I certainly think I’m busy. I work a demanding (although fulfilling!) job, have an additional side gig–and even take on freelance stories regularly.
Because my various forms of work take up so much time, I feel like I have barely any time left for socializing, sleep, cooking and cleaning. And forget exercise.
But I still manage to read and post on Facebook regularly, write personal emails to certain people (while ignoring others), surf the web, watch The Daily Show and listen to a lot of music.
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How do I manage to fit this all in? I take my iPhone to bed and waste time on it before I nod off, before getting out of bed and even during the middle of the night. So it’s not that I don’t have time for things like cleaning or exercise–I apparently prefer to lie in bed killing time on my iPhone.
Taking the New Year, New You theme to heart, I decided to change my ways using some tips from ”168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think” and “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.”
Why You’re Not as Busy as You Think You Are
But before we dive into the tips, let’s look at why you can actually squeeze more time out of what might feel like an already-packed schedule. Author Laura Vanderkam points out that we all have 168 hours in the week. So when we look at people who are able to “do more” than we do, often it’s simply because they manage their time better.
One of our biggest challenges when it comes to capitalizing on time: We don’t really know how we spend it. Vanderkam points out that surveys in which people are asked to recall how much time they spent on certain activities usually get different results compared to experiments that ask people to keep a time diary.
As she puts it: “We are prone to over- or under-estimate things based on socially desirable perceptions or current emotions. For instance, few of us love the routine aspects of housework … So if someone asks us how much time we spend on such things, we overestimate–by something on the order of 100 percent for both men and women–compared to the actual numbers recorded in time diaries.”
In fact, people are so bad at estimating how much time they spend doing things after the fact that their overestimates can lead them to say that their weeks add up to 180 hours–or even more than 200 hours.
Here’s how I kicked my time-wasting tendencies in just a few days–and how you can send your own bad habits packing.