"I know that keeping lists can be beneficial in terms of helping us figure out what's important. But if, as many of us did, you got carried away with your lists, you may have to reconsider and cut your lists back to more realistic proportions." Source: Elaine St. James, Living the Simple Life (Hyperion, 1996) "Reducing the volume of our activities makes it possible not only to ease time pressure but to get more out of life overall." Source: Ralph Keyes, TIMELOCK — How Life Got So Hectic and What You Can Do About It (HarperCollins, 1991)
STOP! Before you read any further, take out a piece of paper. Draw a large circle.
Look at the circle you've drawn and think of it as a clock with 24 hours. Halfway around would equal 12 hours.
Put a dot at the top of the circle and label that dot with the time you get up to begin your day. Put a second dot at the point on the circle proportional to the number of hours later when you go to bed. Draw a pie-shaped wedge to the center of your circle from the two dots.
For example, if you sleep about eight hours, your "sleep section" will fill about one third of your 24-hour clock.
Next, quickly think through a typical day. Divide the rest of the clock into wedges that show how much time is spent in other activities. Label the different areas: work, eating, meal preparation, commuting, personal grooming, work around house, watch TV, etc.
Do You Need a "Don't Do" List?
If you're like most people, your circle could use a few more hours to accommodate your daily "to do" list activities. Or, you might wish for extra hours to accomplish personal goals such as learning to speak another language.
Rather than adding "take a time management class" to your "to do" list, consider starting a "don't do" list. You may discover what the authors cited at the beginning of this article found: Doing LESS can bring MORE enjoyment to your life. Especially if doing less allows you to spend time doing more to contribute to your health and happiness!
Exercise and diet are two areas often given short shrift in the typical time-squeezed day. Yet they are important for our overall quality of life. Free up your time so you can achieve your personal fitness goals.
What Can You Stop Doing?
"Great idea," you may be saying, "but how?" Here are some tips from time-savvy ADA registered dietitians who were asked: What one or more things have you STOPPED doing to have more time to focus on eating healthy and exercising? Perhaps one will trigger a "don't do" for you.
"The most helpful thing that I can think of that I have done to make more time is that we moved our TV set out of our living room on the main floor of our home, to the rec room in our basement. I watch very little TV now that I have to make the intentional decision to go downstairs to watch it; what I do watch is usually planned watching and not something I just happened to get interested in because the set was on and it caught my eye. "I also refuse to buy any clothing for me or my family members that requires ironing."Now. Go back to the circle that you divided into time spent on daily activities. Look it over and ask "What can I leave out?" Start thinking "don't do" and start "don't doing" it NOW!