Examine How You Spend Your Time
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander Time; for that’s the Stuff Life is made of.”
Step 1. Keep a Time Journal
Taking a look at how and where you currently spend your time is the first step in how to find time for yourself. Use a time journal to track every action you take in a day and how long you spend doing that task. Do this for at least a month.
Step 2. Log Your Activities and the Time Spent on Each
Create a spreadsheet at the end of the first month. Type “Activity” in the first column.
Go back through your time journal and in each cell under Activity, type in any activity that you spent time doing. Brushing your teeth? That’s an activity. Answering Email? That’s an activity.
Enter the time in minutes that you spent on this activity in the cell to the right of that activity. If you did this activity more than one time, put the next entry of time in its own cell and keep filling those out to the right. That’s going to help you see not only how often you do this activity but, eventually, it will help you to calculate the average amount of time that you spend doing it.
Step 3. Determine How Often You Do Each Activity
Add a column to the right of your activity column and ahead of your time cells once you have finished adding all the activities you have done over the month. Title this column: “Frequency.”
Put the number of times that you did this activity in the cell under Frequency. If you are using Google Sheets (a free spreadsheet) for this, you can use the formula =COUNTA() and then select the range of cells you want Google to count for you to have the spreadsheet calculate your frequency. If you are using Excel, it is COUNT().
Step 4. Calculate the Average Time Spent on Each Activity
Add a column to the right of your Frequency column. Title it “Average Activity Time.”
Add up all of the cells containing the time you spent on this activity over the last month in the cell under the Average Time column and divide that number by the number in the Frequency column. This gives you your average time spent on each activity.
The formula to use for both Excel and Google Sheets to get the spreadsheet to do the work for you is =AVG() and then select the range of cells to use in the calculation.
Step 5. Categorize Time Expenses
Create a new column to the right of Activities and label it “Category.”
Here are a few category suggestions to get you started:
- Social Media
- Household Operations
- Business Meetings
- Business Paperwork
- Business Operations
- Family Time
You can get more granular than this if you prefer, but the goal is to help you get a big picture overview of what you’re doing and where you are currently spending the majority of your time.
Our Next Post: How to Use Time Effectively
The answer to how to find time for yourself lies in using time effectively. The answer to how to use time effectively is to eliminate time wasters, reduce time sinks, and combine activities. These three strategies we will go into in more depth in the next article.
The Goal of Automation: To Reclaim Your Time
With this spreadsheet in front of you, you will begin to see just how much of your time – the essence of your life – you can reclaim with automation, especially when it comes to tasks like business paperwork and operations. It’s even possible to automate some household operations, and we can help you develop those strategies so that you can find time for yourself to do the things you’ve dreamed of doing but couldn’t find time to do.
Ready to get started reclaiming your time?
We are your answer to how to find time for yourself. Schedule a free consultation to see what we can do to help you reclaim your time and live the life you love.