapping the stems from green beans). Sure it's great to have a clean house, but maybe your goal can be to clean the bathroom each week, but dust every other week. I've sometimes managed to ignore dust for entire month! I find it a lot more fulfilling to be out on my bike enjoying nature than at home admiring my dust-free table tops.

My goal here isn't to tell you precisely how to live your life, but to encourage you to explore ways to make your life more fun and meaningful. I think it's okay, in fact it's essential, to put ourselves first sometimes –after all, life is meant to be enjoyed. So what would you do with more free time in your life, and how can you make it happen?

Author's Bio: 

Internationally known professional organizer, author, and speaker Sue Becker is the founder and owner of From Piles to Smiles®. She enjoys helping people from around the world live better lives by creating customized systems to overcome their overwhelming paperwork, clutter, and schedules. She specializes in helping people who are chronically disorganized - those for whom disorganization has been a lifelong struggle that negatively impacts every aspect of their life, especially people with AD/HD. Her hands-on help, as well as her presentations, have helped thousands of individuals create substantial change in their lives.

Sue is Illinois’ first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization. She co-authored the book Conversations on Success, and has appeared as an organizational expert on NBC News and the national TV show, Starting Over. A CPA, Sue has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.