A question I get a lot is, “How do you make the time to…?” You can end that sentence just about any way you can imagine: How do you make the time to write a book, blog, market, do social media, etc. Most people have lots of things they say they want to make time to do.
You may remember that several years ago Jay Leno did an ad for Doritos where he said, “Eat all you want, we’ll make more.” Well, you can make more Doritos, but you can’t make more time. The reality is that everybody gets 24 hours in the day. Nobody gets 17, nobody gets 28. Everybody gets 24 hours. You can’t make more time. You need to decide how to allocate those hours that you have, and I’m going to give you some ideas to help you with that.
The fact is we all spend time on stuff that’s not necessary. I’m not going to tell you never to do anything fun, never to relax, don’t sleep, don’t take more than 10 minutes to eat a meal. That’s ridiculous. You can’t live like that. You have to take time to stop and smell the roses, to just have fun, and sometimes to do nothing. That’s part of what keeps you going. That’s part of what helps you recharge. But the reality is we spend a lot of time on things that aren’t necessary.
A good place to start is by seeing where your time goes. One way to do that is for a few days or a week keep a log of your time. And it can be really simple.
One thing I like to do is just take a piece of paper and make a chart that is marked off in 10 or 15 minute increments. Then I make a line across each section and say, okay, during this 15 minutes I was on the phone, during this 30 minutes I was dealing with email, during this 45 minutes I was in a meeting, during this hour and a half I was on a webinar, during this 15 minutes I was on Facebook, and just jot down what I was doing during that time. And then when you go back and you look over that list, you might be surprised at exactly how your spent your time.
The fact is that you probably don’t realize how much time you spend on email, surfing the web, watching television or chatting with somebody. It’s okay to do that stuff, but you will find a lot of nonproductive time used on those activities. Look for ways to cut that back that work for you. One of the tips you hear a lot is only check your email twice a day. I check my email a lot and I don’t plan to change that for now. Would I save time if I only checked my email a couple times a day? Maybe. But I have made a choice not to do that. You need to think about where you want to spend your time and make your own choices.
Also look over your list and see what you’re doing that you should not be doing. There are things that you think you need to do that don’t need to be done at all. There are things that you don’t need to do yourself that you could delegate to somebody else or you could hire someone to do. Take those tasks off your plate and don’t feel guilty about it. Too often we think we should handle everything ourselves or that we are the only ones who can take care of a task. No. If it doesn’t need to be done by you, have somebody else do it so you can free up your time to do the things that are most important. And that’s the bottom line. The way you allocate your time is based on what you think is most important. So you decide the things that are most important, plan those tasks out, and then you fill in with the other stuff that you really have to do.
If you want to write a book, instead of saying, “Well, I don’t have any time left over to write a book,” schedule that time in first. Decide that you are going to spend one hour from 7:00 to 8:00 today or from 12:00 to 1:00 or two hours from 3:00 to 5:00, whatever you choose writing your book, and honor that appointment. And then if that means that you didn’t have the time to check email 37 times or you didn’t have the time to spend as much time as you wanted on Facebook or whatever else you usually do with your time, well, you decided writing your book was more important. So the idea is that you decide what’s important, allocate the time, and let other things fall into place.
But you can’t make more time, unfortunately. If anybody develops a machine that does that, please let me know. I would not only like to get one of those, I’d like to invest in it. I think that’s a moneymaker!