Time Management- Try this simple hack & add more days to your week

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He who every morning plans the transactions of that day and follows that plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.

Victor Hugo

Today, I am going to share the best time management hack I have tried on myself and my clients… and it works wonders.

Ask anyone today about his goals outside of what he is doing right now. And in 100% cases you will get a goal to do something more enjoyable, more significant or more meaningful.

Ask them what is stopping them and you will get answers like – lack of confidence, bills to pay , procrastination, lack of time etc. Out of these we are going to talk about “lack of time” in this post.

All of us have same 24 hours in day. But somehow some of us seem to manage to do a lot more than many others can’t even imagine. On the other hand some people find themselves unable to keep up with their normal day to day commitments – like reaching office in time, going to bed on time with free mind.

What could be the reason?

I think it is all about management of the time….  But hey, many of the low to average achievers would confess of having daily planning in place and yet always finding them struggling to complete everything within 24 hours…

On the other hand there are people who manage to enjoy their lives and yet deliver more than these people!

How do they find time??????

My suggestion is to try following exercise:

From now onwards, start keeping an hourly log of your activities for the next one week.

Put alarms after every hour… if your phone allows you edit the alarm text , then make it like – “What did you do in past one hour??”.

So after every hour the phone would be ringing and asking you – “What did you do in past one hour??”.

This will immediately make you conscious of your time and your current activity. You might as well catch yourself red handed i.e. doing something which you would perceive as waste of time or unproductive.

Whenever the alarm rings, note down the time of the alarm on a page/diary or spreadsheet and what did you do in past one hour… put each and every activity you can recollect.

Don’t worry if you are unable to remember few things. The idea is to have a general idea of where your time is going without straining ourselves. So note down everything with detachment and without any judgement. 

Chances are by the end of the week you will have some great realizations like:

  1. The situation is far better than you are perceiving and criticizing yourself for… i.e. you might be accomplishing more than what you are thinking.
  2. You might be able to find out some big black holes where your time is going e.g. gossip, chit chat, Facebook and twitter etc…
  3. This activity might motivate you to consciously spend your time so as to avoid embarrassment of looking at amount of unproductive activities in your log
  4. After one week analyze this data for the whole week… and find out how you can optimize this data…

One of my clients found that she was spending 3 hours in her morning coffee, reading newspaper and few other mundane tasks everyday and she was unaware of his!

How is it possible? Well we all have some blind spots. Try the exercise and find yours.

This realization made her aware of how she was losing 21 hours per week in tasks and activities that don’t matter much. She made adjustments to spend only half hour on these tasks plus her daily planning and thus saved 2.5 hour per day which is 17.5 hours per week or more than two working days!!!!!

Other realization was that she was much more productive during working hours than she thought.

Third was she was extremely productive during the whole week and finished a large project which would have taken her many days in couple of days in that week. 

When I was doing this exercise for first time, I discovered that I was spending a lot of time on Friday afternoons in browsing internet and on social media.

This was a realization for myself as I had always conceived my Fidays to be as productive as normal weekdays. Also that was the most productive week I had till that point of time. 

It is good to repeat this exercise after few months. I am doing this exercise again this week. Let us see what are the outcomes :).

I would like you to do two things after reading this post:

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Share your findings from this exercise with me through email, twitter or  through the comments.