November 4, 2009

The Myth of Spare Time

We should use time as a tool, not a crutch.
-John F. Kennedy

How many times do we hear 'in your spare time' over the course of a month? Personally, I get sick of hearing it. 'You can build a business in your spare time.' 'Volunteer in your spare time.' 'What do you do in your spare time?' Spare time? When did we get 25 hours in a day? Did someone add in a Someday to the week? No, no they did not.

Trying to find that time you need to work out, spend time with your kids and/or build a business is a chore in and of itself. There is no way of 'creating' extra time. We only have 24 hours in a day and like most of our paychecks, it's spent before we even get there. So how do we make time?

You have to start by knowing how you spend your time. How much time do you spend doing your hair and putting on make-up in the morning? Picking out clothes? Checking email and following up with your friends on Facebook? There's a lot of little things we spend our time on. Try keeping a log of what you do. You can't really fix anything until you know what is wrong with it. Are there any repetitive tasks that you can group together, like checking your email at lunch so you don't have to spend 45 minutes on it when you get home? Are you waisting time looking at sales ads for things you don't need? Once you actually look at what you spend time on, you can start looking at where to find some. Here are a few tips on finding an extra hour or two in your week:

1. Books on Tape/MP3: Many of us have books to read for school, personal development or training. Many of these are available in audio format. Check the publisher's website or your school's library. It is often cheaper to record books onto audio then to have them printed in braille, so school's pay students to record the books. Listen to the recordings in the car or during your work out to save your reading time for other uses.

2. Many Hands Make Light Work: Is there anything that you can get help on? Give your kids a night that they have to cook, this can save you time and make them feel part of the family. See if your friends want to help on craft projects for the holidays. You can work on it together and get more done, plus you spend time together so there's some time back! Never be afraid to ask for help. Are you doing all the chores? Time to ask your partner to help with some, you shouldn't have to do it all yourself.

3. Hair, Make-Up and Clothes: Talk to a stylist. There are lots of ways to reconfigure your wardrobe so that everything goes together. A little bit of careful shopping at the beginning can save you that 20 minutes of "What am I going to wear today?!". A stylist can also help you simplify your make-up and hair-do. There is no need to go into a two hour hair and make-up session every day before work, do some research on different products and styles. Somewhere in the mix you can find one that can get you out the door in under 45 minutes.

4. Email and Social Networks: Set up filters for your not-quite-junk items. Everything from Facebook goes into it's own folder, Twitter another, Sale alerts in another. It is pretty simple to do, and then when you go to check your email, you don't have to sort through all that junk to see if someone really does need your attention. Same thing with your social networks. Almost all have lists that can be used to sort through which of your friends and family are sharing. By knowing where to go for the updates that you want to look at, you don't waste time on a lot of junk.

5. Games: I am a HUGE fan of games. I love them all. But I do get sucked into them. You start playing around and before you know it an hour and a half has gone by and you can't even remember why you booted up your computer to begin with. Try getting a timer next to your computer. Set a limit and stick to it. (30 min is usually pretty good)

I hope some or all of these can help you find an extra 5-10 hours in your week. We all get going at lighting speed, end up at the end of the day exhausted and not quite sure what we got done. A little bit of foresight, planning and some professional assistance can make the world of difference in how you spend your hours. Because unlike money, once time is spent, we really can't get it back.

Have a Blessed Day,

Brandy Deming

1 comment:

  1. What a great article and newsletter. I am one of those that chuckle when people mention spare time, so your ideas were great advice. Thank you!