I'm hardly the first person to notice the term "making time" isn't accurate. There are 24 hours in a day, and that can't be changed no matter how much you try.
How to use that time is the tricky part. There are so many different things fighting to get a piece of that time. Right now I've got a pretty big mix of activities on my plate:
- Tasks that I have to do for other people. Some of these have hard deadlines, others do not. I get paid to do these.
- Clerical work. Writing/replying to emails, processing my inbox and my next actions list, checking all of my projects are up to date, creating a schedule, and managing financial records all fit in here.
- Things that need to be done to keep me functioning. Eating, drinking, sleeping, hygiene maintenance.
- Exercising. I do running and bodyweight exercises on alternating days, with Sunday designated as a rest day.
- Housework. This in includes cooking, cleaning, doing laundry (and putting it away), and walking the dog.
- Recreation. Reading, writing, creating software, and a million other projects that I want to do but probably never will.
- Time wasting. I don't plan this, but it tends to fill in the cracks between other activities.
These don't just take time, but energy as well. And like time, I can only spend so much energy without getting tired.
I've talked about measuring productivity; a big challenge for me is spending less time on low value activities. What counts as "value" is different for everyone, but for I want to change a couple of things:
- Spend less time on work – This one is tricky as it keeps a roof over my head and food on my plate. But I definitely want to re-balance my days so that work isn't always the primary focus.
- Spend more time on personal projects – There are lots of things I want to do, but it's really not possible for me to do them all. The last couple of years I've set myself GHD goals to try and focus myself, but I still struggle to complete the things on the list (and my list doesn't always contain things I actually want to do). I will probably tweak this approach for 2021.
- Waste less time – It's really easy to lose a lot of time to mindlessly browsing the web. It doesn't always happen in one go, but each 5 minute break quickly adds up. I'd like to replace this with low energy activities that I can do instead.
I'm not trying to be productive every single minute of the day - I don't think that's a particularly healthy way to live - but I want to spend more time finishing projects instead of just daydreaming about them.