If you’re like most people, you probably feel like you have too much to do and never enough time to get it done. Well…perhaps you have more time than you think. Tracking your time for just five days will blow your mind and radically alter how you approach your days. I promise. Just grab a notebook you can carry with you and for just five days, write down exactly what you are doing and for how long. You’ll learn the 5 lessons below and it will make your life SO much more peaceful.
5 Ways Tracking Your Time
Will Make Your Life More Peaceful
Know How Long An Activity Really Takes
I conduct time management strategy sessions with both adults and teens. Oftentimes people are overwhelmed because they are over-scheduled. They are over-scheduled because they don’t realize exactly how long an activity takes.Oftentimes people are overwhelmed because they are over-scheduled. Click To Tweet
Once I was discussing the calendar of a sweet but harried freshman in high school. Phew! Busy young lady! She said “well I have dance every day from 4 to 5.” And I said “no, you have dance every day from 3:30-6. You have to change for dance, drive there, attend the class, drive home and then shower.”
When you start tracking your time you’ll start to realize that often things take longer than we think. Consequently, you’ll have the knowledge to either schedule less to do in one day or give yourself drive time or a breather between activities.
Know How Little Time an Activity Takes
I hated to put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher. I even joked that I’d rather clean the toilet. How terrible is that? At least I have dishwasher. Talk about a first world problem! Then I decided to time myself and realized it takes me less than five minutes to unload the diswasher. No more complaints from me. It’s just impossible to grumble about something that requires so little time.
When you track your time and you find these activities that take only a few minutes, you’ll know how to slot them into the space between other responsibilities. For instance, just finished a conference call and you have twenty minutes until you need to leave for carpool? Yes! That’s exactly enough time to fold clothes in the dryer.
Identify Bad Habits
Once you start tracking your time, you may realize it’s ten o clock at night and you have not left any time for leisure. Not one minute in your day to read a book, meditate, call a friend. That’s a problem. You are not a machine.
Tracking your time you suddenly realize that you only have time to return phone calls when you’re in the car. That’s also a problem. I’m not going to lecture you here though.
What I’m saying is that by tracking your time, it will become immediately apparent if you are using time unwisely. In order to change a habit we have to recognize it first.
Intuitively Learn to Time Chunk
Ok, you won’t be able to say you intuitively learned this technique because I’m going to tell you about it. Lol! But if you don’t already know about it you would have figured it out on your own, I know it.
So let’s say you are tracking your time one day and this is what you see:
- start to clean bathroom but get distracted (10-10:15)
- make phone call to schedule dentist appointment (10:15-10:20)
- figure out what you are going to make for dinner (10:20-10:30)
- go back to cleaning bathroom (10:30-10:35)
- remember you need to make a dentist appointment for the kids too (10:35-10:45)
- realize you don’t have what you need for dinner tonight and go grocery shopping (10:45-11:30)
You see where I am going right? This is at the very least an inefficient way to work and at the worst a sure-fire prescription for burn out and irritability.
The answer? Group your tasks. Time chunk. Now-your schedule may look like this:
- clean bathroom (10-10:20)
- make dentist appointments (10:20-10:30)
- figure out dinner and go to grocery store* (10:30-11:15)
*I actually suggest doing this once a week. SO nice at 5:30 every day to know what you are making for dinner and that you have the right ingredients. I’ve already posted 8 weeks worth of pre-planned meals. Here’s a link to the first: Meal Plan Monday: Making Life Easier for You
Identify Your Values
Sound grandiose? Maybe. But it’s true. I’ve had many clients have a-ha moments when they see just where they are spending their time.
Perhaps you say your health is important to you yet when you track your time you realize you haven’t worked out in a week and you’ve only made a home cooked meal twice.
After tracking your time you realize you are spending so much time doing laundry/cleaning/playing Candy Crush Saga that you only have a half an hour one on one time with your child.
Tracking your time reveals these sorts of inconsistencies; a disconnect between what you want to be doing, and what you actually are doing. That is very powerful. I guarantee you will start to align your beliefs with your actions-and this will make you immeasurably happier.
And there you have it. Knowing how long-or how little-time an activity takes, identifying bad habits, learning to time chunk and knowing your values will all make your life much more peaceful.
Zen Out Friends!