Once upon a time I used to be real lazy, and what's worse would convince myself that I was busy being lazy. I would much rather watch a TV show and convince myself that I was doing something productive. What I failed to consider while building this, was that my apathetic ways were actually costing me money—and time.
When I finally made that connection (Shout out to George Glason and his book The Richest Man In Babylon), I starting getting smart about how I spend my time. Squandering my hours on underwhelming activities was no longer an option.
OUTSOURCE THE MENIAL STUFF
I'm not the only one thats afraid of outsourcing. In saying that menial tasks should be outsourced. New York Times bestselling author and fitness podcaster, Ben Greenfield, is also a fan of outsourcing. Rather than mow his lawn or do his own grocery shopping, Ben prefers to spend his time doing something he enjoys.
This approach to the mundane ‘have tos’ that invariably clutter up your to-do list frees you up to focus on what’s important, if you have the means. It also gives someone else the opportunity to earn some money. High school and college students, for example, are always in need of part time work to fund their studies (and social life).
WHAT TO DO ABOUT TELEVISION/INTERNET
The average American spends about five hours a day watching TV/Internet. That’s 2,100 minutes a week that could have been put to accomplish your vision. Aside from being a colossal distraction, lounging on the couch watching The latest netflix binge worthy show also inspires late night snacking habits our midsection can do without.
A far better approach to entertainment is to cut the cord on cable (and all broadcast television) and go the pay-per-view route instead. There’s nothing wrong with watching movie or show—they’re a great way to relax, after all— It's when you become an expert sofa jockey who knows the plot lines of all the trendy shows, instead of creating the plot line of you life that things are out of balance. Practice being mindful about your consumption. Decide on a movie night and watch one movie from time to time. If you’re balking at the idea, by all means, go ahead and binge-watch your favorite series. But then don’t complain when you don’t have enough hours in the day for making your vision a reality.
STOP WITH THE MULTITASKING ALREADY
You may think you’re multitasking, but what you’re really doing is switching back and forth between different things. Some people are just faster at it than others. Humans are wired to be mono-taskers, so let’s embrace it.
Rather than one long and intimidating task list where everything is important and looking at it makes you wish it was happy hour, break down your days and weeks into specific focus areas.
For example, I’ve earmarked Monday mornings to research articles to write and create my weekly email to send to you. The rest of the week is broken down towards specific ideas I want make a reality, and so on. Take a look at everything you need to get done and lump similar tasks together. For me it’s content creation and editing, for you it may be recording videos and seeing clients. If something crops up that has nothing to do with what you’re working on, make a note of it and decide what you should do with it later.
“There is time enough for everything, in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once; but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.”
CREATE A DAY-BY-DAY SHELF SYSTEM
If you have children your mornings can easily descend into a frenzied hunt for misplaced school books, sports kit, etc. Or perhaps you’re the kid in the family who keeps losing things? Either way, these time saving tip from will eliminate your ‘late again’ woes for good.
First you can create a checklist, and ask your kids for their input on making it better.
Dedicate baskets or shelves to specific days of the week. When the kids get home they immediately remove items from their bags and place them in the appropriate basket. You could also create an everyday shelf for things like car keys, wallets and whatnot.
According to a survey by Pixie Lost & Found, the average American spends 2.5 days a year looking for lost items. If this is you, imagine what you could do with those 48 hours if you weren’t hunting for your cell phone or car keys.
GAIN CONTROL OF YOUR FREE TIME
In her TED talk: How to gain control of your free time, Laura Vanderkam reminds us that small moments can have great power. She says we can use our bits of time for bits of joy. That could be something as simple as choosing to read/listen to something wonderful on the commute to work(Sweat Nation Podcast is a great suggestion) or using your mid-morning break at the office to practice a short mindful meditation. It’s about looking at the whole of one’s time and seeing where the good stuff can go.
There are plenty of ways to save time and be more productive, but perhaps we’d be better served if we took Laura’s overarching message to heart instead.
“When we focus on what matters we can build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.” Just think of the ripple effects that will make a difference in not only yours, but the people around you.
Here's to your wealth/health
Track Of The Day - How to gain control of your free time - Laura Vanderkam