When you actually track your time, you gain clarity. You become aware of where your time goes, and you automatically make more time for your true priorities.
For instance, let me ask you right now how much TV you think you watch in a day. If you’re like me, you probably say, “Oh, an hour or two. But really, I’m not a TV person.” And yet, A.C. Nielsen, the television-monitoring company, says the average American watches four hours per day. To which I say: “Well, not me! Oh, yeah, I did watch that movie the other night . . . and of course I watch the news . . . and I binged on Breaking Bad for a while . . .” Sound familiar?
My point is this: Few of us actually know the time costs of our daily routines. And that knowledge is key in helping us make better choices.
So I’ve designed this tool to help you identify what you do in a day, hour by hour. First, I’d like you to estimate how much time you think you spend on the following daily activities:
Now, spend a day tracking each of those activities. By the end of the day, your list might look like this:
Grooming (showering, etc.) Eating/preparing meals Commuting/working TV/social media
7 hours 1 hour 1.5 hours 9 hours 1.5 hours 2 hours 22 hours
Those are the actual numbers from my client Emily, a mother of two and a CEO of a For- tune 100 company. Note that at the end of her 24-hour period, Emily had two hours left in her workday! That’s 10 free hours a week, plus weekends—enough for a part-time job!
I know what you’re thinking: Emily’s list didn’t include all those errands a person needs to run. What about doctor appointments, movie dates, visits with friends? What about laundry?
Relax. My point is this: It’s easy to chew up those extra hours running out for milk, or polishing doorknobs, or talking to your neighbor. But if you’re making you a pri- ority, then even a Fortune 100 executive has time to squeeze in 30 minutes to sweat. Or to schedule a class, take up a hobby, or do something else that will support her best self.
So now take your own inventory with the Time Audit tool below. Be honest! If you find you’re spending a couple hours a day doing things in your “Other” category (running to Starbucks, playing computer solitaire, researching Jennifer Aniston’s pregnancy status), I’m going to show you how to switch things up and honor your priorities. I want you to end each day knowing you’ve done something you loved and honored what was really important to you. What else is time for?
Now it’s your turn.
This is an excerpt from The Right Fit Formula