We all know when the clocks ‘spring forwards’ we don’t actually lose an hour. But the truth is, until the clocks go back again in October, we sort of do. What is most interesting is how quickly we adjust to the change.
In all aspects apart from one key element, saving time is much like saving money. Some of us have more free time than others, but if we plan and budget well, we can usually save more of it to use on things we enjoy.
The key difference, of course, is that time, unlike money, is a finite resource and therefore more precious. Strange then that we don’t seem to mind losing an odd five minutes, or an hour here and there, as the spring switch to British Summer Time demonstrates so clearly. So based on our financial life planning principles here at Serenity, we present a few very simple ways to gain not just one hour, but perhaps a few extra each week, to spend on the truly important things in your life.
Step 1 – Ringfence time for the vital things
If you think back to when you first met your Serenity Financial Life Planner, you will remember the exercises we work through with you including filling out your heart’s core grid and jotting out your perfect day, week and year, based on the things that are most important to you in your life.
Before you begin working out what time you can save, just as you would with finance, make sure you have set aside enough for the essentials! Get a weekly planner and ringfence time for the things that were the two or three most important things in this exercise, such as health, family and friends.
Step 2 – Keep track of what you are spending
The next step, of course, is to write down how you are actually spending your time each day. It’s tricky to do, but hugely helpful in saving time, just as the process is with saving money. Plus nowadays apps such as Toggl mean you can simply tap a button on your phone every time you start a new activity and tap in a few words to say what you are doing so you’ll be able to see exactly how much time you spend doing different things throughout a week.
Step 3 – Identify the easiest ways to save
With money it’s usually those things like buying coffee or drinks from expensive vending machines instead of stocking up at the supermarket, but there will be obvious time vacuums in your life too.
The two most obvious candidates for adults in the UK are TV and social media. According to Review42.com internet users spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social media. Making sure we stick to just one hour per day on social media alone would mean gaining around an extra 14 hours per week of free time. And just think about how much of your TV time is spent flicking from channel to channel. Planning in times to view specific programmes on catch up TV can save you lots of time here.
Doing these three simple steps alone can save you a whole extra day a week, never mind the hour that you will probably forget about within a day or so. Taking it a little further and actively planning activities into your day can help you to become even more time efficient and with it, very likely more healthy, happy and relaxed.
Enjoy your extra free time.