I see from Google Analytics that we have a few new folks visiting us this week. If you’re new here, I write a lot about how we spend our time. One of the first things I ask people who claim to be “starved for time” to do is keep a time log. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know that nutritionists tell you to keep track of what you’re eating. It keeps you accountable, and keeps you from eating mindlessly. It’s the same thing with time (you can use the handy spreadsheets obtainable by clicking on the “Manage Your Time” button on this page).
As people log their time, I tell them to ask four questions. Here’s what they are, and why they are important:
1. What do I like most about my schedule? It’s never all bad! This reminds us what we are doing right, and what we should continue to make space for, even if it isn’t easy.
2. What do I want to do more of? Time management isn’t just about freeing up time; it’s about filling your time with things that deserve to be there. Many of us have some activity which we know makes us happy, but we just aren’t doing it. What is that? Figuring out a way to build that into your life will massively increase well-being.
3. What do I want off my plate? We all spend time doing things we don’t enjoy. Let’s find a way to ignore, minimize or outsource them, so they take as few of our hours as possible.
4. Fill in the blank: “I spend way too much time on _____.” We all have distractions and time wasters that we’ve put in our lives for some reason. Some diversions are fun, but if they make you feel bad or guilty, or steal time from things you enjoy more, then it’s time to make new habits to keep these things under control.