clockIf I earned a dime for every time I heard someone say, “I don’t have time”, I would be rich (even after self-employment taxes :>).

– “I don’t have time to work out.”
– “There aren’t enough hours in the day to get more sleep.
– “I don’t know where I would fit that graduate course into my schedule.”
– “If I had more time, I would ________ (fill in blank).”

Sound familiar?  I know that I’m guilty.  Although it has taken me 40 years, I’ve finally accepted that the 25-hour day won’t be a reality in my lifetime.  Also, I’ve realized that whining about needing more time doesn’t get anything accomplished.

The truth is, we spend our time exactly how we choose.  Although we prefer to rationalize that we don’t have a choice, we always do.   Is someone holding a gun to your head to keep you at the office late?  Doubtful.

While I may not be able to convince you to leave the office earlier, I have discovered a little trick that allows me to accomplish a lot more each day, with hardly any change to my life.  I’m excited to share it and see if it works for you.

On our daily “to do” list, we typically have two general types of tasks:

1)      Lengthy tasks that take up to an hour or more such as working out, cleaning the garage, writing an article, a work project, etc.

2)      Quick tasks that take less than 15 minutes such as scheduling a haircut, responding to an e-mail, paying a bill, setting up a meeting, etc.

And, throughout the day, our chunks of time typically fall into two general buckets:

1)      Large chunks of time of an hour or more – perhaps before dinner, after the kids go to bed or on Saturday mornings

2)      Small chunks of time of about 15 minutes including before a meeting starts, waiting for dinner to cook, our commute on the bus, etc.

When we have time (large or small chunks), our tendency is to get the quick tasks completed first because: 1) they are easy, and 2) it makes us feel accomplished.  We can check something off of the list – whoo hoo!

The problem:  We end of using 90-minute chunks of time to call the Dentist, check our e-mail, and scan Facebook instead of working out or tackling the mess in the garage.   Then, when we have a 15-minute period of time before dinner, we have already completed our “quick tasks” for the day and it doesn’t make sense to write that article or get dressed for a jog.

The trick is simple.  As you begin your day, identify your 15-minutes tasks and match them up with your 15-minute chunks of time.   Save your “hour plus” chunks of time throughout the day for the lengthy tasks.

And if you still continue to skip those workouts or start that graduate class or clean the garage, it may be that it isn’t “time” that is the barrier, but rather a convenient excuse for something you just really don’t want to do.  Doh!

Try it for a week. You may be surprised at how much more you accomplish in the same 24 hours/day that you had last week.

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