Best use of time is essential to success in any business, activity or endeavour or just making the most of life and its never ending challenges.
As a property lawyer, investor, blogger and author, I am always short of time and my goal is to come up with ways to:
- Gain time
- Extend time
- Make the best use of time.
This blog is a follow up to my previous blog Time to conquer time. At the end of that blog I concluded:
“Not only do I need to free up more time; I also need to re-prioritise”.
“I will let you know how I get on in the near future – time permitting”!
The fact that it is over six months since I made that promise is evidence as to how poorly I have mastered time since then.
1. Freeing up time
When I did my time audit to work out where my time was going, I found:
Waking hours per day – 16 on average. Those 16 hours were typically taken up by:
On these figures, greatest scope for freeing up time rested with:
- Work (paid and essential for living costs)
- Leisure (unpaid and not essential, but desirable).
On the Work front, being self-employed, I have full freedom to reduce my time spent on Work – subject to must-do tasks.
Rather than spending hours thinking abstractly about how to reduce my time input, I went for the no-nonsense direct approach by simply reducing the figure by two hours to 7 overnight, forcing me to:
- Find ways fast to do the same amount of work in a shorter time period and/or
- Cut out items of non-essential work.
To me this seemed the best approach – I call it the “sink or swim approach”.
I adopted the same approach with Leisure. I reduced the total from 4.5 to 2 at a stroke, freeing up 2.5 hours.
The plan was to transfer most of the extra hours gained to Personal – which includes rest, relaxation, contemplation, lifestyle and the pursuit of personal goals.
Have these decisive measures worked?
2. Mid-term report – Leisure
I have been operating the new reduced hours for Leisure for some six months now – with success.
It was not hard to free up the 2.5 hours.
My TV licence was up for renewal and I opted not to review it as a convenient way to cut out the amount of time I spend watching television.
Wasting hours watching television is one of those things it is incredibly easy to do. You can clock up hours almost without noticing.
Yes I still have the capability to stream any quantity of nonsense; but although I have had Amazon Prime for 3 or 4 years, it is not something I find much of a temptation.
I have also gained time by cutting back on regular social meetups of various kinds which crowd my diary.
Such meetups are for business and pleasure but on closer scrutiny it is fair to say that many have become jaded, predictable and pretty low in value.
Now when I look at a social meetup I need to be thoroughly convinced of its “real and tangible benefits” if there is to be any chance of me attending.
I have managed to reduce social meetups without too much difficulty.
So far I have seen no downside in cutting my Leisure hours from 4.5 to 2. It was easy to achieve and has lasted with ease.
3. Mid-term report – Work
With Work time, it has been much more of a challenge to free up time.
The shock treatment of cutting my Work time from 9 hours to 7 did not work as intended. I did not by some reflex process become more efficient and effective in my use of time.
Cutting my time input by 2 hours simply meant:
- Tasks were completed more slowly
- Work challenges, issues and risks increased
- Earnings fell.
The shift to 2 hours less per day meant I was doing less work and falling further behind. It was hard to achieve the efficiency intended when constantly faced with putting out fires (dealing with urgent/priority matters).
About two months ago, I conceded that trying to carry out my workload in less time was not realistic…too much work in too little time.
At that point, in a counter-intuitive manner, I decided that the best way to reduce the time I spent on Work was to increase my time input – in the short term.
I increased Work time to 10 hours per day. I went back to the previous 9 hours and added 1 hour from the 2.5 hours saved on Leisure.
I anticipated that the extra hours would give me the chance to:
- Complete critical, urgent or priority jobs in a timely manner
- Lower outstanding jobs in my in-tray so as to reduce the number of jobs which go on to become critical or urgent
- Work out the relative importance of all jobs in order to remove those that are not strictly necessary or necessary to be done by me
- Develop more efficient and effective time-use systems generally.
Has it worked out that way?
It is too early yet to say. A review in two to three months’ time should provide an answer.
Contrarians rule always (the power and success of contrarian thinking)
Think like a property millionaire (the millionaire mindset of property investors)
How to master time (a look at the fundamental ingredients to rule time)
Time to conquer time (RPC’s attempt to master time revealed Pt 1)
3. My new time allocation
The main reason to improve my use of time was to find more Personal time.
That is time spent on myself, family and friends and for me it is the most important, enjoyable and rewarding use of time.
Part of Personal time is having time to dream up ideas, meditate and reflect; to plan, review and make improvements…thinking time.
Thinking time includes rest, relaxation, breathing space and mindfulness.
I have recognised that daily thinking time is essential to keep on top of time management. I have therefore made it a separate category of time.
My time allocation (per day) is now:
I am nowhere near to mastering time.
I have made only modest progress since my previous blog. I have been able to cut my time spent on leisure but not my time spent on work.
I need to develop better systems and practices to be able to reduce my Work time to the target of 7 hours per day.
My primary goal now is to use my newly allocated Thinking time, 30 minutes a day, to reduce my work hours.
In the next blog I will report back on my progress.
Do you have any time tips? Please share them. They are bound to be like gold dust to many of our readers. Please leave your comments or observations below.
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Rebel Property Coach
My website is: www.rebelpropertycoach.com