It’s already January 1st and everywhere I turn people are planning their resolutions for the rest of the year. It’s usually never quite a fresh slate since there are things you are going to have to keep doing but you can always choose how, if and when you do things! Every year the top resolutions usually have some form of “exercise more, lose weight, learn or do more xyz, eat healthy”. Almost all of these involve time. In my experience it’s always the lack of time we point to as the reason for not doing something we truly wanted to do.
So…. here’s an approach I found usefully as you make those goals with yourself. It’s super easy – you can do it in 10-15 minutes and always go back if you want to spend more time!
(1) Make a list of things you “wish you had more time to do“. If you can be specific, it’s even more helpful to keep you focused on what really matters to you.
Here’s a few ideas to get the juices flowing from my list:
- Have more picnics with the family – at least once a month ( I won’t care if the food is grocery store pre-made, fast food or home-made)
- Make a new dinner at least once a month
- Time for a one-hour yoga class twice a week
- Sleep 7 hours
- Read 1 book a month
(2) Make another list of “how you really spend your time“. This is a little more challenging. Don’t worry about listing every nickel and dime of time but buckets of things and think through a couple of months.
Here’s a few ideas for this list as well:
- Planning and making dinner for family every night
- Car maintenance every quarter ( oil change, tire rotation, wiper replacements)
- Work 8-5p M-F
- Laundry (collect from rooms, sort, wash, fold & put away)
- Walk dog
Now comes the fun part! First, go through the second list on how you really spend your time and make a note for each item based on the following criteria:
A = Delegate
Can someone else in the family do it – or at least help, can you pay someone else to do it or can you exchange with a friend to do it. If you exchange with a friend will it save you time if they are faster and enjoy something more than what you are exchanging to do.
B = Do less well
Yes this means you have to check-in with yourself and have a discussion on whether you really need it done to the gold standard you set for yourself. My “do less well” was gardening. I would luv to grow many varieties of veggies, but decided I’d be happy with the veggies that are easy to grow, my family really likes and I only plant a few. In my landscape beds, I also only plant perennials, succulents and fruit trees since it requires less time and is just as satisfying for me.
C = Limit distractions
These are the things that seem unexpectedly to suck your time without much return. Things like work email after hours (generally the non-critical kind), internet searches, blog reading and Pinterest top my list. Don’t get me wrong I haven’t cut these out of my life but for me I usually set a time limit.
Second, go back to your list of Wish you had time to do and see if any of the criteria apply (Delegate, Do Less Well, Limit Distractions). I found that Reading 1 Book a Month could be a “B-Do less well ” since I’d consider listening to a book on CD or itunes. I also don’t think it’s “doing less well” since listening is a good skill and it gives a bit a variety.
For me, I also found prioritizing and picking a few key items on the Wish you had time to do list helped narrow it down. So now you just have to stick with your new way of thinking (A,B or C) about how you spend your time to make time for things on your Wish you had time to do list!
Enjoy making more time for things you want to do this year!