How to Find More Time in Your Day
This hub won the hubnugget award.
This award winning hub is the basis for the program Take Back Your Time And Do What You Love.
You might be surprised where your time is hiding
I Wish I could...but I don't have time!
You have a laundry list of things you wish you could get accomplished. You really want to learn a new language, write more hubs, finish a novel...but you can't find the time. Maybe if there were 30 hours in a day, instead of 24, maybe if you didn't have a full-time job, maybe if....
What if you suddenly had an extra 45 minutes in your day? What could you get accomplished in an extra 5 and 1/4 hours per week? Would and extra 21 hours in a month help you achieve your goals? Certainly, 300 hours a year would help out!
You are your own boss
Even if you trade hours for dollars and have a "real job," you are the boss of your own time. You are the steward of time spent commuting, eating and sleeping..and you are the boss of your own thoughts!
Be accountable to your boss and determine where your time is spent each day. Discovering where your resources are spent will help you find those precious minutes that are hiding in your day.
List your priorities
Before you go looking under the couch and behind the drapes for the extra 45 minutes a day, it is important to know your true time priorities. Where do you really want to be spending your time?
Be specific. If family is important to you, how much time should you be spending with the kids? How much time with your significant other/spouse? Write down your goals in percentages. "I want to be spending at least 25% of my waking day with the kids" is better than writing" I want to spend as much time with my kids as possible. "
Google Public Document by Lawrence Wilcox
Keep a time log
Now that you have your priorities listed, it is time to find out where all of your time is going. It's a little like looking for those missing socks in your drier or like keeping a food diary. Be your own boss and mark down what you are doing every 15 minutes of the day.
Be honest. If you are at your computer, what did you do in the last 15 minutes? Were you researching, or just reading? Were you writing, or surfing? Were you catching up with friends on Facebook or playing Farmville? Were you sending out publicity emails, or reading junk emails? Remember, your boss wants to know about every moment of your day. Make sure you keep honest records.
Sorting the Data
Now that you have recorded all of your time in 15 minute increments, its time to borrow the kids crayons. Color code each of your activities based on each of the priorities you had listed. Use your favorite color for highest time priority. If your favorite color is red and you listed time with family as your highest priority, then color everything you did with your family in red. Select a different color for each category of time spent.
You may find time spent on activities not on your priority list. Consider these carefully. If you didn't list that "real job" in your priorities, it may have to be called, "generating income." I'd choose green for this category! Choose the ugliest color (your least favorite) to highlight the big time wasters.
Reading the Data
Now that you have your pretty patch work of colored times, you can actually see what you are doing during the day. What surprises you? Are you spending the most amount of time doing things in your favorite color?
If you are like many people, your favorite color is the tiniest amount being shown. Compare all of your categories with the percentages you wrote down as your goals. If you wanted to spend 25% of your day with your kids, how close are you? How much time is doing things not on your priority list at all? Many people see the highest amount of color in this area.
Making a New Plan
Now comes the fun part. Reclaim those hidden minutes.
its time to make time for those priorities! Where can you cut back on unproductive time and add in something you really want to do? How much of that boob-tube are you watching? Were you REALLY on the phone ALL day?
Find ways to multi-task. Productivity can go up when you do two things at once...don't do any more than that because doing 3 or more things at one time significantly drops productivity. Get creative about including your highest priorities. If you found yourself spending more time in the kitchen preparing a meal, involve the kids. Now you are spending time with the kids and getting the meal prepared at the same time. Was it really faster without them?
Now, what was on that "I wish" list? Learning a new language? You can do that in 20 minutes a day. Exercise? New studies say you can do that 10 minutes at a time.
List your "I wishes" and put amounts of time next to them. What does your boss want you to accomplish today? List the amount of time your boss wants you to spend exercising, learning that new language, reading, researching, writing...etc.
For other time saving ideas see this hub.