I would bet money, and bear in mind that I am not a gambler, that every person reading this know E-X-A-C-T-L-Y how much time they need to get up in the morning, get ready and get to work on time, non? For me, I know that if I am actually getting ready (hair, make-up etc) at 8:00am I have lots of time and need to leave my house by 8:30am. If I leave at 8:30am, as long as Toronto metros are working properly which can be questionable, I will arrive to work with a few minutes to spare.
Isn’t if funny, that there is so much to do in the ‘getting ready’ process for example, however it is such a practiced art, that I know how to tweak my routine ever so slightly so that I can shave minutes here and there and get it all done!
Knowing your routine well enables you to boost productivity!
So taking this back a little bit, I often have people asking “how I do it all”, namely, how I blog, work full time, exercise, see friends and family, and possibly have some “me time”. To this I think of two main things.
How much do you want it? (It being the thing you claim you don’t have time for)
How much time do you waste elsewhere?
Yes, we have all heard the thing about how we all have the same 24 hours in a day, this is old news right? Blah, blah, blah, Beyonce kicks butt with her 24 hrs. What I am talking about here is more of a realization than a motivational speech. For once, I am not talking about figuring out your goals. As much as I LOVE to talk about that, today is more of a “let’s see what we are actually working with”. Thus I propose . .
Auditing our time
Now would likely be the time where you remember that I used to work as an auditor at a big four accounting firm. Let’s make all those jokes and comparisons right away shall we? Haha, I actually do think it is funny, because as much as it wasn’t my long term career plan, I learned a lot, including the benefit and principles of auditing anything!
So auditing time, you might be wondering what I mean by it. Let me explain; I propose we approach it the same way that you would approach a food audit, if you have ever done one of those. For a few days, up to a week if you like, you simply take note of how much time you spend on things in your life, like in the food audit where you write down everything that you eat. The hiccup here is that sometimes people become hyperaware of time they’re spending, say watching TV, that they won’t act normally. They would normally watch 4 hours of TV, but because they’re writing it down, they feel guilty and only watch 2 . . . (maybe 3). This is not the point. The point is to live normally, as you would otherwise to actually see where you spend your time. This is the same concept as the food audit. I did this for awhile about a year ago using MyFitnessPal, and I was amazed as to how much cheese I ate . . . almost mindlessly 😐 yikes lol.
How to do it?
So for example write down –> 30 minutes preparation time for work, 30 minutes travel to work, 7.5 hours working at full time job, 30 minutes transport home, 1 hour meal prep and eat, 2 hours mindlessly scrolling through Facebook etc etc. until you’re back at sleeping for however many hours that you do. Technically speaking, you can also break this down for when you’re at work to see how productive you are there (emails vs meetings vs water cooler chatting). After you have your baseline of how much time you spend on each task you can determine where is too much, where is not enough and where you can add in a new activity or allocate time towards your goal. I feel like Goldilocks over here . . . 🙂
The point of the time audit to really put into perspective what you’re spending time on, on a regular basis, and whether it lines up with your goals and values. If it does, then you likely don’t need to change anything. The kicker is when you have this HUGE goal that you think you don’t have time for, say taking a French course, and you realize that you spend 3 hours a day commuting. You could see that as the potential to get a new job, or you could see it as an opportunity to start listening to French audio tapes. This exercise is simply an opportunity to take control of your time and use it to its maximum potential 🙂
RELAX & RECHARGE
I want to make another point on this topic. I don’t want anyone thinking that you should be filling the day with 100% hustle activity. Nope! I love my hustle, but guess what, everyone needs a break and a re-charge. If you don’t your hustle will start to become a wilted piece of lettuce, still there but barely holding on. Or worse, your hustle could start to become a chore. We don’t want either of those outcomes because they are not getting you closer to that goal. Take time to re-charge and relax because that actually increases productivity when you’re hustling. Just make sure you don’t slip into most of your time being relaxing time, then you might need to do another time audit 🙂 The other great thing about taking some downtime is that you might be able to take a step back from your goal or hustle project and realize that you want a change of direction. Guess what, that is OKAY! Try not to change the plan every other day, but being aware of your feelings and the changing environment of your life is a smart move to get you closer to your goal and staying happy while doing it, you need to be adaptive.
All body copy images by Warren Cleland Photography