Track Your Time Goes and Learn How to Get Control of It
Deep down you know that there are indeed 168 hours in a week, but you may feel puzzled about where they all go, and why you seem to be “losing” time. Use this list to help you get started figuring out where your time goes and get better about controlling how you use your time. See which activities you could perform more efficiently and which activities you may want to cut back on.
Necessities You Probably Want to Keep
- Budget for sleep. Eight hours is still a good rule of thumb for most adults. Experiment to see if you function just as well on seven or six hours, but don’t make sleep deprivation a habit.
- Eat every day. Invent your own “fast food”. Cook chili, soup or stew in batches and freeze single servings. Turn salads into a balanced meal by adding beans or slices of chicken breast.
- Hold onto your day job. Working and commuting take up a big chunk of most people’s lives. Depending on your situation, moving closer to work or telecommuting could free up some of that time for other pursuits.
- Clean your house. Smart housekeeping goes a long way. Less clutter and fewer “things” means less dust. Get in the habit of cleaning a little each day. Wipe the refrigerator down while your coffee brews.
- Groom yourself. Except for showering and brushing your teeth, most routines are discretionary. Use fewer beauty products (but use them consistently so your routine takes less time) and get an easy care hairdo that works with your hair’s natural curl and texture.
- Exercise regularly. An active lifestyle may extend your life, and definitely increases the quality of your life, so why skimp here? Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. You could save some time by integrating exercise into your other daily routines, like taking the stairs at work and parking further away from your office.
- Learn new things. Lifelong learning is worth the investment of your time and money. Take a business class or visit a natural history museum.
- Pursue a favorite hobby. Time devoted to enhancing your creativity and accomplishments pays off. Schedule time for yourself just as you schedule your other important appointments. Practice playing the piano or learn to draw.
- Connect with loved ones. Relationships with family and friends are central to our well-being. Build a strong support network and take time to share experiences together.
- Engage in spiritual practices. If you belong to a specific faith tradition, learn more about the teachings you aspire to live by. Whatever your beliefs, you can focus on positive and enduring values that give your life purpose.
Activities You Could Probably Cut Back On
Check your messages less often. Set a limit on how often you check emails and voice mails. Twice a day may be all you need.
Turn off the TV. Leave the TV off except for when you intend to watch a specific program. It will cut down on channel surfing and mindless watching of unimportant programs.
Get off the Internet. It’s easy to get carried away with browsing, social media or the latest online games. Calculate how much time you ideally want to spend online and gradually cut back until you meet your goals – using an online timer to keep you focused and help you stick with your goal.
Abandon nonproductive thinking. Catch yourself when you start to feel anxious or angry. Consider whether the event is worth your attention and if there is anything you can really do about it. Pretty soon you may be enjoying an audio book rather than fuming about traffic jams.
Streamline your errands. Do you find yourself making repeat trips to the supermarket because you forgot one item? Plan your weekly errands in advance so you cover everything you need with less driving time. Check which businesses have free or low cost delivery services that will spare you from any driving at all.
Prioritize your shopping. Each new possession is something else you are going to need to take care of, clean, make space for, etc, etc, etc. Examine whether it’s more important for you to spend time with friends and family, advance a skill you have, or own all the latest kitchen gadgets.
Managing your time effectively will help you lead a happier and more meaningful life. Use these tips to free up your schedule for the endeavors closest to your heart, and to give you time to develop new ones that are worth your precious time.