New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Time – Tracking It & Catching It

"The bad news is time flies.
The good news is you're the pilot."

Michael Altshuler
(American Motivational Speaker)

We all seem to feel that we do not have enough time to get done what needs to be done and we all know that preparedness takes time. Yet studies show that most us waste quite a bit of time everyday and don’t even know it.

When people say that they don’t have enough time, it says more about how they spend their time than the actual quantity. After all, no one really has more time, one day is 24 hours for all of us, we just spend that 24 hours in different ways.

Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, MLK, Gandhi, JFK and Warren Buffet all have just 24 hours a day, not a second more and look what they accomplished. I can hear the collective: “But… they have other people helping them with a lot of their work.” That is true NOW - NOT when they first started. Let’s face it - everyone has to start somewhere.

"Ordinary people think merely of spending time.
Great people think of using it."


When people feel like their time is being spent on very valuable things, they may still run out of time, but there is a completely different level of fulfillment involved.

In the September/October 2005 issue of The Futurist examined Americans’ use of time. According to the article, the common perception that there just isn’t enough time isn’t supported by the stats from a national study using time-diaries. Basically, the findings show that Americans average 35 hours per week of work time and 35 hours per week of free time. This is much more time than what most Americans perceive.

“One reasons for this is that there are many businesses who make money if you don’t feel like you have enough time. Everything from self-help books to prepared foods to services depend on people who feel like they are too busy.

So where does all the free time go? According to the article, over half of it is spent watching television. (However, the article notes that time spent watching television isn’t any higher than it was in 1990.)”

"Time sneaks up on you like a windshield on a bug."
John Lithgow
(born 1945, American actor, musician, poet and author.)

The trick to having enough time is making sure that it is spent on things that you feel are important. This means setting priorities and deciding what is actually valuable to you ahead of time.

Although you won’t actually end up with more time, by spending your busy and free time on things that you feel are truly valuable you can increase your satisfaction with how your time is spent.

"The greatest amount of wasted time
is the time not getting started."

Dawson Trotman
(1906–1956, evangelist, crusader and founder of The Navigators.)

Here are some time saving tips from the pros:

  • Track your time. Don’t think you waste your time? Track it for a week. If you really want to get depressed, have a friend with a child track his/her time and compare the results. This helps you figure out how you’re spending your time and if you’re doing what you want to do be doing. Track your time for a week using various categories, such as sleep, work, food, household tasks, family time and exercise.

  • Make a 'To Do' List/Schedule. The simple act of writing things down on paper has the psychological benefit of making them seem less immense and more accomplishable.

  • Plan and Set Deadlines. Set targets to complete a small number of tasks each month. One of the biggest blockers of progress is being overwhelmed by trying to complete too many tasks at once. Multi-tasking is just a modern day euphemism for being disorganised. Better to concentrate on one task at a time and get it done properly, starting with the highest priority item and working down your list in that order.

  • Prioritize your daily actions, errands and tasks on a 'To Do' list. If you don’t put your priorities first, it won’t matter how fast you work or do things, you may never get to what is important. If you think something is going to take two weeks, start on it a week before it’s due. Force yourself to work more efficient by eliminating dead time.

  • Know Your Obligations. It is common to over commit your time if you are not aware of all your obligations. You need to make a commitment list. List out and budget all of your commitments from work, life, and community. Only then can you know your remaining time balance.

  • Break larger actions/tasks into smaller ones. It is easy to be over-awed by the size of some tasks and often in our minds molehills can quickly turn themselves into mountains. The bigger the task becomes, the less likely we are to start it.

  • Don't Try to Do Everything Yourself. Ignore, minimize or outsource everything else. At a certain point, the only way to get more done is to have someone help. The biggest show stoppers here are some people have trouble letting others help because they feel that no one can do it as well as they can or we flat out don’t think of it. What activities would you rather expel from your schedule? I bet housework, laundry and grocery shopping are on that list. We rarely think to outsource laundry or housework. We think it’s too pricey or we look down on ourselves for not being able to keep up with our chores. Yet, we think nothing of outsourcing our childcare. For many people, outsourcing house stuff means more time with kids and more time spent doing things they love.

  • Spend your spare minutes doing joyful activities - Have this time set aside on your 'To Do' list. Make a list of meaningful activities that take 30 minutes or less. Fill your day with more 'nice' things to do. Schedule an hour for a soak in the tub or at the gym. Plan that 30 minute break to read another chapter in your favorite book. Behaviorists say that the more you do the more productive you will be, but what’s less obvious is the more you do the more efficient you will be. When you have a hundred things happening at once you can get in the zone and get more done more quickly.

  • Say NO. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to take on burdens that do not belong to them. When you don’t say no, you find yourself doing other people’s work. This happens both in the workplace and in day-to-day life. Ever find yourself doing something you didn't want to do and felt "suckered" into; or doing someone else’s job - Simply because you didn't say NO?

  • Reduce your 'Life Frictions'. Life Friction is self-inflicted time management. In other words, you create your own crises by your own actions and disorganization. Life friction means extra re-work, increased stress, and wasted time. Ever get back from running errands and realize you have to go back out because you forgot something?

  • Reduce Lolly-gagging and wasted time. You don’t need to spend every second of the day under a stopwatch, but be aware of when you waste time whether it is gossiping, surfing the Internet, or recapping the weekend for the third time. Know anyone who takes two hours after getting up to be ready to meet the day or who arrives late to work and then spends the next hour and 15 minutes getting ready to start working?

  • Finish What You Start. When you don’t finish tasks, you are only creating more work for yourself. Tasks undone actually create more work for you. They take more time to pick back up when you return to them. They create unnecessary complications when you leave them to the last minute.

  • Just Do It. If you feel that your personal time/task management process is growing into an uncontrollable monster or that you are spending too long trying to do the item perfectly, just remember the concept of Just Do it – JDI. The concept is simple and straightforward – stop procrastinating and just get the job done.

  • Revisit your schedule regularly. Check in with yourself weekly to see if your schedule reflects what you want it to. Now understand that it’s not easy making changes and of course tons of interruptions will pop up from time to time. However, if you stick with it and try your best to avoid interruptions and distractions, it’ll get easier.

"A year from now you will wish you had started today."
Karen Lamb
(American author)

To assist you into determining just where you can “catch time”, download this article (@ and print the two logs on the end of it. These logs will help you with the following exercises:

"The surest way to be late is to have plenty of time."
Leo Kennedy
(1907–2000 a Canadian poet and critic in social criticism)

Tracking Activities-Actions-Tasks: For one week track all your start and stop times for each activity and or task you do each day from sun up to sun down.

Tracking Movements: The next week track your “movements”. Every time you leave a room in your house or leave home - list from where to where, when and why, in your log.

At the end of these two weeks go back and look at your logs. Make a note of the routine tasks, like sleeping, getting up and getting dressed, going to the grocery store, making meals, etc. Make a note of how many times you are traveling from one side of the house to the other or zigzagging all over town when you are running errands.

  • Do you set an alarm clock to wake you up?
  • Do you set out what you are going to wear the next day? Is it handy to where you do your daily 3-S’s (sh_t, shower, shave)?
  • Do you have a ‘To Do List’ for each day, ready the night before? Do you set time frames for this list?
  • Do you plan your errands in advance so that you are traveling the shortest distance throughout the day?

"You will never 'find' time for anything.
If you want time, you must make it"
Charles Buxton
(1823–1871, English brewer, philanthropist, writer and Member of Parliament.)

When you take control and plan out these activities and tasks, that will help you “catch time”.

"A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last.
Both do the same thing; only at different times."
Baltasar Gracián y Morales, SJ
(1601–1658, was a Catholic Priest, Spanish Jesuit, author and baroque prose writer.)

My Thanks go to the following for all the great information and tips:

Mark Shead of Productivity 501
John Suter of Money Saving Challenge
Donald Latumahina of Life Optimizer
Robert Pagliarini of Money Watch on BNet
Craig Jarrow of Time Management Ninja
Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. is an Associate Editor at Psych Central
Laura Vanderkam book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. She is a member of USA Today's Board of Contributors, and her work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Scientific American, Wired, The American, Portfolio and other publications.
Stephen Covey book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Ket-Sang Tai's blog on successful multi-level marketing
The Futurist magazine

"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule,
but to schedule your priorities."

Stephen R. Covey
(1932, Author (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), professional speaker, professor, consultant, management-expert) 

Use the following Priorities

  • Important but Not Urgent This includes education, reading self-improvement or financial books, going to the gym, spending time with love ones etc. These are all very important but not urgent.
  • Important and Urgent These are things like fixing a leaking pipe, going to the doctor because you are ill, paying your credit card bill when the due date is tomorrow, etc.
  • Not important but Urgent Examples of these are dry cleaners, grocery store, buying the lottery ticket for tonight, bidding on something on eBay which is ending soon etc.
  • Not important and Not Urgent These include watching TV, reading non educational magazines, going out to dinner or a movie etc.
  • Spontaneous/Unexpected These things are items you did not even think about. A friend comes to your door for a surprise lunch date. Publishers Clearinghouse comes to your door with a big fat check. You have vehicle problems when out and about. The power goes out or a water pipe bursts and stuff like that.

"The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: I DID NOT HAVE TIME."
Franklin Field
(British author)


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