There comes a point in most people’s lives where they wake up and realize that twenty-four hours a day are just not enough anymore.
Between work, families, chores, and hobbies, it’s easy to fill our schedules to the point that we don’t have any time within these twenty-four hours a day left for ourselves.
There’s nothing wrong with putting in the work required to achieve your goals in life, but if all you’re doing is working for the sake of work, you’ll quickly find that life has passed you by.
If you’re at the point that you dread waking up in the morning because of how packed your days are, you need to change. In this post, we’ll explore some ways that you can reduce the amount of busy work you have and focus on the things that really matter.
1. Measure What You’re Doing Against What You’re Gaining
The first thing you need to do is determine exactly what benefits you’re getting from the activities you engage in during your twenty-four hours a day. For everything from the job you perform to the workouts you do in the gym, ask yourself, “What is this doing for me?” Often times, we put in far more effort into a pursuit than what we get out of it.
A perfect example is toxic relationships. You may have poured hours into spending time with your boyfriend or girlfriend, spent hundreds or thousands on dinner and gifts, or invested 100% commitment to the relationship. If you’re being neglected, abused, or taken advantage of, what’s the benefit of staying in that relationship?
Businesses circles refer to this as return on investment. For everything in your life, you should be getting at least an equal, if not greater, return on your commitment. If you’re not, it’s probably time to ditch it.
2. See If There’s a More Efficient Way to Do Things
Part of the problem with your time may not be what you’re doing so much as how you’re doing it. Whether we’re talking about work or play, a lack of efficiency can quickly eat up time and lead to frustration.
For example, Forbes reported that the average working professional wasted two and a half hours each day reading and replying to emails. Email is just a reality of the modern working world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t optimize the process:
- Instead of answering emails as they come in, block off a few 15-minute sessions to address them.
- Consolidate your replies so that you say the same thing with fewer words, saving time.
- If an email comes and there’s not a thing you can do about it based on the subject line, don’t even read it. Wait until you’re in a position to address it.
If you take the time to exercise regularly (and if you don’t, you should!), this principle can apply to your fitness regime. Instead of spending an hour on a treadmill to burn fat, why not try a HIIT workout that can yield the exact same results in a fraction of the time.
3. Outsource Some of Your Chores
There’s a stigma in America that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing yourself. I don’t totally disagree with the sentiment, except to say this: it’s worth doing yourself if the benefits outway the investment. When it comes to your daily errands, there’s not much reason you have to do everything for yourself.
The DIY Trap
Think about this – if you take the three out of twenty-four hours a day to go buy groceries, drop off your dry-cleaning, and run a package to the post office, what did you really gain? You may feel a sense of accomplishment, but what about your actual benefits?
That’s three hours you could have devoted to learning a new skill, or spending time with your family. Chores eat up a lot of our time but give us very little in return.
You Can’t Put a Price on Time
Time is unique from any other resource we have in that it can’t ever be recovered. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. We think about cost in dollars all the time, but seldom in the amount of time we lose.
To declutter your calendar, hiring a full-time personal assistant may be the best option you can have. You might be nervous about the cost, but there’s plenty of help you can get to manage your investment.
4. Take Some Time Away From It All
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, it seems like ‘vacation’ became the dirtiest word in the English language. I think everyone loves the idea of going somewhere new, breaking up the routine, and doing something awesome, but, again, we worry about the cost.
Everything is expensive, it can take a lot of planning to do a vacation the right way, and we’ll have a ton of work waiting for us when we get back, right? I would argue these are nothing but excuses we make for ourselves.
Everyone from leadership studies groups to psychologists constantly champions taking time off. The benefits are numerous:
- Better productivity.
- Feeling more refreshed.
- Having more pride in your achievements.
- A better appreciation of what’s important in your life.
Whether you take a week-long vacation or just an evening off each week, give yourself time to do something you really want to do.
You’ve Got Just Twenty-Four Hours a Day – Make Them Count
No matter how you spend your days, we all have a certain amount of time on this earth. When we’re nearing our end, everyone wants to be able to look back and say, “Man, I had a good run!”
Sadly, that isn’t the case for most people. The most common regret that people confess when they’re close to passing away is that they wasted their life on things that didn’t matter. It’s a common trap to fall into but that doesn’t mean you can’t dodge it.
Whether you choose some of the options in this post or come up with your own solutions, the important thing is that you make the most of your time. Use the precious twenty-four hours a day that you’ve been blessed to build a life that you’re proud to call your own so that when you reflect on your life, you can proudly say it was indeed a good run.