Time, like money, is exactly what you make of it.
If I remain oblivious to how long things actually take and let my days pound me like waves while I paddle to stay above water, it will never feel like I have any power over my time.
When I start to pay more attention to my time, I realize how much more control I have.
Click play on this 1-minute video of a sand timer. While it plays, do absolutely nothing. Don’t keep reading. Don’t check your facebook. Don’t doodle. Just breathe. You are not allowed to do ANYthing.
Longest. Minute. Ever. Am I right?
When you sit and breathe and really take in a minute, it feels longer. Maybe because you are bored, sure. Nevertheless, it feels longer than a minute spent doing something you really enjoy.
This is the first step to making time for what matters– finding out how long things actually take.
In the last post on resolutions, we talked about spending time every day doing activities which will support our goals instead of doing what’s right in front of us; and also about letting mundane activities hijack our schedule.
What activities in your daily life seem to drag on forever? What things on your to-do list make you cringe just thinking about them?
Most people I know would put unloading the dishwasher on this list. I used to find it odorous myself. Then one day I purposefully kept track of how long it took to actually unload my dishwasher. Any guesses about how long it takes?
Under 3 minutes.
Under 3 minutes? Seriously?
Now that I have this information, unloading it is much more tolerable! In exchange for 3 minutes of my day, all of the dishes are put away and the avalanche of dirty dishes now has somewhere to go. That is a good deal!
I no longer spend 10 minutes checking the Instagram to avoid a 3 minute chore.
If you have children, you have seen this phenomenon many times. They will protest getting dressed or brushing their teeth for 5 minutes when the full process only takes 2. It’s maddening to witness and yet I betcha 3 donuts you do it yourself multiple times a day.
Use a stopwatch to time the routine chores you don’t like. Knowledge of how long activities actually take is a big step on the road to better time management.
Another huge step is tracking time, or creating a time budget.
I don’t have time to add anything else to my day, priority or not!
Oh, but you do. You do.
When you are ready to be an adult about your finances, you have to create a budget.
When you want to lose some weight you track everything you eat.
The same is true for time. Until you find out where you are spending your time, you cannot save any.
Tracking time scares most people (my hand is raised) because our social media/online game habits are going to be exposed! I’m going to be horrified and embarrassed. Can’t we just eat donuts and watch Downton Abbey?
Like I said in my last post, Yes! we can eat donuts and watch TV or organize things–if those things matter, WE CAN DO THEM!
Only now, we will be more mindful about it and hopefully feel less guilty.
But first, time to face the music. Most of us spend many, many hours a day on our screens. This article in GeekWire says 11 hours a day!
Here’s a cool article in the Atlantic about American’s free time (with charts!) from 2012.
Maybe for you it isn’t the Facebook or Candy Crush. Maybe it’s helicopter parenting, or perfectionist tendencies. Maybe it’s spending time worrying about all the stuff you have to do later. It’s time to find out! Spend one day–just ONE DAY–tracking your time. Keep track of your general activity for every 15 minutes you are awake.
Yes, you’ll have to write it down. Use whatever method sounds good to you: a blank page, your calendar, or a pre-made chart like this one from Jen Weaver.
What do you think you will discover? Tell me in the comments.
Whatever happens, please DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP. That’s really not the point.
Go back to your list of big goals and figure out where to make some daily changes. And for sure, please call me if your organizing goal feels overwhelming. Organizers at Get Organized Already are fun, easy to work with, and very good at getting you past the overwhelming part.
You’ve got this! Resolution: progress.
Here are links to some great articles about budgeting if you would rather focus on money (ha!):