It’s clear that everyone is given the same 24 hours in a day, but some people seem to get so much more done than others. Making good use of your time and knowing exactly what to do at any given hour is an important part of getting things accomplished. The key of today’s post is how to make time.
1. Record what you do
I’m not saying I’m successful every day or that following the steps will be easy, but I hope I can provide some of the right tools to at least get you a jump start in making more time for yourself. There are a lot of things we tend to do that takes up time without us even realizing it. So, the first step is to take a day to time your normal daily routine.
I just use the stopwatch on my phone to time how long my various daily tasks will take. Getting ready in the morning, the time it takes to make and eat breakfast, for how long I’ll read a chapter in a book, etc. Now, critically look at these times. Did you do them efficiently, or were you doing other things like watching TV or chatting while you did them? How much time could you shave off your daily tasks if they were done as efficiently as possible? Think about this as you write down the chunks of time you need to get through your day.
2. Schedule what you want to do
Start by drawing out a rough daily schedule. Even if you use an app for your calendar, still draw it on a piece of paper, as you will be crossing things out and moving things in this process. Look at your schedule and check if you have realistic breaks. Are you having short frequent breaks that would be best at keeping your focus and motivation throughout the day? Also make sure that these breaks aren’t too short and aren’t too long. Being too short will make you feel more tired and unmotivated faster, and having too long breaks will make you not want to get back onto your goals.
If you’re starting planning for the first time, don’t put your work blocks right after your break time blocks. Sometimes you need time to open up your new task, get to a different room, or go to the bathroom before you can work again, and being “behind schedule” is very discouraging. Remember that there are such things as bad schedules, and you made your schedule, and you can change it.
Another thing about break times is to separate them from play time. Break times for me will be getting a snack for 10 minutes between assignments. Play time will be more like going to the movies in the evening or a long brunch on the weekend. When you differentiate these two, it becomes much easier to get back on track during your work time blocks.
3. Analyze your efficiency
The last part of creating a time efficient schedule is taking a step back and asking yourself, “is this realistic?” If you struggle to study for more than an hour, making your study block 2 hours won’t help. On the opposite end, if you find games addictive, you should not make them your break time activity right before your important project. The good thing about schedule building is that it’s not only a way to improve yourself, but also a tool to get to know how you work best.
Now after you’ve cleaned up your schedule, you’re ready to go change your life! Not only will you be able to complete more things, but because you’ve completed them you’ve made time to relax!
If you’re interested in utilizing your time on your commute, read my article, Productive things to do on commute.