This is all too true. We all think we need more time, but often all we really need is to get more value out of the time that we have. And by that I don’t mean attempting to multi-task even more things than you probably already do. Instead, I mean to actually assign a value to the things you do daily to determine if they are worthwhile.
Ideally, something should either be fun or enhance your monetary or emotional state. So, let us examine a few time killers and find ways to maximize their value while minimizing the time spent on the activity.
Talking to Family or Friends
This is my biggy. Ever since I left home eight years ago and got married, I have called my father at least twice a week. Sometimes it feels more like an apology for not being their with him than an honest-to-goodness back-and-forth. These calls can be emotionally fulfilling but sometimes I let them continue until he is ready to go instead of suggesting that I need to go for work.
We have an old executive timer for timing phone calls, and my iPod has a timer. I need to work on limiting my calls to less than one hour twice per week by setting a timer for 45 minutes that will cue me in that it is wind-up time. I could also jot down things I want to talk about throughout the week to leave less dead air on the line which will make the car seem more valuable even though it is less time. I will still receive the emotional comfort but not take away from my work or quiet moments.
Reading is something that both Amanda and I do a lot of, so it is very fun and, at times, emotional rewarding and monetarily valuable as we read for work or professional pursuits as well as pleasure. How can we extract the maximum value from reading? By keeping books and other interesting works to read on our phones and portable devices that we carry with us at all times.
This allows us to read at odd moments where we would otherwise spend time staring at the wall or flipping through a pamphlet on sterilizing bottles or elder care because it is the only thing available. I have taken to reading in this really awkward time frame when my husband jumps up to take care of the supper dishes in the middle of a movie (which I pause). Sometimes this will stretch up to half an hour – that can be a fourth of a book in some instances. I am still enjoying my activity but doing more of it in gaps of time that would be wasted without literature.
I have addressed the dangers of spending too much time trying to save money unless you have a lot of time on your hands because of a disability or a job or activity that features slow periods without anything else to occupy your time. Coupon for the things you already buy and avoid spending over a couple of hours a week on the activity – max. This will make the work a good value as you will save money without wasting the only thing you cannot get back – time. You can always reearn an extra $1.00 spent, but the hour you spent trying to save it is finished.
While the above are only three examples of examining value, they encompass fun, monetary worth, and emotional fulfillment, so you can see the thought processes and involve similar principles in your day-to-day life.