I think we can all agree that time is such a precious commodity. It seems like no matter what we do, there is never enough to go around. Can you relate? As my life has gotten busier, I have been focused more and more on becoming more efficient. I have been focusing on making sure that I make every moment count. In the process, I found an extra hour in my day…and I’m so excited to share it with you.
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I spoke of some common time wasters HERE, but how can you make more time in your day if these common culprits are not monopolizing that much of your time? I found an entire hour on various days. You can, too, and I will show you how.
Here’s the secret to how I found an extra hour in my day, and how YOU can, too!
Ready for the secret? Here it is. Keep a log of your time.
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It may seem a bit cumbersome, but I kept a log of how I spent my minutes. Not just some of my minutes, but all of the minutes in my day.
The goal was not only to see where I had wasted time but to also see where I could make something more efficient. Perhaps you, too, can multi-task or eliminate things that you didn’t realize were unnecessarily repetitive.
This may also sound strange, but did you know that if you are over scheduling yourself this may actually be to blame if you find yourself able to get next to nothing done? If you have to move a mountain, the overwhelming thought of that huge undertaking may be sabotaging your intentions.
If you have to move a mountain, the overwhelming thought of that huge undertaking may be sabotaging your intentions.
What does this log look like?
Again, it may sound like a ton of work, but if you want to get serious about giving yourself more time to enjoy life, this is a necessary step.
Keep a notebook with you at all times. In that notebook you are going to:
- write down what you do
- write down how long it took you to do it
This is not difficult, really. The hardest part will be to carry your notebook or a combination of things with you to log everything you do. For me, this includes my phone. I often take notes in my phone if I am out and not able to carry my
brain planner with me.
Did you do the dishes? Write that down and how long it took you. Did you wipe up the bathroom counters? Write it down and how long it took you. Did you change a diaper (or 10 diapers)? Write it down and how long it took you.
You will also want to write down who you are doing things with or for. For example, if you are helping your fourth grader with homework for an hour four nights a week, write that down. When you go back over your log you will see how much time you’re really spending. Sometimes it seems like we’re spending much less time than you actually are.
After doing this for a few days, you will have an accurate picture of how you’re spending your time.
How will knowing things like helping your fourth grader help you?
- You can accurately see that things like helping your fourth grader are the perfect time to multitask. Rather than waiting for your fourth grader to come to you to ask for help, you can schedule your fourth grader into your day. That way you can help him or her at the same time as you are making dinner, preparing lunches, or folding laundry for instance.
- Also, if you know it is going to happen, you can schedule that helping hour at a time that works best for you.
- Logging everything you do will also help give you realistic time frames for making your daily list. You may think you only spend 10 minutes a day changing diapers. In reality, you could be spending 25 minutes (at least if you have two kids in diapers as I do). In this way, logging what is reality allows you to accurately plan your day. There is nothing that I hate more than packing my day full, only to find that I am not even accomplishing half of my list by the end of the day.
Here’s a bonus…
If you are anything like me, maybe you also hate going to bed feeling like a failure because you didn’t get anything done.
However, through keeping a log of what I did and for how long, I was able to see that the things I had planned always took much more time than I ever allotted for. There was no way that accomplishing my list was even humanly possible.
After about a week, use your log to plan your week from the reality you have discovered. If you were guilty of overscheduling as I was, you will feel a lot more accomplished at the end of the day when your tasks aren’t doomed for failure from the beginning because you scheduled twice as much as you could ever accomplish.
Maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum and will realize that you have more empty space in your day than you realized. Your log will help you more carefully discern how to spend your time because you will be able to use it to align how you are actually spending your time with how you want to be spending your time. Are your days spent working toward accomplishing your goals? If not, those are the things you can easily say no to.
Not sure on how to come up with written goals because you have a bunch of thoughts, but no idea how to really bring them all together? No problem. I can help with that, too. Read all about setting goals that can be successful HERE.
The first step to finding more time in your day is to find where you are currently spending your time. With that task completed, you can schedule jobs that can be completed simultaneously. You can also schedule things at the best time. And, you can eliminate things that need not be done as often or at all in some cases.
In completing this task, I found an extra hour here and there by working more efficiently. How much time will you find? Better find out!