How many times do you think you have said to yourself, There just isn’t enough time in the day? It is easy to feel overworked and overwhelmed in our society where constant-connectedness is king.
Often we find ourselves ruled by our schedules—myself included—so much that we don’t feel like we have time for ourselves. Recently I caught myself using time as an excuse for not doing things that bring me joy—I love to read but I just don’t have time or I planned to go for a run but there was just no time today—so I’m in the middle of an experiment to take back control from the clock.
To do this experiment, all you need is a time-tracking app. After much research and trial-and-error, I recommend using Hours, which has an easy-to-use website and app and offers the first 30 days of its upgraded version free (which is well under what you’ll need for this experiment).
Once you sign up, you’ll want to set up two clients: Personal and Professional. From there, begin to add projects that you want to track. For example, in my Personal client, I have projects such as Watching TV, Appointments, Cleaning, Cooking/Eating and more. Under Professional, my projects include Women’s Running and E-mail.
Once those are set up, you really have done the bulk of the work—and it is super easy to add new projects as you need them—and are ready to track your time.
Keeping Up With Tracking
I leave the app open on my phone and as I start an activity, I simply click the ‘clock’ icon next to that specific project. When I’m done, I click the ‘clock’ again to stop the timer and move on to my next task or project of the day. Of course, I don’t track everything—there is nothing to track when I am in the bathroom, for instance—and some projects fall into a gray area, so I choose what I think is most fitting to track.
If you forget to track part of your day, Hours makes it super easy to go back and add a timer in where you may have missed something. Adjusting timers is simple, as well, and all can be done with a click of a button on your phone.
What You’ll Learn
So why are you tracking your time and how will this help you find time to work out? Well, after two weeks, you will have a pretty good snapshot of where and how you are spending your time every day. It is easy to feel like you don’t have enough time to get things done, but once you can visualize where you are spending the majority of your time each day you may be surprised at what you find. You will also be a lot more aware and mindful as you are tracking before you do an activity.
The main purpose of this experiment is to, of course, find the time to work out. Did you spend more time watching TV than you thought you do? Cut back and hour a week and use that time to work out, instead. Are you working eleven hour days (instead of the eight hours required)? See if there are things you can delegate to make time for a lunchtime workout or ask your coworker to have a ‘walking meeting’ and brainstorm on-the-go.
Having a visual look at your time is a great way to see where your time is going now and shift your priorities to make time for things that are important to you.