How to find extra time
“Someday, when I have some time, I”d like to...”
Heard that one lately? I think I use that phrase at least 10 times a week. And you’ve probably said something similar, as well. After all, we all have things we’d like to do” When we have some time.” Some people want a little time to improve their English or catch up on their reading. Others are a little more ambitious. They’d like to try a new hobby or start a new project at work. Some people simply need more time with their families.
Whatever your interest, you know all too well that life is busy. “Someday” never seems to arrive. Let’s face it: you may never have the time to pursue anything extra. But maybe you can make the time. If something is truly important, the time may already be there. You just have to track it down.
Author Rebecca McClanahan says that extra time isn’t just given to us. “You have to go to it，”she says. “This may require stalking time, stealing time，or simply taking it，by force if necessary.”
So, where can you stalk, steal or take this time from? A good first step is to reclaim all of the wasted minutes in your day. You don’t have any, you say? You may be surprised at the extra time sprinkled throughout your schedule.
To identify those wasted minutes, try keeping a time log for one week. From sunrise to bedtime, write down the time you spend at every activity. At the end of the week, add up the minutes spent at the various activities. And prepare yourself for a few surprises.
Do you spend an hour a week reading junk mail? That’s 60 minutes that you could spend reading a good book. Or maybe even writing a book. Do you spend five hours a week watching sitcoms on TV? That’s nearly 300 minutes you could spend polishing up your English or taking your family to the park.
After examining your time log, weigh these “minute-wasting” activities against the activities that you’re hoping to someday accomplish. Is there enough extra time in your schedule to transform “someday” into today?
Now the hard part: self-discipline. Every day you need to choose to use each minute of your time wisely. Here are a few quick tips to get you started:
Organize your day. Make a checklist of the work you need to get done every day. Be realistic when writing the list, and then stick to it. When you’ve finished the day’s tasks, you may find some time left to pursue those extra activities. Also, a daily planner is nice for helping you remember activities scheduled in advance.
Set goals. Decide on some short-term and long-term goals for your time. Write these goals down and put them where you will see them every day. By setting goals, you can quickly identify what activities are not contributing to your overall plan.
Make healthy decisions. Eat quality food, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly. Yes, this will consume a few of your precious minutes. But you’ll also have more likely to spend your evenings productively instead of collapsing in front of the TV.