Most people feel that there are not enough hours in a day to do the things that they want and need to do. They also tend to be surprised at the amount of time they spend on certain tasks when they actually take the time to record everything they do in a time journal. You cannot add hours to your day, but keeping a time journal can help you find and eliminate time-wasters in your life, giving you more time to relax and spend on things that are important to you.
What is a Time Journal?
A time journal is a simple journal where you can write down how you spent your time in 15 minute increments. It is important to update your time journal every half-hour so that you don’t forget any of the things you did during that time. Updating often also helps you focus your time because you know that you will be recording what you did in your journal. It is best to keep a time journal for two weeks because it gives you enough data to analyze patterns in the way you spend your time. Some people keep their time journal on their computer, but it is best to keep your time journal in a small notebook that can be kept in your pocket or purse. This will help you make sure that your journal is always with you, even at places where you don’t have access to a computer. You don’t have to record everything down to the minute. Recording your activities in 15 minute increments is enough to help you find ways to change the way you manage your time. It is essential that your time journal is accurate, so make sure that you write down how you actually spent your time, not how you should have spent your time. Nobody else will read your time journal unless you allow them to, and keeping a journal that is not accurate will not help identify patterns or find ways to manage your time more efficiently.
Advantages to Keeping a Time Journal
The main advantage of keeping a time journal is that is helps you discover the time-wasters in your life. It allows you to closely monitor your time so that you don’t underestimate the amount of time you are spending on activities such as shopping, checking your email or watching television. Most people find that the simple act of writing down what they do every 15 minutes in a journal helps them to be more mindful of how they are spending their time.
How do I Analyze My Time Journal?
There are many questions that you can ask yourself after you have completed your time journal. Most people look for things that they are spending more time on than they previously thought. It is easy for checking your email to become an hour-long social media session. Setting an online timer for 15 or 20 minutes is a great way to control the amount of time you spend on simple computer tasks. Another question people ask themselves is, “What am I doing myself that I could have someone else do for me?” Delegating is an important part of time management because it is impractical at best and impossible at worst for you to do everything yourself. Getting family members to do regular chores around the house or hiring a lawn care service can save you countless hours during the week. It is a good idea for families to sit down together about once per month and talk about how the household is running and what could be changed to make it run more efficiently. There are probably many things that you do every day that could be done more efficiently. You could plan your meals and make all of the preparations on the weekends so that you aren’t spending an hour or more preparing dinner each night. You could also prepare clothing, lunches and other essential items before you go to bed each night to save you time in the morning. Setting up a carpool with the neighbors can save you hours of drive time if you don’t enjoy watching your child’s soccer practice each week. Looking at your time journal will give you a good idea of things you are doing that waste time each day. Even if making a task more efficient will only save you five minutes, all of those small time savers add up.
Making changes to the way you manage your time each day may seem overwhelming at first, but even small changes can make a big difference. Some people choose one way to manage their time better each day so that they don’t become overwhelmed by making many changes at the same time. Sitting down with people who will be affected by the changes you make is a good idea because it allows them to share their feelings about the changes. They may even suggest additional ways to save time that you didn’t think about.
It is important to not feel guilty about the changes you make, even if they result in spending more money or delegating tasks to others. Focus on the reason you are making the changes, such as taking time to relax or spending more time with your family. You have the ability to make more money in the future. Time is something that you will never be able to make more of and you will never be able to get back time that has been wasted.
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