Freedom = Free Time.
Today’s fast moving life some people find it hard to find some free time. We all are running a never-ending race and this race is not giving us a chance to cool down, revitalize and start over again. Imagine a sprinter stopping in the middle of race to start over again? What are his chances of winning the race? Answer is obvious isn’t it? In life we have the privilege to stop for a while but our eyes seem to be so focused on end goal that we tend to think that if we stop we are out of race.
Many people set their goals. With rising awareness of personal development many people have started thinking about their goals; some of them have also started writing them. The real game starts after that. How? Let me cite my personal example. I started off with writing my goals, one of them being reducing 10 kg weight. The fear of being obese or health risk was pushing me to create this goal. But that was just a first step. It required me to realign myself, my schedule to do something to achieve it. I started off with waking up early in the morning. A few days I was trying to wake up early, the alarm would buzz on and I would in my sleep buzz it off. After a few days I realized that my goal is making me uncomfortable. Many people leave their goal at that point. Feeling of discomfort makes some people go back to their shells. I would have been one but then with stories of people dying from heart blocks were alive in my mind. So I decided to make a heroic attempt to wake up. The next day I got up half an hour early. Kudos Yeah! I went for a walk. The next day history repeated and I was able to wake up the same time. This continued. That week was over. So I DECIDED to celebrate Sunday. Celebrations, partying lasted till mid night and the next day, you know what could have happened. I got 2 hours late. Again, I saw my goal moving miles away from accomplishment. To cut long story short, I realized I couldn’t accomplish my goal with the existing pattern of my mentality and habit.
Relating to this story, each one of us wants to achieve something’s in life. It could be achieving certain career goal, forming new habit, making those million $’s, getting back in shape. What is missing between wants and reality is a change of thinking pattern, a plan, creating a system to give you enough leverage in terms of free time to work on your goals and taking continuous action.
We will pick up one area in this blog of improvement. Let’s pick available or free time to work goals. Why free time is so important? Each one of us gets limited time in a day, in a week, in a month and in a year to work on our goals. We are all tied up with work, personal commitments, uncalled events that pop up suddenly. In the midst of this if we do not have enough free time to focus on our goals they would lay in old chest that would remain closed for ages until one day when you open it with your trembling, wrinkled fingers only to realize its tool late to work on them. Our goals are our identity and to fulfill them we need to find TIME & ENERGY.
How to find Free time?
Every person gets 16 hours (assuming 8 hours of sleep) to work on his/her goals. Travel time could be anywhere between 1-3 hours. That would take it available time to 13 hours. Work commitment is 8-9 hours which leaves 4-5 hours. Let’s take 50% of this time which is 2 ½ hours of free time. This time is good to start working on individual goals. It may not be sufficient as you progress on your goal and later you may need more time. To free up more time let me give you some tips. Some of them you may already know:
- Waking up ½ an hour to 1 hour early will make a huge difference. Morning time one’s mind is fresh to work on his goals. Catch is you have to go to bed early previous night. TV is a biggest spoiler. Avoid watching TV while going to bed. Cutting down watching TV by 1 hour each day gives you 7 hours of saving for a week which is 2 days in a month, which is ~ 1 month in a year.
- Keep things at same place where you picked them from. This will save time to find that item next time. Over one weekend spend some time ordering items that you need daily and place a label so that they are easily visible. Remove the clutter. Cluttered house creates a cluttered mind.
- Make a weekly planner on Sunday. You will know in advance how each day you are going to spend your time. You do not have to keep thinking and spending time over it on planning the next day. Some events may erupt suddenly which are not in your plan. That’s OK, keep some buffer time to work on them.
- Chatting takes away time. Keep conversations straight and simple while at work. At home you need free time with family, you need energy to play with your kid and do a lot of chatting.
- Thinking about doing a daunting task is in itself more daunting. How many times the earlier night you have kept worrying about how to do that complex task next day or how to talk to my boss or how to face that interview. Your job is to do homework, spare the thoughts. Just take action. If you have no control over thoughts, replace daunting thoughts with powerful one’s like “I have prepared myself well, I will do my best and leave the rest”. Or “I am ready. I do not fear results. I will do my best”. This will create internal harmony.
- Usually some people spend a lot of time travelling. They could use this time to read a book, to make those calls, to plan, to acquire new skill, to sell, to connect with distant relative you haven’t called for ages. When stuck in traffic some people get frustrated. What could they do? Keep a sandwich, a music or education CD. Play it in the midst of outside chaos with headphones ON, finish that sandwich. Soon you would realize that you have made better use of your time.
- Prioritize. Many a times we spend time on something that is not so important (may be urgent). If a lot of time in invested in priority 3 item, there may not be sufficient time to work on priority 1 item, one that will make a big difference. Give preference.
- Delegate. This is the most powerful tool, most managers use it. This will create possibility of getting your work done without much of your involvement plus the person whom you delegate gets a feeling of accomplishment of doing something for his friend, colleague, and boss. Of course this has to be supplemented with enough praise, appreciation, reward.
- Go slow on checking mails. Set a frequency. Many people keep sniffing mails every minute. That takes away several hours of their productive time. Avoid reading mails in first 2 hours at work. Focus on doing 1-2 important tasks during that time. Keep a specific interval for checking mail. Put a note on your email signature that you will be checking mails in specific intervals, however if there is something urgent you are reachable on your cell or desk phone.
- Acquire new skills like reading 1 page in 3 minutes, writing 1000 words in an hour, how to improve memorizing. These skills will speed up your knowledge acquisition and work delivery.
- Avoid spending over 15 minutes on social networking sites. They are addictive yet they are necessary for socializing. Fix up time that you are ready to invest (usually not over 15-20 minutes each day).
- Automate. Some tasks like replying back with Thank You over email could be automated. Some emails that you wish to send to multiple people could be scheduled using a scheduler. These days powerful scheduler like Boomerang (on Gmail) are available for free. One week, one month’s schedule can be setup on it.
- Meditate. Meditation is one powerful tool that will create more energy and trigger your brain to create new ideas. It takes our mind in zero and from zero this world gets created.
- Spend some money in outsourcing. Some tasks that do not require expertise can be outsourced at a meager price. This will save you the time and effort that you can invest on making millions.
- By ready to stretch. Many times we give up on that last item in the TO DO list due to lack of free time or energy. Take a 10 minutes break, listen to some soothing music and charge yourself up to finish that last item on your plate. Like how some people finish that last pie in their plate even though their stomach is saying a BIG NO.
Do these tips help you? These are icing on a piece of cake. I am baking whole Cake for you. It is called “The Kaizen Goal”. It’s a book with many ideas of being effective in life. It will guide you to accomplish any goal you set for yourself in life. Please feel free to share this blog or to comment. Thanks and God bless you.