“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard
Most of us spend our day without any conscious effort to analyze how we spend our days.
A few years ago, I was living my life the same way. I had no control over time so I was either waiting for the time to pass by or I was doing urgent work in survival mode.
If we don’t take control of our time, we either get addicted to a few activities while avoiding important activities in our lives. Or we spend our time on meaningless activities which are neither productive nor enjoyable for us. For example, scrolling through social media for too long.
Every minute counts. Time does not stop for anybody. The goal of being aware of our time is not to add additional stress to our life but to consciously spend our time in a way that will make our life better.
There’s no one size fits all approach to time management. Some of us may prefer to organize our calendar while some of us may create personalized systems for managing time.
Personally, I like to give myself some freedom as I’ve tried keeping a timetable in the past and I don’t find it realistic or enjoyable few days after following it. Moreover, I feel guilty if I miss something or if unplanned events occur in life.
I have a dedicated time for creating and learning which I usually do in morning and in the night. There is no specific time block dedicated to the tasks. I can spend the 3 hours of work from 8am – 11am, 9am – 12pm or 10am – 1pm.
Similarly, many people like to follow Pomodoro technique for doing tasks. But for me, I like to spend longer time on tasks without interruption. The duration of time block depends on the tasks but I usually get up and take breaks when I feel like it.
The goal is to find the approach that works for you. You don’t have to follow all the rules. Know the rules and then tweak or even break the rules according to what you find is the best for you.
Here’s an exercise for you…
Write down all the activities you do and the time you spend on those activities on an average day. Then answer the following questions:
- What tasks are the most important to me?
- Am I only doing urgent tasks or am I making sure to dedicate some time to important tasks that matter to me?
- What tasks require the most amount of time? Is it worth putting so many hours on it?
- What can I cut down, remove or delegate from my life?
- What is missing from my life that I can add which will make me or my life better?
- What experiments can I do with my regular schedule? What if I do the opposite?
- What tasks do I really enjoy doing?
- Am I using my time to invest in future?
- When do I feel most energetic to work? Am I using that time to work on important things?
- Am I making sure to spend time on my health, relationships, and recovery?
Using the above questions, you will become more aware of how you spend your time and hopefully, you’ll spend your time more wisely. Keep re-doing the exercise after every few months to get back on track and see the bigger picture.
Success is a result of daily actions…