Try writing down everything you do in 30-minute blocks from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed. It’s extremely tedious, but doesn’t take as much time as you think.
Be honest with yourself in this exercise.
First, because nobody is watching.
Next, because the goal is just to be honest with yourself.
- Where does most of your free time go?
- What are you doing at night that affects your morning the next day?
- What are you eating at 1 pm that makes you utterly exhausted by 3 pm?
Try being a bit more observant of your days and simply watch for the cause and effect of your actions.
You went into your inbox to send one very specific email, and now you’re stuck in the vortex scrolling on Reddit. How exactly did that happen?
Get a nice journal. Try not to do this with your phone, as that may draw you into unnecessary activity. Start the day with an overview of what you plan to do, and see if you can follow that plan through. If you can’t stick to the schedule that you made for yourself, identify the sticking points and resolve them.
At the end of the day, do a quick 10-minute recap and look for areas that you can improve. Work at your day like a systems engineer, not an archeologist. Build some predictability in and less surprise.
The goal isn’t to be perfect. You’re just trying to be a little better today than yesterday.
Tracking your day might sound pretty boring. It may turn out to be pretty boring, actually. But you’d be surprised how boring days, stacked back-to-back for months on end, can lead to really exciting years.
The first step in taking your time back is knowing where it goes.
Time is the only resource that compounds faster than money.