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How to Find More Time in Your Day

Updated on May 16, 2017

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

One example of an easy time log.
One example of an easy time log. | Source

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.


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    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 5 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for commenting Rajan, I wish you fruitful time in 2013!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      This is an interesting way to look at whether we are spending time fruitfully or not. I think we ought to certainly make a data of this sort to see how we can extract more quality time from the time we have at hand.

      voted up and interesting.

    • geetbhim profile image

      sangeeta verma 6 years ago from Ludhiana India

      Nice hub and useful tips.Thanks for sharing.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for stopping by mljdgulley354! I think Hubpages is a great use of time:)

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 6 years ago

      Iremember the days I needed another 24 hrs a day. Now my time is my own hense hubpages

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 6 years ago from USA

      These are great tips frugal. I linked your hub to mine as well.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks Brian and Deborah. Knowing what your priorities is a really important step in finding the time to do the things you want to do. Choosing where you spend your time pays the best.

    • Brian Anderson profile image

      Brian Anderson 6 years ago from United States

      Great hub, frugal.. I've been trying to be more productive and proactive with my "spare" time.. This is really useful.. You're a really good writer..

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 6 years ago from Iowa

      Great hub. I jotted down my list of priorities as I was reading. Voted up and bookmarked for future reference!

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      I think you hit on the most important part randomcreative. You need to spend time on what you want...many people end up spending far too much time on the unimportant things.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      GREAT tips! This is a topic that is really important to me. Finding time to do what you want during the day makes all the difference.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks Karen. I just signed up for your newsletter:)

    • Karen Banes profile image

      Karen Banes 6 years ago from Canada

      Good solid tips, and congrats on your Hub nugget success.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks Erika and fucsia..I'm glad you found the time to read my hub!

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 6 years ago

      Great Hub! Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination!

      My time is never enough.. Therefore I think that I have something to learn from your blog!!

    • Erika Marie profile image

      Erika Marie 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great hub! I am always questioning where the time goes, so I think I am going to use these steps to figure out where I am wasting my time and how can make better use of my time. Voted up and useful!

      Congratulations on your nomination!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

      Time - always a struggle. But I certainly like your approach. Here's hoping I can go find those 15 minutes!

      Congrats on your nomination.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for posting the link ripplemaker. It was a true honor to get the nomination, I am very excited. Your comment reminds me of a friend who says she uses color coding in her day planner. At the beginning of each week she can see if she is over spending her time in one category with just a glance. Thanks for stopping by!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      While reading your hub, it made me go over my schedule mentally :) It's so true, if we become aware of how much time we spend on something, we get to see the actual picture and adjust accordingly!

      Congrats on your Hubnuggets nomination. This is the link for anyone who wants to view the Hubnuggets and vote!

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks Flora, I was super happy about the news. I'm glad you are keeping your priorities straight and giving your loved one the bulk of your time:)

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. I live alone with my cat. My cat is most important.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for your comment Tom, if you are the type who is lacking sleep, I'm glad I could help!

    • profile image

      Tom 6 years ago

      Just think three hundred extra hours to sleep a year. THANKS !!

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      SusieQ you are one of the lucky few! I hope you remember not to piddle it away!

      JA I'm so glad you are going to give it a go! Send me a link to the blog telling us what you found!

      Credence, I know you are an organized one..color coding not needed, lol:)

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      FF: With the proper time management as you point out, most of us have the time to do what it is we need to. A little organization goes a long way. Thanks for sharing this Cred2

    • J.A. Brown profile image

      J.A. Brown 6 years ago from Costa Rica (for the moment)

      Great hub!!! Very much needed in my life currently...I am going to try out the color-coding idea tomorrow...I think I'll be distressed at the results, but perhaps that's what's needed, eh?

      Thanks again!

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 6 years ago

      My kids are grown and I don't work out of the house. My time is finally mine!

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks SusieQ, I hope you can find a few extra minutes in your day:)

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 6 years ago

      I love your color coding idea! This was very informative...great ideas! Thank you.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Wow! Two languages at one time? That is ambitious! Have you looked into I'm giving it a try..but I'm getting a bit frustrated. I'll check out your hub and blog:)

    • profile image

      YunisAtt 6 years ago from London

      thank you for asking, as a matter of fact I am trying to find time to learn Chinese and Arabic and to write a novel.

      I've just written a new hub which i think you may find interesting called : 'Ten ways to improve your health'. The rest of the hub is on my new blog about health which i hope you will enjoy browsing; although it may look scanty at present it will be updated daily.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for stopping by YunisAtt, I'm glad you enjoyed there something you are trying to squeeze into your day? I hope you can "find the time.":)

    • profile image

      YunisAtt 6 years ago from London

      this is really good... very useful to read