There is one thing all human beings have in common.
No matter your skin color, gender, nationality, interests, strengths, weaknesses, education, taste buds, disabilities (you get the point), there is one thing we all share.
All of us have the exact same amount of time each day.
24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds.
Now you may argue we all have different demands on our time - how much we need to work, sleep, travel, etc. Indeed that is true. But regardless of what is required of us to accomplish every day to meet our basic necessities, we still all have a choice in how efficient we are in what we have to do and also how we choose to use our brain as we are doing it. Additionally, all of us have a choice in how to spend the pockets of time when we aren’t required to do anything.
It’s often helpful to think about the time in your day as money in your bank. If credit didn’t exist (because with time it doesn’t - you can’t “borrow” an hour from tomorrow to get 25 hours today), you only have $24 a day. How you choose to spend the quarters, nickels, and dimes of each dollar makes a huge difference in your $24 allotment.
The Latte Principle works well to introduce this point. David Bach (New York Times Best Selling Financial Author) coined this term to demonstrate how cutting out little expenses (like your $5 daily coffee) can add up to big savings and investments. In a similar vein, reevaluating the small ways you spend your time each day all add up. Eliminating the unnecessary time sucking tasks can earn you the time savings and investments to do the things that matter the very most to you that you don’t feel you ever have enough time to do.
What would you do with an extra 2 hours a day? Learn to play the piano? Take an art class?
Coach your son’s soccer team? Be there after school to open your arms for your daughter’s first heartbreak? Surprise your spouse with a night out? Go on a nature walk? Read that dusty book on the nightstand? Go paddle boarding?
Often times the things we value the very most in spending our time get neglected because we have no time left in our time bank after we do everything else we feel we “need’ to do.
So how do you earn yourself an extra 2 hours (120 minutes or 7,200 seconds) a day?
1. Access your true time expenditure.
Take 1 day and write down everything you do that day. I mean everything. True it will take a lot of TIME to do that, but it’s a worthy time investment to fully see and evaluate where you’re wasting precious time each day. Carry a notebook around and write down how you spend each minute from the moment you wake up til you go to bed. And track what you do when you lay down in bed as well. Do you fall right asleep? Do you browse Facebook for 20 minutes before shutting your eyes? Track how much time you spend sleeping as well to make sure it’s what your body needs.
It might be helpful to track one regular “week day” and one regular “weekend day” as how we spend our time can greatly vary from work days to days off.
2. Evaluate your priorities.
After you have your time in a day tracked, look at the list. Take a highlighter and highlight the most essential items on the list. The things you HAVE to do - that are completely necessary to survival. Then take a pen and circle the things that are most essential to you. The things that aren’t maybe necessary to survival, but are necessary to you personally to feel like you are living the life you want. Maybe it’s the time spent with family or strengthening your relationships.
Maybe it’s the time spent pursuing your hobbies or working towards your dreams. Maybe it’s your education. Whatever it is, circle those things that you don’t want to ever have to cut out of your day.
If there are things missing from your day that you want to be part of your essential list, write those in on pen at the end of the list. The goal is to find the time to accomplish all your essentials to live the life you want to be living.
3. Find your time leaks.
Now look at what’s left on the list. These didn’t make the cut for being “necessary” or “essential”. These are all potential time leaks that can be eliminated to bring more value to your time bank.
Go through these one by one with a different colored pen and put an “E,” “D”, “K”, or “O” next to it.
E = Eliminate. This task is not something you want to be spending your time with.
D = Decrease. You’d like to continue doing this task, but decrease the time you spend doing it every day. Write the amount of time you’d like to actually spend doing it.
O = Outsource. This is a task that you can outsource to someone else (look at your necessary, highlighted items too and mark those - there might be items there that can be outsourced as well).
K = Keep. You want to keep doing this task. It brings value to your life in some way. Even if it’s just to relax, detox from stress, or laugh! - those are all important uses of time.
4. Calculate your Time Savings.
Now look at your list again. Add up your time savings from what you eliminated, decreased, and outsourced. Did you just gain 2 hours? GR