Vanderkam suggested that we give ourselves a "time makeover." How to do that? Start with a time log. Figure out what's filling your days. Then take inventory of your priorities, and start making a schedule that clears space for the things that are really important to you. Having a list of dreams helps too, so that you can ascertain what activities feed your real ambitions.
"Time is elastic," she noted. "When something is important to you, you make the time happen. So the trick is to figure out what's important to you."
What can you do best at work and at home? And how can you spend less time on everything else? Vanderkam terms this "playing offense" - taking charge of your days. Here's how:
- Think in terms of 168 hours, not 24. Things do not need to happen every single day in order to be part of your life.
- Use your mornings. Time has a way of getting away from you. Willpower is like a muscle - it gets fatigued by the end of the day. If you schedule something late in the day, it's a lot easier to come up with a good reason not to do it.
- Do not multitask. If you need to check email frequently, you're better off being on for 20 minutes, then off for 40.
- Pay attention. "It can take hours to rebuild the connection you burn in a two second glance at your phone while someone is talking to you," Vanderkam observed.
- Ignore, minimize, outsource. If something isn't nurturing you, your career, or your relationships, get rid of it.
- Use bits of time for bits of joy: a quick walk, a phone call to a friend, writing in your journal.
For more tools and tips, visit LauraVanderkam.com.
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