Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Keeping a time diary

Keeping a time diary is a great way to see how you really use your time and what habits you can change to find the time you need for all those little things that just never get done due to lack of time.

I think most of us would be surprised at the amount of time we waste. Not every minute of every day needs to be productive, we are supposed to have wind down/chill out time. I am sure though we watch more TV, surf useless sites, hang out on facebook much more than we realise.

Would you keep a time diary to see where you could find time?

Since we are all given 24 hours a day the only way to ‘find time’ is to use the time we have efficiently.

You don’t need to keep the diary forever. 1 week would give a decent indication of what is going on. 1 month would be better. All you have to do is write down the time you spend doing things.

For example

7 am – 8:30am woke up, got ready

8:30am – 9am travelled to work

9am – 12:30pm work

12:30 – 1:30 lunch and chatting with colleagues

1:30 – 5pm work

5pm – 5:30pm travel home

5:30 – 6:30 cooked dinner

6:30 – 7pm ate dinner

7pm – 7:30 cleaned up

7:30 – 9:30 TV

9:30 – 11:00 got things ready for the next day, surfed the net, got ready for bed

11:00pm – 7am sleep

Now for many this is a pretty typical day. Your commute might be longer or shorter, you might spend less time watching Tv or surfing the net, might go to bed earlier etc... This is just a generalization.

Looking at it more closely we can see that a lot of time is wasted watching TV and surfing the net. But look at some of the smaller things, like getting ready – is there anything you can do to make this faster?

If you spent 2 hours on the weekend or on one night making a few meals you could freeze some which would free up time cooking dinner. Yes it takes a bit of time to make a few meals, but if you are preparing all your meals for the week in one 2 hour block, it will save you close to 5 hours each week.

If you saved 30 minutes each morning getting ready, that’s 182.5 hours a year or 7.6 days, that’s just over 1 entire week.

If you save 5 hours a week when cooking that’s 260 hours a year or 10 days!

If you stopped watching TV that’s 728 hours saved or a whole month! That’s right 30 entire days.

Obviously your time would be different, but isn’t it amazing. I mean just changing those 3 things would result in 1170 hours a year/48 days/almost 7 weeks! What could you do with that much time?

There’s other little changes you could make too. Say you want to learn another language, why not do it on your commute to work. If you drive, just pop the cd in and you would have 1 hour each work day where you are learning. Don’t drive? Are there books you have always wanted to read but never got around to? Are there things you could do online via your phone e.g. pay bills, blog, emails etc...

Don’t just view time like that as wasted time. Put it to use. Re-evaluate your day and what you are doing with it.

Other things to think about are do you function better with more sleep? Are you a morning person or an evening person? Change things in your schedule to suit your body clock.

I know I am more productive when I have had a decent amount of sleep. I used to think I was an evening person, but I think that is just because I got used to staying up late and sleeping in. Now I go to bed earlier, I sleep better and feel much better the next day.

What things can you change or do you view as time wasters?


  1. Duh why didn't I think of that - I've got croatian lanquage CD's and apps but I had never thought of using them on the drive to work.
    Thanks for the idea will do that tomorrow - I have a 1/2 hour drive to work and home each day

  2. If I had to keep a diary of where I spent my time, I would sink into a very deep depression (haha). I do get your point, however, and I appreciate it.


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