What do you wish you had more time for?
You may wish you had time to go to the gym, or write that book, or for that home project you meant to start six months ago. Maybe you wish you could spend more quality time with the kids, or your spouse.
What if you could do that, without adding more hours to your day? Here’s how.
Step 1: Make a list of where you want to spend your time
List the top few areas you wish to spend your time. Keep this list as short as possible – I would recommend just having one to three items on this list. This means you can get the most benefit from the changes you make.
Here is my priority list, for example:
- Nature activities (Hiking, Kayaking, etc.)
- Daily walks
Step 2: Figure out how many hours you need
Go through your list and figure out how many hours per week (or day) you would need for each.
If you don’t have a number in mind already, think about what you want to achieve, and research your ideal number. For instance, I want to walk for the exercise, and the time spent outdoors. After researching the recommended times for these, I decided that 30 minutes a day is ideal for me.
Here is my list with the times added:
- Writing – 30 minutes per day
- Nature activities – 2 hours per week
- Walking – 30 minutes per day
The nature activities would be once a week, for a 2 hour session. That means for the nature day, I won’t need to also go out for a 30 minute walk.
So my weekly total is: 8.5 hours
Step 3: Figure out where your time is currently spent
If you’re anything like me, you’ll read that and say one of the following:
“I am just way too busy with work, and I just don’t have any spare time at all.”
“I have kids, and that’s like having four full-time jobs!”
“I don’t have time for anything.”
Our deep-set beliefs are difficult to change. When you want something in life, you need to sacrifice something – be it your time, your money, or in this case, your beliefs. Try to go through this step slowly, and without judgement.
This list should be much longer than your original list. Think of any way that you spend your time currently, excluding your work. It may be helpful to do this slowly over a week, taking note of the things you do. Here’s a few ideas for you.
- Watching TV
- Facebook and other social media
- Other phone browsing
- Drinks with friends
- Reading (books, magazines, etc.)
- Playing games
- Chatting or gossiping
- Chilling / killing time (i.e. doing not much of anything)
Your list could have none, some, or all of these. Think about what takes up your time. Then, figure out how much time you spend every day, or week, doing these things.
Here’s an example of how some of my nights were spent:
- Watching TV – 2 hours
- Playing games – 1 hour
- Chilling / killing time – 1 hour
- Reading – 1 hour
If the things on your list are exactly what you want to do, that’s great! I’m surprised you found my post. Personally, the above wasn’t my idea of how I wanted to spend my life.
Step 4: Steal time for the things you want to do
This is the hardest step, but the work you’ve done previously will help you here.
Work through the list of how you spend your time, and mark the activities you want to do less of. If you have trouble deciding on any, just place the item next to an item on your ‘want to do’ list.
Do you want to:
Watch Netflix -or- Go to the gym?
Browse Instagram -or- Write a book?
Go out for drinks -or- Read your daughter a bedtime story?
Remember that your life is lived in your days, not your years. What you do today, and for all of your tomorrows, will define you. You can’t make it all up ‘someday’; there will be 24 hours in that day as well.
What do I need to get 8.5 hours out of my week?
I just need to watch TV for one hour less per day, and I have 7 hours free already! That extra hour of TV did not give a great return in happiness, especially compared to those things I want to do.
After that, I just have 90 minutes to free up. Just fifteen minutes less of killing time (like mindlessly browsing) every day, and I have freed up enough time to do the things I never ‘had time’ for.
Hopefully this has helped you to prioritise how your time is spent. What would you be doing right after reading this? Clicking to the next thing to read?
How about starting with Step 1?