One of the biggest excuses that I hear from people when it comes to making time to do the things they love, develop themselves, or spend more time with their family is that they say they just don’t have time to do it all. You’ve probably heard that it’s not a time issue but a priority issue. There is certainly some truth to this. However, I don’t think it’s that simple.
I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want to do the things they love more while also doing the things they hate less. You might hate your job, however, you likely spend 8 to 10 hours a day there. Sure, your job is a priority because you need the income and you can’t just neglect your job, can you? No, you can’t unless you want to find another job.
The key to finding more time for the things you love to do isn’t necessarily in rearranging your priorities and neglecting the things you don’t like. Instead, the key is to look at what’s important and what’s not in any given situation and then deciding where to focus your time and energy. When you place more emphasis on what is important in life rather than on what is a priority, you will eventually find the time to get more involved in the things that matter the most.
With that said, here are some simple tips that can help anyone find more time to place their focus on the most important things in their lives.
The one thing you can never get back is wasted time.
Stop Watching So Much TV
Probably one of the first things you can do to have more time in your day is to stop watching so much TV. It’s very common for people to sit down and watch several hours of TV after they get home from work each day. This is not productive time. This single activity alone can waste more time than anything else. Sure, TV is fun but it’s not really that important and doesn’t do much for your life in the long run. No one is going to tell their grandchildren about all the great TV watching they did as a young adult. Stop doing things that don’t add value to your life and you’ll find that you’ll have more time to do the things that do matter and do have value.
Stop Scrolling Through Social Media
Have you ever found yourself scrolling endlessly through FaceBook posts or your Twitter feed? It’s easy to get carried away with social media, this is how the system is designed. The developers of many social media platforms understand the psychology of their technology. It’s addicting and designed to keep you hooked. However, the truth of the matter is that most social media is a waste of time and adds little value to your life. Your life as well as your relationships, finances, and health, are not likely to improve when social media is involved. In fact, many studies have shown that social media use can have the opposite effect. If you can give up the social media, I bet you will be able to free up a lot of time in your day (and feel a lot better about yourself).
Combine Your Activities
Another technique that you can use to save time is to a combine activities. For example, if you like to read but you also need to exercise try to reading while walking on a treadmill. You may need to walk more slowly than normal but this is something that I’ve done to get both things done at the same time. Another popular activity that is often combined together is listening to audiobooks while driving. This is a great way to attain more knowledge while also making it to your destination. Another thing you can do while driving is to setup a hands-free recording device and record audio or even videos while you’re driving. Just set the device to record, focus on driving, and talk just like you would if there was someone else in the car with you. More examples of combined activities include exercising while on a conference call or carpooling with coworkers so you can get some work done in the car while someone else drives.
A man must be master of his hours and days, not their servant.William Frederick Book
Start Planning Ahead
Planning ahead is something that can save you so much time. Even simple things like laying out your clothes the night before the workday or making the next day’s lunch with the dinner leftovers from dinner before you put everything away can save quite a bit of time. One thing that I do is to try and take advantage of whatever situation I am in at any given moment to plan ahead. For example, if I have to drive far for a work meeting, I’ll look around the area and see if there’s anything else I can get done before I come home. This will save me from having to take a second trip out there for something unrelated at a future date.
When spending time planning you should follow the 80/20 rule. You should spend 20% of your time planning and the remaining time executing an activity. This is typically the optimal ratio to maximize your productivity and/or to have more time to do the things that you love to do. The purpose of planning is to minimize mistakes and to find opportunities to be more efficient. Utilize whatever tools you can get your hands on such as calendars, lists, even phone apps to help you plan better.
Being organized is going to save you a lot of time in the long run. If there is a place for everything and everything is in its place then you should have no trouble finding the stuff that you need when you need it. You won’t have to spend time searching for something the next time you need it because you’ll know exactly where it is. For instance, wouldn’t it be a waste of time to have to search for your shoes every morning when you’re running out the door for work? If your shoe collection was organized and put away it would be easy to choose a pair of shoes in the morning. The same thought process works through things like tools, office supplies, and anything else for that matter.
Ordinary people think merely of spending time. Great people think of using it.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Much like planning ahead, preparing for the unexpected will save you a lot of time in the long run. Anticipate what needs you may have in the future and start preparing for them now so that when the time comes you’ll be ready. A good example is to always have diapers on hand if you got a newborn baby in the house. No one wants to waste time going to the store at midnight just to get something you should have had anyways. Another example is to always have extra batteries lying around just in case you need them (like when the smoke alarm starts beeping at 1AM).
By keeping a fresh supply of frequently used, disposable goods on hand, it will save you the time from having to make the unexpected trip to the store. Other examples would be obvious such as having a spare tire on your car and having flashlights in your home in the event of a power outage. In any case, preparing for the unexpected will save you time and money in the long run.