Everyone seems to complain about being busy nowadays. That’s no surprise considering the wealth of information, activities and opportunities that we have at our fingertips when compared to just a few decades ago, but it also means that one of our most precious resources – time – is becoming even harder to control.
That said, there are people who are achieving amazing things every day in the same 24 hours that we all have available. So what do they know that most people don’t?
What’s Really Important to You?
We’re surrounded by distractions that will steal our time if we’re not careful. Everyone is busy for 24 hours a daybut it’s important to remember that we’re all busy doing different things.
The question is whether you are busy doing the things that are really important to you, or if you find your days filled with endless time vampires. For more information check out How to Improve Your Life by Discovering Your Why, which goes into detail about focusing on what’s really important to you.
How to Organize Your Life to Maximize Your Productivity
Here’s a simple exercise to look at where your time is going on an average day and to help prioritize the important stuff:
- Take out a piece of paper and divide it into 3 sections
- In the first section write “Sleep – 8 hours” or whatever that number is for you
- In the second write “Work – 8 hours”
- Now in the final box write down the following things and the time they take
- Things that you have to do (showering, commuting, eating, etc)
- Things that you want to do (activities, time with family, etc)
- Other things that you currently do (TV, Facebook, etc)
- Anything else that takes your time each day and isn’t captured already
Now you simply ask yourself if you’re happy with where your time is going in that additional 8 hours. If you wish you had more time to spend on your hobby or with your family but find you’re spending a couple of hours in front of the TV each night then you might want to change that.
This exercise is designed to show us the places where we’re leaking time into activities we don’t really care about. At the end of the day it’s up to you how you structure your life. Maybe you’d rather spend more time watching TV and less time with your family; it’s completely up to you.
Eliminating Huge Time Sucks from Your Life
There are also parts of our life that you might have to do right now but aren’t always the best use of your time. For example you might spend an hour or two commuting to and from work. That’s time that you’re losing every single day of your life and you’ll never get it back.
You might look at how you can get a job closer to home or tele-commute a few days a week. Since my commute is 7 steps from the bedroom to the office (yes I just counted), it saves me a ton of time every day that I’d otherwise lose. Again it’s your life and completely up to you which choices you make – just be aware that there are always choices available.
Other things might include dropping off and picking up children when you could take turns with other parents. Perhaps you jump on Facebook or turn on the TV and it’s time for bed before you know it. Limiting yourself in these areas can reveal a whole bunch of wasted productive time.
Using “Dead Time” Productively
If you still need to commute or do other tasks, then you’ll want to work out the most productive way you can do it. For example, you might start listening to personal development or business audios while commuting to up-skill in some area. By turning your car into a driving university you can easily listen to 5-10 hours of uplifting audio every week… that’s 250 to 500 hours a year!
When cooking or cleaning, you might get the kids involved or simply have them sit at the kitchen counter so you can chat. That way you have quality time with the kids every night as you cook and eat dinner at the same time. You’re basically asking yourself how to maximize the time spent on those “must do” activities.
It’s Your Time… So Organize Your Life to Get What YOU Want
We all have a limited amount of time each day and it’s up to us to make the most of it. By knowing what’s important to you and making the most of your dead time you change your life dramatically. Remember it’s about designing your ideal life – not somebody else’s – so focus on what works for you.