Having a lot of extra work on my plate lately has had me mumbling 'I don't have enough time for anything' and shooting resentful looks at all other human beings in my vicinity.
And I know I am not alone. One of the questions I get asked most is ‘how can I find more time?’ We all seem to want more time to start our side hustle/learn grade 8 piano/write Oscar winning screenplay/nap/basically survive.
But here’s the problem. There are 168 hours in the week and you’ve probably already filled all of them - modern life seems to have a way of doing that to you. You can’t get more time. You can only stop doing other things to give yourself time back. And that means giving up other things. Sacrificing other past times to commit to something new.
But how to decide what to give up? Before you can do that you need to work out what you are spending your time doing in this two step process.
1. Monitor your time for a week and fill out how your spend your time hour by hour. And everything counts as an activity. Even if you are staring at the wall or looking at wrinkles in your neck (time can fly with this one) itcounts as an activity and you have to log it.
Be honest about what you are spending your time doing. (This exercise is what we psychologists do with people who are depressed so they can see how they are spending their time and then start to schedule in more activities. So it's a technique based on research, not something I've made up. I'll save my made up stuff for later).
2. At the end of the week, break up your activity into sections - work, family/friends, hobbies (you could put looking at neck wrinkles in here), commuting, watching tv, going to the gym etc and put them into a pie chart. Be honest with yourself. It’s a pie chart, not a lie chart (see what I did there?).
The beauty of this exercise is that it makes it very clear where you might be making better use of your time. It's a pain in the neck to do, I won't lie, but it's worth it. Maybe there are some difficult sacrifices to be made. But don’t let not having enough time be yourexcuse. If you really want more time, you’ll find it. It just might mean letting go of looking at your neck wrinkles.
If you like that, then also try this.