How to Gain Control of Your Free Time?


Time management and productivity expert Laura Vanderkam is the author of I Know How She Does it.

Popular time-saving tips for more free time include ideas such as recording your favourite TV shows so you can zip through the commercials or making only right-hand turns while running errands. But the shaving time off daily activities won’t produce much-needed extra hours. Instead of carving out time to do the things you want, prioritize what you want in life and do it.

Tip 1: Priorities what you want, so you’ll have the time to do what you want.

A time study of busy women juggling work, family and personal commitments found that time is highly adaptable. This is especially evident when an emergency strikes.

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She gave an example of when one of the study’s subjects came home to find that her water heater had flooded her basement, finding a plumber, hiring a cleaning company and arranging service calls took seven hours of her time that week.

Although she would testify to being too busy to spend seven hours a week, say, training for a triathlon or mentoring junior employees, her time expanded to cover this crisis situation. “I don’t have time” really means the task is not important to you, so handle your priorities as you would a broken water heater.

‘I don’t have time’ actually means it’s not a priority

“We don’t build the lives we want by saving time. We build the lives we want, and then time saves itself.”

Acknowledging that you don’t want to make time to do something reframes time as a choice.

Begin by identifying what’s truly important to you.

Imagine it’s the end of next year and you are writing three to five amazing feats you accomplished for a performance review.

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Do the same thing for your personal life by pretending that you are composing next year’s holiday newsletter. Now, you have six to 10 goals for the following year. Break down these targets into manageable steps. For instance, if you’d like to run a 5 km race, research and create a training program. Give these activities as much import as a broken water heater by building them into your weekly schedule in advance. A good time to tackle this is on a Friday afternoon. Draw up a list with three headings: “career, relationships” and “self.” Write two or three items under each heading and place them on a weekly planner.

“Time is highly elastic. We cannot make more time, but time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it.”

You may believe you are too busy for this method to work, but the numbers tell a different story. Of the 168 hours in a week, you spend 56 sleeping and 40 working, which leaves 72 hours open. Even if you work more than 40 hours a week, you still have many hours for other activities. A study showed that people significantly overestimate the number of hours they work. Maximize your small moments of free time instead of pulling out your phone or turning on the TV. Read a book during your commute. Enjoy a family breakfast or meditate during a work break. Even the busiest people make time for what matters most to them.

This is a great addition to your and my life principle as the way to gain more free time.

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Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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