Being Intentional with Your Time

podcast Feb 08, 2019

You get 24 hours to spend however you want, but how are you REALLY spending your 24 hours? Is reality different from the story you tell yourself?

I once saw a television show where a character said the line, "time was created so that everything doesn't happen at once." I love that line.

Time is a dispassionate thing. It doesn't care about you, your ambitions, or whether you use it or now.

Tracking your time

Many people have no idea where their time is going.

All they know is that they spent it. But if you pressed them how they spent their time today, most people would not be able to list off a bunch of stuff they did.

A way to discover your truth which will set you free (as painful as it may be), is for you to track your time.

Don't make this complicated. Just use the notes app on your smartphone and record everything you do throughout the day. Bonus points if you also include:

  • how long it took you
  • did it really need to be done...by you?
  • rate how important the task was

Clients who have gone through this exercise - even those who classified themselves as fairly productive, told me that this exercise really woke them up.

How to be intentional with your time

What do you want/need to do?

Until you answer this question, I'd argue that there really is no point in going further.

I've been saying for a long time now that you need to tell your time where to go instead of wondering where it went. You do this by planning.

But, again, if you have NO IDEA what you want to do, what are you planning?

To be on social media? Binge-watch TV? Playing video games for hours on end?

Of course not.

The first step is to create a list.

Don't overthink this.

Create a new note on your notes app on your smartphone or open a fresh page in a notebook and begin capturing everything you can think of that you'd like to do.

The reason I recommend you use the notes app on your smartphone is that you probably carry it with you everywhere and when another item pops into your head, you want to be able to capture it immediately.

Your list will be a "living document" if you will. You will add items to it and when they are complete, you'll remove them.

Kick it up a notch

If you want to take your list to another level, consider adding:

  • an estimate of how long the task will take you
  • the priority of the task
  • whether or not the task can be broken up
  • a deadline
  • color coding

Filling in the gaps

When you sit down to schedule your time, you want to "fill in the gaps".

In other words, let's suppose you're planning on working 8 hours tomorrow. You already have 5 hours on your schedule. That leaves 3 hours to fill.

Hmmmmm....what to fill that time with so you don't go down any rabbit holes?

If only you had a list of things you want/need to do!

Oh, wait. You do because you followed my suggestion.

So, you pull up that list and see what you can place on your schedule.

Does that make sense?

No more wondering. You were proactive and as a result, you helped yourself out.

Your turn

How are you intentional with your time? Please share in the comments.

Click here to take the productivity quiz and see how productive you really are.

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