Everyone gets 24 hours in a day, yet some seem to get more done in the same time. How? The place to start is to figure out how you currently spend your time.
Maybe “spend” isn’t the right way to describe what you do with all your time. There are actually three things we can do with time at any moment. We can spend it, waste it, or invest it.
Are you investing most of your time? Are you using it wisely for what you want to become and do? Let’s find out.
Here’s how: Keep a log of how you spend your time for one full week.
Greg, you’re killing me! We’re talking about how little time we have and you want me to spend some of it logging how I spend what little time I have?
Yes! Trust me a little. You will be shocked at what you are spending something more valuable than money on.
Write down how you spend every minute of the day — everything. Sleeping, getting ready for work, commute time, work time, (what you’re doing during work time), lunch, dinner, family time, television, email, web surfing, social media, golf, workouts, going out with friends, church, phone calls, texting, etc. I know it can be tiresome to do this, but we’re only doing it for one week to see where your time goes.
- TV – Americans watch an average of four hours of TV a day. Don’t channel surf. Plan the few shows you actually want to watch. Or, just don’t watch it at all.
- Internet – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. How many funny cat videos do you need to watch? Do you really need to see what your “friend” had for lunch? Schedule your Internet time and set a timer when you log on.
- Email – Everything doesn’t have to be responded to the second you receive it. This can distract you from your important focus and turn your day into a series of reactions. Make a decision how many times a day you’re going to check email and stick to it. I only check emails twice a day. Here’s what I have in the signature of my email: In order to be as efficient and effective as possible, I only check my email before 9:30am and after 4pm. If there is an emergency this policy doesn’t take care of, you may call me.
- Texting – This can be a great communication tool, or it can be abused. I know some people who literally spend three to four hours a day texting. Is that the best use of their time?
You might be surprised what your time sucks are. Use your time log and see where you can trim them back to give yourself more time.
1) Plan your time. There’s nothing wrong with chilling out. But, when you need to unwind, actively choose the best way for you to do that. Don’t default into channel surfing or playing on the computer because it’s the easiest thing to do. Choose the TV shows you really want to watch, and then turn it off. Choose the websites you truly enjoy reading, and then go do something else. Live purposefully.
2) Stay focused. When you’re working on something, work on that and only that. Turn off all potential distractions. Work for 50 minutes at a time on that one thing without interruption. Take a five-minute break and jump back in.
Question for comments: What did you find were your biggest time sucks? What techniques do you have to get the most out of the time you have?
(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)