Your life is a rat race! You feel like you are constantly running from here to there in a scurry, and complain that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. In fact, one of the most common complaints among people is that they don’t have enough time to do the things they want. The reason you don’t work out is because you don’t have time. The reason you don’t start your own business is because you don’t have time. You don’t cook dinner because you don’t have time. The list of time-sensitive complications in life is endless. But is this just an excuse? Are you really as busy as you think?
Have you ever really tracked your time throughout the course of a week?
Most people believe that they are super busy, without a minute to spare in the 168 hours that are gifted to us each and every week. Yes 168 hours in just one week? Most people only spend less than a third of those hours sleeping. So what are you really doing with the remaining hundreds of hours?
According to time management experts at Forbes Magazine, much of the time vacuum is a result of too much technology available too much of the time. For instance, popping in and out of Facebook or checking your emails can take up as much as 15 hours per week. And for most people, this is time that is wasted without even noticing it. The average Facebook user spends over 15 hours per month strolling through status updates and stalking their ‘friends.’ Just look at the statistics below that they reported in their last survey about the time spent worldwide on social networking sites. (Table courtesy of Static Brain.)
|Total number of Facebook users worldwide||1.2 Billion|
|Total percentage of 18-24 year olds who already use social media||98%|
|Total percentage of people on Earth who use Facebook||11%|
|Total amount of minutes people spend on Facebook every month||700 billion|
|Average amount of time a person uses Facebook per month||15 hours 33 minutes|
|Total amount of people who access Facebook with phone||250 million|
|Total amount of websites that have integrated with Facebook||2.5 million|
|Total pieces of content shared on Facebook each month||70 billion|
|Total amount of unique YouTube users per month||490 million|
|Total amount of YouTube page views per month||92 billion|
|Total amount hours spent on YouTube per month||209 billion|
|Total amount of articles hosted by Wikipedia||17 million|
|Average pictures uploaded to Flickr per minute||3,000|
|Total amount of pictures hosted by Flickr||5 billion|
|Average amount of tweets per day||190 million|
|Percent of teenagers who log on to Facebook over 10 times per day||22%|
|Percent of Facebook users under the age of 10||25%|
Another time suck, is your cell phone. That little device that is supposed to make you more productive has a tendency to also make your life prone to interruption. If you are working on a task then the best advice you can follow is to silence your phone! Otherwise, no matter what you are doing, you will always be at the mercy of other people. Set boundaries for yourself and you will find that not only are you more productive, but that you will get more done in the course of a day!
Another reason that many people feel they are too busy to tend to all the aspects of their life that need attention is similar to procrastination. Truth is you might spend a lot of hours thinking about a project that needs completion or a desire that you have to start a new routine. Yet because you are so frustrating with the thought of fitting another activity into your already bubbling over busy lifestyle, you simply waste time thinking and actually doing nothing. If you were to act on those minutes by writing down specific goals and assigning small portions of time to each activity – you will be surprised how much time you have at the end of the week. The inability to properly goal set and follow through with goals is a huge time waster. Experts from LifeHack recommend setting 15-30 minutes per day aside each day to incorporate a new habit in your life. By starting small – for instance with 15 minute walks each day, you increase your discipline each day and are actually taking proactive steps toward reaching your goals.
Organization is another key factor in making more time in your life. If you are not organized then all that time you spend looking for things or running around at the last minute to get an item you need is making your life busier than it is really necessary. Duplicate trips to the store, not using the spare time you have wisely to get menial tasks done, and utter disorganization in the home can make you up to 50% less efficient. The time you waste is time you could be using to incorporate some of the things you REALLY want to do in your life.
Perhaps the best way to decide if you are just too busy or if you are simply wasting precious hours is to spend a week with an honest time tracker. You can use something as simple as an egg timer to track how much time you spend every day on your tasks. The key is keeping a time tracking journal and writing all the times (honestly) down. During that first week, live your life as normal to see where you might be wasting time. There are also several computer and smart phone applications that can help you track your time and most are geared toward making your more productive. Some popular applications are Klok, Manic Time, SlimTimer, Rescue Time, and Project Hamster. Most of these are free for basic use and can easily give you the tools you need to keep up with your time.
After the first week – take an honest look at where your 168 hours in the week went. You will likely find that you waste more time than you think. If you really want to do more things in your life – you can decide what is important and what is not – and use your once wasted hours to implement some new habits in your life.
And remember – in the infamous words of Ana Arden, “Do not worry about the coming hour. Do not worry about the pasted hour. Only focus on this hour!” With clear attention to all the hours in your day – you will make the most of your time.