A Time Journal Can Change Your Life

Nobody ever has any time. Lack of days, lack of hours, lack of minutes. So much stuff to do, so little time. It’s the refrain of the modern life.

But the problem is, for most of us that isn’t true. There are 24 hours in the day. 168 hours a week. 730 hours a month. Even if we actually slept 12 hours a night, that’s a lot of time we’re wasting, just slipping away unnoticed. Time you could be spending with friends, or writing your novel. And that’s where keeping a time log comes in handy.

It can sound intimidating, writing down everything you do during the day and how long you do it for. But the very first step recommended for someone trying to lose weight is to keep a daily journal of what they eat, and the same principle applies here. You can’t fix a problem until you can stand back and see it clearly, whether it’s sugar and calories, or too much social media time.

There are apps for this, but some prefer the old fashioned keep-a-notebook method. Every few hours, take a moment to mark down exactly what you’ve done. Showering. Eating breakfast. Commute time. It’s important to do this for a whole week at least, since a Sunday can be so different than a Tuesday. But tracking one week will give you a daily picture of your hours that can help you see where the leaks are, and where you can improve your own efficiency.

Now, everyone wastes time, and no one should feel guilty about that. The point of keeping a time log should not be shame, and it shouldn’t be trying to fit even more things into your schedule and cause more stress either. But think about all the things you wish you had more time for. The park. Hanging out with your boyfriend. Reading. Going to the gym. Once you see how many hours you are losing in meaningless things, you can reallocate some of your time to the stuff that really matters.

When you look at your finished weekly time log, ask yourself a few questions:

●      What is working here? What part of my schedule is useful, what is absolutely necessary?

●      Where in my schedule is my “me” time? How much time do I actually spend a week on the things that give me the most happiness?

●      Where are the leaks? Where is time being wasted on things that don’t matter, like social media or TV?

●      What do I want to add to my schedule? Classes? Hiking? More time with the dog?

●      Where are the activities that need to be on my schedule, but are taking longer than they should? For instance, does getting motivated to go to the grocery store take you a whole extra hour? After yoga class, are you justifying a lot of couch recovery time, perhaps too much?

With a little tracking, and a lot of thoughtful contemplation, a time log can help you fit more joy and happiness in your life.