I often find myself muttering the phrase “there just isn’t enough hours in the day” when feeling disheartened about not having done as much as I’d hoped that day. It wasn’t until recently that I realised just how much time we do actually have available to us and how much of it we waste. I’m saying we as if this is something that applies to everyone but maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it’s just me who hasn’t figured this out up until now, although I suspect it might be an eye-opener to at least some of you.
Following on from last week’s blog, I was trying to think of a way to create some pressure to see if it helped improve my productivity. So I bought a stopwatch. I thought if I started the stopwatch whenever I was working (and stopped it if I wasn’t) then the time ticking away might create a bit of pressure. I think it might have been a good plan but what was more important was what it showed my at the end of the day. When I decided I’d done enough I looked at the stopwatch and I’d done 6 hours and 54 minutes of work. Wow. I couldn’t believe I’d actually managed to do that much practice. But that wasn’t the best bit. I started to think about the day as a whole. So if I got up at 8am and went to bed at 11:30pm (ish!) then I’d been awake for 15.5 hours. So if I’d spent almost 7 hours of that time practicing then I hadn’t even used up half of my day. There’s still another 8.5 hours left. So let’s imagine I spent an hour getting ready in the morning (shower, breakfast etc.), I spent 90 mins at lunch time eating and then doing a few general household things and then in the evening we went food shopping and cooked a meal when we got home, let’s say another 90 mins. That makes 4 hours. So 4 hours plus 7 hours practicing equals 11 hours. There’s still another 4.5 hours unaccounted for. Just think about that for a minute. On that day I must have spent a total of 4.5 hours doing ‘other things’ such as checking Facebook and generally procrastinating. I was lay in bed thinking about this and I couldn’t quite believe it. I thought I must have mis-calculated the amount of hours I was awake for but no. The numbers are all right. Like I said this way of thinking may not be news to some people but it was a revelation for me. I find it amazing that I could easily spend an hour getting ready in the morning, have a 90 minute lunch break (which could be cut down to 30 minutes), 90 minutes to sit down and eat in the evening and still do 10 hours of practice (if my mind could cope with that much!) just by cutting the amount of time I spend doing not much at all in half. For those of you lucky enough to be able to function on less than 8 hours of sleep the possibilities are even greater.
So next time you feel overwhelmed by the apparent lack of time you have to get done what you need to get done just take a moment to analyse your day and how you’re spending it. With a little bit of thought and planning you could easily be on your way to having more control over your time and what you do with it.