We all say it – we're so busy that we didn't have time to do x, y, and z. Everyone runs on a different daily schedule that is tailored to his or her lifestyle, work and roles. Despite our very different lives, we all share one common similarity – we all have the same amount of time in a week. That’s 168 hours to be exact.
Assuming on average you sleep eight hours a day, work a full-time job for 40 hours a week, and spend about four hours a day on tasks like getting ready for work/bed, commuting, picking up the kids, and making dinner that still leaves you with 44 hours a week of ‘extra’ time. That means we have just over six hours a day to do x, y, and z. Time management expert Laura Vanderkam studies how busy people spend their lives, and she's discovered that many of us drastically overestimate our commitments each week. She explores the concepts of how we can better adjust our schedules to incorporate more time to ourselves and that we do have enough time but why don’t we use it?
It’s understandable that not every minute is spent being lived to its fullest because we're not robots. It's normal that our energy declines and we want to have downtime. Although, we need to be aware of our spare time and be stronger than our excuses as to why it feels like we don’t have enough of it. Put your excuses in the past and think about these things for a minute.
Acknowledge the time you spend "wasting".
Whether you lose two to three hours a day going down the rabbit hole of Instagram or binge watching a new Netflix series, this is time you’ve spent doing something you (may not want to confess) enjoy. Own it as your downtime and accept that if you wish to take up a new hobby such as learning to kickbox or work on your photography skills you’ll have to sacrifice some screen time.
Take control of your time.
Are you unsure of how you’re spending your time? Challenge yourself to document your time for a full week to see where your hours go. This will bring awareness of how much spare time you could contribute to something more fulfilling than say lounging on the couch, chatting on the phone, or watching television. These hours are yours and the actions you choose to do to fill your time is up to you.
Understand that time is elastic.
Your time is yours to shape - it can be molded to your priorities and goals. As you know, time can’t increase your energy and motivation to make it all happen, instead, it requires energy to use it to its fullest. So what are you waiting for? Get moving and do what you want to before it runs out.
For more on this topic, watch this TED Talk by Laura here.