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Most people these days feel like they have no time to get anything done. Although research shows happiness remain the same once they've hit the $75,000 mark and beyond, there's still a feeling we just don't have enough time in the day to relax.
Sure most people put their primary focus on their income and how they can increase over their career, but more emphasis needs to be put on how you're spending your time.
Research has shown how you manage your time is a better predictor of happiness than your level of income. It does make sense when you think about it. You're constantly running around, commuting to your job, rushing to get things done there, then coming home to get dinner ready, run errands, etc. etc. If you have no control over these things and find yourself reacting instead of planning ahead of time, you'll be miserable. It's no way to live life.
The average commute time in the United States is about 27 minutes, but anybody who works in New York City will tell you it's a completely different story. It can take over an hour just to commute in one direction. That's about 2 and a half hours wasted each day. Or better put, about 25 full days if you work 48 weeks out of the year.
That's obviously terrible. The thing people don't understand or realize is their most valuable asset is time. It isn't their salary or their house. It's their time. You can use it any which way you want. Your success depends on it. If you're wasting time watching TV or videos on your phone, you only have yourself to blame if there are goals other than work that you want to achieve.
Time is the most valuable asset you have. If you look at how Warren Buffet spends his time, he prioritizes it based on what matters most to him. Sure he's fortunate to run his own company, but he understands the value of how you spend time. Spending his days reading 5 hours a day is how he got to where he is now. He realizes he needs to block off time for this instead of playing bridge all day long.
Realizing that time is your most valuable asset will help you look at your day differently.
- How to Take Back Control of Your Life by Getting Some Extra Zzz's
- How to Escape the 9-5 Grind and Find Inner Happiness
- Why Burnout Happens and How to Take Preventative Measures
- 20 Things You Can do to Improve Your Life
Here are 9 ways you can get more time back:
Block of time for responding to emails
As previously mentioned, limit the times you check email. Nobody needs to have their email open on their second screen. Don't check it every 5 minutes and get rid of the push notifications at the bottom of your screen. It's nothing more than a distraction. You may not realize it but you lose concentration and waste significant time shifting back and forth between tasks. Focus on one thing at a time. There's no need to check email constantly. Set parameters for yourself. For example, you could check email every day at 10:00am, 1:00pm and 4pm. Nobody ever died from not having an email answered.
Get rid of as much busywork as you can
This really depends on where you are in the hierarchy of the team chart, but if you can, delegate as much work as you can. If you find yourself spending 30 minutes on a menial task that even an intern could do, delegate it. A lot of people have trouble letting go of things they're used to doing throughout the day. Sometimes it's best to free up your day to focus on the bigger picture of what it is you're trying to achieve. Send the busy work to someone else if you can.
Check what your biggest distractors are
Look around yourself and see what's preventing you from getting any work done. While you're in the office, it could be you're making eye contact with people as they walk by your desk so they strike up a conversation with you non-work related. It could be your email. Maybe it's your habit of getting up from your desk more than you really need to.
If you're working at home after work on a side hustle, maybe it's best to put your phone on airplane mode and turn off the tv. Don't let yourself go on the internet until you've completed what you're working on for the night.
When I looked at what was distracting me while I was starting my blog, I realized some nights I was wasting literally an hour and a half some nights just from surfing the web. Once I did a reality check and saw what was distracting me, I buckled down and now I'm able to finish what I need to get done for the day each night.
Say no more frequently
This is key if you ever want to get anything meaningful done. This can be applied to your work life or your social life. At work, being a yes-man is probably the worst thing you can do. When you begin a position, you think it's great to look like a go-getter self-starter and all the other bs jargon people love to put on job descriptions.
But in reality, people eventually take advantage of you and you find it harder and harder to say no. Don't let yourself get caught up in that. Tim Ferriss, Cal Newport and Adam Grant are huge advocates of saying no. They allow themselves to have even a couple of hours during the day to do nothing so they can sit back and think about what needs to get done.
Saying no to friends it tough too. For the first year and a half, I had no social life because I was working on this site. I started from scratch so if I wanted to get the ball rolling I needed to say no to any and all distractions. Anything that wasn't conducive to getting work done on the blog was getting a no. It's tough, but you have to do it if you want to achieve your side hustle goals.
Figure out where you’re spending most of your leisure time
This runs along the same lines as distractions. People always say they have no time to do anything or get anything done anymore. But in reality, when they get home from work, all they do is watch TV for 3 hours, play on their phone for another hour and go to bed. That's four hours they could've been productive but chose to waste it away instead. If you want to start a side hustle but don't think you have the time, pay attention to how you use your time after work and during the weekends. Chances are you can spend at least a couple hours on weekdays and at least 4 hours on a Saturday or Sunday to do some work.
This seems like it goes without saying, but it makes a huge difference. If there are distractions all around you, you'll never get anything done. Even having another person in the room or the TV on will hinder your progress. The best thing you can do is lock yourself in a silent room that you know nobody will bother you until your done. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates both agreed the one thing that made them successful is focus. Take notice of yourself when you can work alone and when there are other people around you and loud noises. See how much clearer your thought process and faster your production is when you can focus without distraction.
Eventually, you'll need to unwind and relax. You're not a machine, hell even my MacBook crashed and lost all of its memory after staying in sleep mode for over a year, not fulling shutting off. You need to give your mind time to rest so you can recharge. Allow yourself to veg out and play video games or watch TV. There's no shame in it, everyone needs time to step away from their work.
Dedicate time to yourself
This is also a huge factor that most people don't take seriously. You need to take care of yourself. Exercise every day even if it's just a 20-minute walk, it's better than nothing. You can also meditate, or do yoga or watch TV, hang out with friends, whatever it is that you enjoy, go do it. What's the point in living if all you're going to do is work? Even if you love work, you need to dedicate time to yourself at the very least for your own health.
Use your vacation days
Apparently, a record 768 million vacation days went to waste last year. That's incredible. We take less vacation than a medieval peasant. Nice right? It's bad enough by law every country in the European Union has at least 4 weeks of paid vacation. If I relocated to Europe for my job, I'd have an extra two weeks of vacation just because I'm in England instead of the United States.
Use your vacation days. We are worked to the bone for what feels like barely any pay, most days. Especially if you have a commute that's over 2 hours round trip, you need the mental break. It's exhausting. Don't let anybody make you feel guilty about taking time off, especially if it's two consecutive weeks. They don't care about you they just care about the work they'll need to cover for you.
If you implement these strategies to get more time back into your day, you'll be in great shape. Remember your most valuable asset is your time, don't let anybody control it for you.
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