Make Time for Change: A Guide for Busy 20-Somethings
  • Architects of Change

11/10/09 | Corynne Steindler | 6 Comments

Corynne Steindler 200x200
Corynne Steindler, Journalist

We're all looking for that mysterious, elusive thing – more time. And it turns out, we just may have it – if we're savvy about how we schedule it.

Time is especially precious for women (like me) in their twenties. We're the first into the office in the morning, and the last to leave at night.  Not a career woman? You may be swamped with grad school classes, or you may be the friend constantly saddled with planning engagement parties and bridal showers. But where to find time, and how can we use it to start giving back to our communities? Time -- or the lack thereof -- is keeping many women from becoming Architects of Change. 
To find the answer, I decided to pull together a list of "personal time" activities I regularly take part in.  Surprisingly, I discovered that there are at least 10 hours in my week devoted to mindless activities, which could be used for bettering my community. I don't suggest completely giving up your downtime, but by eliminating the time (and money) spent on unnecessary activities, you can create a little wiggle room in your schedule to create time for change.

Here's how you might start incorporating time for change into your schedule:

Mindless Activity

Community-Minded Alternative

Go to dinner with your friends
(3 hours)

Recruit friends to serve dinner with
you at a local soup kitchen

Spend the afternoon shoe shopping
(2 hours)

Put on old sneakers and deliver meals
for an organization like Meals on Wheels

Watch yet another episode of "Real
Housewives" (1 hour)

Use your brain to tutor students at a
local high school

Perfect the art of your Wii Tennis serve
(1.5 hours)

Lead an arts & crafts session at your
local senior center

Talk trash about your ex boyfriend (4 hours)

Pick up trash in your neighborhood park

Hit the bars to flirt
(2 hours)

Hit the gym to train for a charity run. 
(Or spend an afternoon walking with
March of Dimes or doing the
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer)

Get your nails painted (1 hour)

Help repaint your community center

Go to a rock concert
(5 hours)

Register voters with Declare Yourself,
Head Count or Rock the Vote

Read every single gossip tabloid (2 hours)

Read books to children in your area hospital

How to get started:

  • Make a list of your weekly activities.  If anything on the list is negative or energy-draining, cut it and replace it with a service-focused activity.
  • Find a buddy.  It is so much more fun to paint, walk, or clean when you have a friend.
  • Multitask.  If you work out every Saturday, devote one Saturday a month to a fitness-focused service project.
  • When it's your turn to host girls’ night, ask everyone to bring books to donate to a struggling school district.
  • Find something you love.  Whether you are passionate about animals or you are a health freak, there are volunteer opportunities for everyone.'s matching program pairs organizations in need with volunteers who are passionate about the cause.
  • Expand your dating pool. Would you rather meet someone drinking at a bar, or someone who is helping clean up his/her community? Or, if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend, plan your next date night at a homeless shelter or food bank.

Time is not as elusive as we make it out to be – it’s just a matter of looking for it in the right places. 
Corynne Steindler is a senior reporter at  Previously, she worked as a reporter for the Page Six column of the New York Post, and was the editor of media and celebrity gossip blog  Corynne is a native of the Chicago suburbs, and she moved to New York in 2001 to study Journalism and Gender Studies, and spent time traveling to Spain and Russia during her college years. When not covering the party circuit, Corynne can be found glued to reality TV programs on E! and Bravo, or preferably, spinning at SoulCycle. She lives in Manhattan.

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  • I loved this post!!I always think of how much time we waste! I mean i love having fun, but we could be using our time more wisely...thank you!

    Posted by HiraK, 24 November 2009.

  • nice blog!

    Posted by project1project, 20 November 2009.

  • great blogs. I love it!

    Posted by project1project, 20 November 2009.

  • i like!!!

    Posted by proj1jps, 16 November 2009.

  • I love this!

    LOL @ 4 hours of talking trash about ex!!!

    Posted by NuhiKurda, 11 November 2009.

  • Nice guide.. Thanx!

    Posted by k8lvin, 10 November 2009.