I must disappoint you: it is not possible. But read on.
There will never be more than 24 hours during one day. Actually, once a year it can be 25 (in some countries) and it happens on last Saturday of October. It may be not enough for big plans unless these big plans are limited to just this one special night.
Many of us complain that there’s not enough time for many things. I’m no better – I couldn’t find time to write this blog post for too long. There is some solution needed then. As it is not possible to add extra hours to our days, the only option is to make better use of what we have already. To achieve that, we can make improvement in two major areas:
- Focus and allocate time for what is really important.
- Reduce time wasted.
Let’s discuss first point first. To not reinvent wheel, we can use famous Eisenhower matrix to categorise our activities:
- First quadrant shows all emergencies as well as activities postponed so long, that we are now five minutes before deadline. Things that just have to be done now.
- Second category occupy all important stuff defined as long term goals, plans for future, everything what matters but doesn’t need to be done now. What is missing in many publications is that it is usually good to have such activities planned for specific time frame, even if it could change later. Setting goals like buying house in ten year’s time is something we can relate to. If we say it will be done just “in the future”, there’s no way to evaluate progress, to prepare when time comes and to measure if we’re close to completion. Even if we miss predicted goal, we can take a lesson from that and make improvements for next goals. Have your goals always clearly specified. Adjust later if required.
- Things not important but seen as urgent. There’s usually urgent for someone else, never important to you. Ignore them. Or delegate, if possible. Or reschedule. Find any excuse to not put your energy into them.
- Last category belongs to all time wasters but it’s worth separate discussion.
Salvador Dali: The Persistence of Memory. Source: Wikipedia
We’re getting to second point mentioned at the beginning. To properly identify time wasters, it is good to make journal for all activities we perform and how much time they take. Try to make notes for just one week – how much time you spend for planned and unplanned activities and what they are. You may be surprised. All of us can recall moments where we started to scroll through social media and few hours passed, or switched on TV for a few minutes but switched it off after no less than few hours.
This is actually this extra time we really need and we are always short of.
Another fact missing in publications – do not feel guilty if you perform activities commonly shown as examples of time wasters. We are not robots and we all need to take a rest and do something just for pleasure. Key factor is to do it consciously. If I decide to spend evening playing computer games or watching TV – that’s conscious and PLANNED. And if I feel that I really need it, it goes into category of IMPORTANT activities. But if I start watching one short film on YouTube and switch it off after a few hours, that’s different story. Not planned, not intended and probably not needed. Wasted.
Being aware of all actions we do is a key.
A few more practical tips for time management:
- Be realistic allocating time for your activities. Don’t be over-optimistic, especially if you’re going to do something first time.
- Allocate some extra time for unexpected issues related to your plans.
- Never sacrifice your health to get more time – sleeping less or skipping meals is not the way to get extra time. You may lose it later in hospital.
- Don’t focus on work only – there are other aspects of life as well. Find time for friends and family.
- Allocate time for reading blogs.
Alternatively, if you desperately need more time – take a little bit from Pink Floyd: