I'm going to explain why you feel like there is never enough time in the day, and share some quick hacks to free up more of it. Time is the one thing they aren't making more of, and that's what makes it the most valuable resource on earth.
Having good control on where your time goes unlocks a lot of benefits.
- One hour a day in exercise could help you get to your goal weight.
- One hour of time with your family can mean an improved personal life (depending on your family...)
- One hour a day of learning can increase your earning potential.
Unfortunately, many people never make this a reality, because the deck is stacked against them.
The 3 common reasons why we struggle with distractions
- Your time is being stolen by apps that are engineered in a way that exploits your psychology. That's how one quick check of your phone can add up to minutes or hours.
- You aren't fully aware of the problem.
- You lack an operating system for how you spend your time.
Fortunately, there are three simple things you can do to start unlocking more time in your day within a week.
Here's how, step by step:
Step 1: Perform a Time Audit
A time audit is a way of tracking where your time goes for the next week so you can look at things objectively and find out where you might be able to redistribute your efforts to align with your goals and values. After a week, you should be able to identify your 3 biggest time wasters.
Here are a few helpful tips:
- If you go to screen-time for the week, you can see which apps you spend the most time on, can that be cut.
- Download a browser extension that tracks your time usage. This is a low effort way to get a clear picture of where your time is going.
- When you have the data, ask yourself objectively if where you spend your time helps or hurts your goals.
Step 2: Bring Awareness to the Problem
The first step to overcoming an obstacle is admitting there is a problem. It doesn't mean you are a bad person. After you do the time audit, you will now know the three biggest sources of distractions in your life. Where a lot of people go wrong is thinking they need to optimize every second of the day. Don't beat yourself up if you find yourself falling victim to your distraction of choice. The business model of every app and website is that every second you spend with them makes money. So they spend a lot of money and effort to make sure that they can entice you and hold your attention as long as possible.
A great technique is to bring awareness so you can start to interrupt the pattern. Keep a post it note by your computer and make a tally mark each time you find yourself going to your distractions. Try keeping an elastic on your wrist, each time you notice yourself falling for your distraction of choice, change which wrist it's on. This will slowly help you notice yourself so you become more conscious of the pattern and become able to adjust the pattern going forward.
Step 3: Have A System
Keeping some sort of framework is easier than just relying on sheer willpower. The easiest way to do this is come up with a few guiding rules that will govern how you operate going forward. It's important go for an incremental improvement in your status quo instead of being too rigid. Below is typically what I follow to have a productive morning.
- I will keep my phone in a different room for the first working hour of the day.
- I use the freedom app to block distracting websites during my deep work time slots.
- I will reward myself with 30 minutes of internet after I write my daily blog post.
This is tough to do, but don't give up. This is my framework and it took a lot of iterations to make it work. Most days I follow it, but I am human and things don't always go according to plan. Even if you hit 50% on this, you are going to see gigantic progress.
If you start today, you will start to find more time in your day within a week.
This post was originally published here