If you’re looking for ways to stop wasting time, this post takes a look at our number one resource and how we can use it better.
When I was newly married, I ran a music agency. It became quite a successful music agency. So much so, that during the peak of my business, typing ‘jazz band’ into Google would have resulted in my agency as one of the top five results.
But when I started the business, I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I would often swear that I was completely busy, but have no idea where I spent my time. My husband would come home from teaching and ask how my day was. “Busy!” I’d emphatically respond. But that ‘busy’ probably included organising my rubber bands by colour and size. Or browsing 500 fonts to use on my next promotional flyer.
I was not good at using my time well. My husband knew it. And I guess somewhere deep down I knew it too, but I wasn’t ready to admit it.
Time is Precious
Fast forward some ten years and my days are very different. I’ve added three kids to the mix, a singing career and a blog.
Having the time for this or that means something very different to me now. Each moment is precious. Each hour is valuable. I’ve had to learn to stop wasting time because I no longer had that kind of luxury! This doesn’t mean that I’m hands down the best person at using my time. I still falter and dawdle and procrastinate.
But I’m acutely aware that this number one resource – time – is very limited. Very finite. And very short.
The thing is, we are all blessed with the same 24 hours in a day. But we don’t all make the best use of it.
And what’s more, the time we didn’t use well we won’t ever get back. Ever.
In this post, I’ll show you how time is an opportunity and how important it is to stop wasting time so that we can do the things that truly matter most.
It doesn’t matter who you are, you have the same amount of time as I do. Whether you’re the Queen of England or the florist down the street.
This is your starting point. It doesn’t mean that we all have the same amount of available time. But that our canvases for each day are all the same size.
How you and I use these ‘canvases of time’ will vary in the same way different artists prefer different brush strokes or colours. And at the end of the day, our canvases will be a reflection of how we used our day.Each new day is like a blank canvas. What will you paint today?Click To Tweet
And if you want a lifetime masterpiece you can be proud of, you need to be intentional with your daily canvases of time.
Pay Attention To How You Currently Use Your Time
One way to stop wasting time is to find out where your time is currently going. Only then, will you be able to see whether you’re spending your valuable time on things that really matter to you or not. You can keep a log of the activities you do throughout the day using apps like Workflow Timer, Life Cycle or ATracker.
Why would you want to do this? Firstly, tracking how you are currently using your time will shed a bright light on where you are wasting your number one resource. And what activities you should stop altogether, batch or even delegate.
But before you can diagnose, you need to assess. Keeping a log is a useful way to assess how you are currently using your time. And from there, you can make changes to suit.
Don’t get too bogged down by this stage, however. It’s easy to make this into a huge procrastinating spree by trying out different apps or approaches. Don’t do that.
This step is simple. Make a note of what you’ve just been doing. Do this all day long. Do this for seven days in a row if you can. And then stop. You’ll be left with an image of what you’ve been doing with your time. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Pay Attention to How You Want to Use Your Time
You may have already decided that you don’t want to be wasting your number one resource. But what you decide to do with your time might be trickier to identify.
The truth is, you can only know how you want to use your time if you know what your priorities are.
Since time is our most valuable asset, how we spend it will be an indication of the things we value most. Just as we happily spend money on the things we love, we should spend time in a similar manner.Spend your time the way you spend your money - on the things you really want in your life.Click To Tweet
Being in Time Debt
Let’s return to the money analogy. Some people actually don’t spend a majority of their money on the things they love. For example, if they’re in debt, then they might be seeing a huge chunk of their money go back to their creditors. They just don’t have the financial freedom to spend their money on the things they love because they’re financially committed elsewhere.
Using your time can look a lot like this too. For example, you may not have an entire 24 hour day to devote to the things you love, and if you’re in ‘time debt’ you might consider yourself lucky if you manage to get thirty minutes just to sit down and read.
What do I mean by ‘time debt’? I mean being temporally committed elsewhere. Not temporarily, but temporally. Just as you can be financially committed to something, you can also be temporally committed to something. That means that your time is committed to something and needs to be used for whatever you’ve committed yourself to. You just can’t use that time for whatever you want because that time is already spoken for. Just like being in debt.
Getting out of Time Debt
Getting out of time debt is thankfully similar to getting out of financial debt, and hopefully not as lengthy a process.
1. Firstly, you need to acknowledge that you are in ‘time debt’. That you are temporally committed to certain things you no longer want to be spending your time on.
2. Secondly, you need to know where the debts are. Your ‘time debts’ will most likely be in areas that are not a priority for you. So going back to the point I made earlier about paying attention to how you want to use your time. Knowing your priorities will help you assess whether your current commitments are on things you love, truly matter and want to prioritise. Or whether they are ‘time debtors’ – things you don’t value and would like to be free from.
3. Thirdly, you need to relinquish any ‘time debtors’. You can do this by pulling out of these commitments. Giving notice to whoever you might need to notify. Or just deciding to not spend your time on those things anymore.
Yes, getting out of time debt should not take as long as getting out of a burdening financial debt. And that’s a true blessing. Because we can never get back this number one resource, it’s encouraging to know that you can go from being in overwhelming ‘time debt’ to being more in control of how you spend your time rather quickly.
Acknowledge how you currently use your time. Is it in line with your priorities? Do you spend your time on things really matter to you? Do you have any ‘time debtors’ that you need to be released from?
Sweetie, you and I are not getting any younger, and we need to be purposeful with how we use our precious hours so that we can stop wasting time and create beautiful canvases we can be proud of!
Download this free printable and start getting intentional with how you use your time all week long!