Everyone has 24 hours per day. But how is it that it looks like some people have more time to do whatever they need in their life. I also used to wonder the same, in between my complaints about having no time to do my stuff. Then I started spending the time to learn about time management and put a lot of effort to plan my time . But the irony is that the more time we spend on time management , the less we are left with actual time to do our stuff.
I used to wake up wishing / planning to do 10 different things a day. But when I go to sleep , I would have procrastinated those 10 things + the one which I newly encountered that day. So I learned that the first step in time management is to find out where your time is going and to minimize wastage. Then we can apply different time management techniques which are available out there.
I tried out many things, starting from Android applications for time management to reading various books on time management. But I realized nothing much improved with respect to my time management.
Where did I go wrong ? I started analyzing. One day it clicked for me that I am struggling to pack my small bag ( of 24 hours) with so many stuff , which I was not able to manage , ending up frustrated at the end of the day, keeping me demotivated even the next day.
Instead of planning day-to-day activities, I widened my timeline to a month. ( I am not saying day to day planning is not important. But that is not the first step ) . Even if I sleep for 7 hours a day, I am left with 17 hours. Consider 1-2 hour for day-to-day routines. But still, I have 15 hours left. That means 15 * 30 = 450 hours a month. Now I have a lot of time to fit in my stuff , even if I want to add new items on the go.
Everyone has different goals and different interests in life. So it depends on person to person , how to divide this 450 hours. Here is a sample allocation which I have used . But you are free to divide your time according to your goals/interests.
Job – 35% ( 158 hours)
Career Development – 5 % ( 24 hours )
Personal Development – 15% ( 68 hours )
Family time – 10 % ( 45 hours )
Friends – 8% ( 36 hours )
Entertainment – 12 % ( 54 hours )
Hobby – 5% ( 22 hours)
Household chores – 4% ( 18 hours )
Finance management – 2 % ( 8 hours )
Voluntary/ Charity work – 4 % ( 18 hours )
Waste of Time – ???
The last one with the question mark is the most important one here. Let us come back to that later.
You could use an excel sheet with all of the above items as headings and time spent on each day in a month as rows and sum total as the last row. you need to spend only 5 minutes every night to divide the time you spent on that day to each of these categories. The sum will show you the time spent for the month and you could very well add a column for the time remaining under each category.
You could also use any of the time management applications available to track your activities. For e.g Toggl is the best fit for this purpose. you can also use a smart watch/activity tracker in combination with an android mobile if you wish to do real time tracking.
As I pointed out, the most important step is to find out how much is falling into the “waste of time” bucket. This will help you identify how much and where your time is wasted. Once you identify that, you will be able to utilize that effectively to reduce wastage or do some other activities instead. For e.g. you can use the time you waste waiting in traffic to listen to songs ( which will help you move the time spent to “Hobbies/Entertainment” bucket ) or listen to audio books ( and move it to “Personal Development “) .
Hope this helps.. !!!! . You will always have the time you wish to have.