Have you ever read “The Bank of Time?” It’s one of my favorite inspirational stories:
Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day.
Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.
What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course?
Each of us has such a bank. It’s name is TIME.
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.
Every night it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose.
It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you.
Each night it burns the remains of the day.
If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against “tomorrow.”
You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success!
The clock is running!! Make the most of today.
To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who just missed a train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask someone who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal at the Olympics.
Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with. And remember time waits for no one.
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why its called the present.
I share this because if succeeding at life is a priority for you, it’s imperative to know how you’re spending your time.
“Tell me how you use your spare time, and how you spend your money, and I will tell you where and what you will be in ten years from now.” – Napoleon Hill
Do you ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done? Do you know how much time you spend working everyday? How about how much time you spend on your phone? Do you ever feel like you’re wasting time?
I’ve been guilty of wasting time and still am today, but I’ve grown to better recognize when I’m doing it and to refocus. I’ve also learned that having kids limits my “free” time, so I better become more efficient.
Here’s some data for you to consider:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s how the average American spent their time in 2016 (There’s a more current study greatly influenced by the pandemic which you’ll find on their site).
- 8.77 hours personal care including sleeping
- 1.08 eating and drinking
- 1.07 household activities
- .50 purchasing goods and services
- 8.28 hours working
- 3.13 leisure
Here’s an ugly number; the average American spends 2 hours and 54 minutes a day on their phone.
It’s been found that our minds wander 46.9% of the time. So, going back to the idea that there are never enough hours in the day may or may not be true. Perhaps we’re simply not effectively utilizing those hours.
Here’s the bottom line; the only way to know if you’re using your time well, is to know how you’re using your time. That’s where a time audit comes in.
The end result is becoming more efficient and optimizing your working hours. This might result in you being able to spend considerably less time working, or becoming a lot more productive.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is a time audit
- How to do it
- The way forward
Let’s get started.
What is a time audit
An audit is “An official inspection of an individual’s or organization’s accounts, typically by an independent body.”
For purposes, the “account” are your time usage, and the “independent body” is you.
A time audit is simply keeping track of how you spend your time by periodically reviewing your activity over the course of the day. As I mentioned earlier, this is the only way to know how you’re truly spending your time.
How to do it
It used to be that attorneys were one of the only professions to track billable hours, but that’s becoming more and more prevalent. If you’re not accustomed to tracking your time, this will be more difficult for you at first.
Increments of time
The first thing to do is to decide on what increments of time you’re going to track. I recommend starting with 20 minutes.
That means you need to account for everything you did during that 20 minute time period. It’s imperative you be brutally honest about it. If you moved between email, to social media, to reading an article, great! Record everything you did during that 20 minutes.
Ideally, you’ll get to the point you’re only doing one thing at a time, and you’re laser-focused on doing it. This will result in great productivity and efficiency. Until you get there, start a list of the different activities and “things” you’re spending your time and attention on.
Here are some common examples:
- Customer service/support
- Personal development
- Professional development
- Client work
- Business development
You get the idea.
There are great apps and software to help you with this, but as you’re getting started, I recommend simply using pen(cil) and paper. You can use a notepad, or print off templates to make it easier.
You should start tracking as soon as your productive working time begins. So, if you start at 7am, that’s when you should start tracking. When you’re getting started, set a timer for 20 minutes, and audit the previous 20 minutes. Continue doing this throughout the course of your day.
As you get better and become more focused, you can switch from 20 minutes to one hour. All in all, I recommend you spend two weeks auditing your time.
The way forward
One of my favorite sayings is, “Live by priority, or you’ll live by pressure.”
When you know how you’re using your time, and you know you’re using it efficiently, you’re living by priority. When you’re always behind, constantly running late, and feeling frazzled and stressed, you’re living by pressure.
The idea is to live more by priority, and to live on our terms. You’re doing that when you know how you’re spending your time.
I welcome you to check out the Strive Online Bootcamp. During the two week virtual experience, you’ll detox your mind, body and money. It could be just what you’re looking for.
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