Your 3 steps to 30 hours of free time

You trudge through another 8 hour day of answering emails, handling angry clients, and filling your time with stressful busywork, all in the hope of reaching those few hours of relaxation in the evening.

But first you have to brave the hoards of traffic to get home, and once you’re there, you still don’t have relief—dinner has to be made, laundry has to be done, the house is a mess, and all of the sudden your evening of rest has turned into more work.

So how do you escape it?

The answer is simple: time management.

Though it’s something that you likely do at work, you probably aren’t implementing at home.

If you take your ability to manage meetings, deadlines, emails, and daily tasks at work and apply that to your life outside of the workplace, I think you’ll find you have a lot more time than you think.

Allow me to explain.

There are 24 hours in a day. Let’s say you get a healthy 8 hours of sleep each night (studies show that adults aged over 24 need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night, so if you’re getting less, this is the first adjustment you need to make).

So, 8 subtracted from 24 leaves you with 16 waking hours a day.

You spend 8 of these hours at work, leaving you with 8 hours. If we lean on the long side for commute and say it takes you an hour to and from the office, you are left with 6 hours of free time a day.

That’s 30 hours of free time, just on weekdays.

How are you spending your 30 hours?

Time management, as I said, is essential to making sure these hours don’t slip through your fingers. You should be putting just as much effort into your home life as your work life. After all, your work life exists to make your home life possible.

So what’s the point if you’re wasting your time?

Step 1: Prioritize and Minimize

Try making a list of all the things you have to do—grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, you name it. How often are you doing these things? Which are the most important?

Set specific days and times—think of them as appointments—for all the things you have to do.

If you’re grocery shopping more than twice a week, chances are you aren’t shopping with a plan in mind. Try deciding what you want to eat for the week in advance, and make a list accordingly.

If you’re doing laundry more than once a week, you’re wearing the same clothes too often. If you’re spending your evenings cleaning and organizing, it’s time to push that off to the weekend, when you have another 36 hours of free time at your fingertips.

Chores my be inevitable, but they don’t have to take over your time. As long as your are efficient and systematic about when and how you do them, they will barely make a dent in your prized free time.

Step 2: Self Examine

First, ask yourself (and really think about it!): What do I want?

And, to follow up: Am I doing what I want with my 30 hours? Are there things I want to do that I’m not doing?

Unless all you want is watching Netflix or the news and looking nervously at the clock to count down the increasingly small amount of free time you have left, I think I know your answer.

So then, you have to ask yourself, how do I start doing what I want?

Which brings us to Step 3: Be Decisive

How many times have you vacillated over wanting to do something—whether its as simple as your favorite hobby or as big as taking steps to break free of your current 9 to 5 gig—and then done nothing instead, because you’re tired or feel you don’t have the time?

Well, as long as you are doing nothing, you will always be tired and will never have the time. And besides, you do have the time. Now you know that you have 30 hours that are completely yours every week.

How much is your time worth to you?

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