We all know that person who seems to accomplish impossible amounts of things. In addition to working a full-time job, they happen to be writing a novel, maintaining numerous friendships, going on worldly vacations, and nurturing a startup.
The question: How do they have so much free time?
The answer: They don’t. They just use it well.
If you’re looking to maximize your free time and capitalize on it a bit more, here are five steps.
1. Sit Down and Write
This is thinking time. Before you get busy, you must first examine what is most important to you and what you can do better.
Start by making a diagram of your day. What is your routine? How much of the day do you spend commuting? How much time do you need for family, friends, and true downtime?
2. Write Down 4 or 5 Goals You’d Like to Accomplish in Your “Best Life” Scenario
Choose goals that align with your idea of your best life. These can be anything from business plans to art, from reading more books to learning a new language.
3. Write Down Your 4 or 5 Biggest Time Wasters and How to Eliminate Them
Checking email, scrolling through social media, watching Netflix — we all have our vices, and these days they tend to revolve around the internet. Work to actively cut down on the time you spend on these. Ironically, there are apps that can help with this.
When you see how much time you’re spending on your phone, the answer is usually shocking. In 2018, for example, the average screen time for adults was 3 hours, 36 minutes per day. Think of the silver lining, though — most of that screen time is reclaimable and repurposable.
4. You’ve Got X Amount of Free Time Each Morning and Evening
Now, focus on the hours available to you each day of the week. Specifically, look for anything larger than a 15-minute block you could capitalize on.
Focus first on mornings, when the day has not thrown a handful of distractions at you. Then look at your evenings. Finally, get creative — could you make use of your lunch breaks for activities like reading or learning a language? Could you skip nonessential meetings to gain an extra couple of hours each week?
5. Make Yourself a Schedule and Stick to It
Finally, make yourself a detailed schedule. Devote regular amounts of time to each goal. For some, it may be better to dedicate larger chunks of time more infrequently — say, a two-hour chunk twice a week for working on a startup. For others, it may be easier to focus with shorter, more frequent time slots — say, a 30-minute chunk five times a week.
Give yourself a couple weeks and marvel at the results — you can accomplish anything you want if you put your mind to it.
Babauta, Leo. “Reclaim Your Time: 20 Great Ways to Find More Free Time.” Zen Habits, 23 July 2008, zenhabits.net/reclaim-your-time-20-great-ways-to-find-more-free-time/.
Wurmser, Yoram. “Mobile Time Spent 2018 – EMarketer Trends, Forecasts & Statistics.” EMarketer, EMarketer, 18 June 2018, www.emarketer.com/content/mobile-time-spent-2018.