One of most frequent complaints I hear from people is that they have no free time. Let’s be honest, you have free time. In fact you have a lot of free time. Very few people are so busy that all their time is taken up – new parents, the president, etc. I know this for a fact because people almost always complain about not having any free time DURING their free time.
What is Free Time?
Free time is what is left over after you have finished doing all the necessary tasks for your survival. These include sleeping, eating, working, and doing chores such as laundry. Notice that watching Community, going to a bar, and playing the new Call of Duty aren’t on that list. Time is a key resource in any endeavour, be it creating a business or an art project. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go out with friends or watch TV. But you have to be aware of what you are spending your free time on and acknowledge that it’s a choice you are actively making. Once you begin to look at how you spend your time it is easy to start optimizing it.
Creating More Time
There are several strategies we can use to free up time and do necessary work more efficiently.
- Batching Tasks – Batching is a great strategy for almost any type of work. When you combine similar tasks together you cut out a lot of inefficiency that result from switching mind sets from one type of work to another. For example: you can clean your house while doing the laundry. Instead of answering an email now and then, pick an hour where you go through your inbox and reply to everyone.
- Automation – Automation is great because by setting things up once, you automatically free up time for weeks or months in advance. For example: have all your bills automatically charged to your credit card. Set up and automatic savings schedule. Write several blog posts and schedule them all ahead of time.
- Saying No – I use to have a big problem with agreeing to everything. As you begin to focus in on what your goals are, it becomes easier to decide whether or not something is worth your time. Saying no can result in huge batches of free time. For example: going to see a movie you aren’t interested in because some friends are going. Having a new client ask you to do work that you don’t specialize in / not interested in doing.
- Booking Free Time – It often helps to write out exactly how much free time you have in a given day and then book tasks to match that. This also helps with batching tasks and gives you perspective on how you use your time in general.
Action Steps: Look over your average week and figure out how much time you spend doing necessary tasks and how much free time you have that you fill with other task. What things can you optimize or even eliminate? What things are really important to you that you want to do no matter what?
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