When you are searching for ways to make more time in your day Google can be one of the first places you turn. You’ll be swamped with so many ideas but there is one way I have found that seems to work for me and my clients.
Time = Life. Therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” – Alan Lake
Where the hell is all your time going?
Step one of trying to find yourself a bit more time is to find out where on earth you are spending it all.
In any one given day, you are gifted 96x 15-minute blocks of time. That’s a lot of 15-minute blocks that you may or may not be using productively. Now initially you may already be sceptical as you’re probably thinking “15 minutes isn’t very long at all.” That is indeed true however if you are feeling that way, stop reading this and go sit on your bed or in your car and do nothing for 15 minutes. I tried this once… It felt like solitary confinement.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a little online timer, go on I dare you to set it for 15 minutes and watch it count down.
Begin tracking your time
Yes, here it is, the thing you were hoping was not here but is… The moment where you realise there isn’t a magic secret and that you’re going to have to do something. Sorry about that.
That may seem harsh but trust me, 99% of people want a quick fix. As my mother used to say, there is no reward without hard work.
So this is your first task. I want you to track what you are doing every 15 minutes of every day for the next 7 days. Sounds painful? It will be, but it’s only for a week so you’ll get over it.
This is the only way to truly make you see where your time is going!
I would suggest that you find a way that is quick and easy for you to keep track, be that on your phone, on a notepad or a spreadsheet. Try setting yourself a reminder each hour (that you’re awake) to remind you to fill it in.
If you can’t manage to achieve this… Probably best to stop right here as you’re not ready to save yourself time.
I personally just prefer a good old fashed piece of paper split up into 15-minute segments. If that still feels like too much effort to eventually lead you to make more time in your day, then I’ve saved you those few minutes with this handy print out below.
Take 2 of your new 15 minute blocks to review
Clients that I have put through this process (after they’ve stopped hating me) have been shocked. This is usually because they had a sudden realisation about where their time has been going.
The reason for that? Because they’ve never really sat down and looked at their days in such a critical and analytical way. We’re all far too used to dashing from one thing to the next without much thought for time.
When you stop and look at where all your time has gone you’ll suddenly realise all the wasted time. Usually, people find that this time is wasted doing random little jobs that ‘pop’ into your head whilst you’re in the middle of something else. We’ve all been there whilst writing a long blog post when suddenly… Sorry just had to quickly buy something on Amazon. See what I mean.
Find an hour
After looking at your time tracker you’ve probably identified a few blocks of time where you probably spent too much time on something or shouldn’t have wasted your time on it at all.
Find 4 blocks of 15 minutes that you could remove and there is a single hour a day saved that you could use better. You may try lying to yourself with phrases such as, “but everything I need was essential.”
Trust me when I say, you’re wrong, and if you consciously commit to removing some of the dead space in your day you’ll feel far better than trying to fib to yourself.
When you are trying to make more time in your day, become more productive or just generally get more things done you have to have a good place to start. Gathering this type of information is critical to being successful at mastering your time.