Have you ever heard yourself say this before?
“I just don’t have time to ________!”
Being too busy in the short term is understandable; sometimes, things need all of your time and attention.
However, many people claim to be “too busy” for years and decades.
They were too busy five years ago, they’re too busy today, and they’ll be too busy five years from now.
It’s said that work expands to fill the time available to its completion; that if you have an hour to do 30 minutes worth of work, that 30 minutes of work will take an hour.
It’s a natural tendency to slack off when you have plenty of time, but if you do it too long, you start to believe that your efficiency when you have too much time *is* your (normal) efficiency.
I won’t tell you that you’re wasting half your time on mindless nonsense / browsing the internet / working with no focus (low efficiency) / watching porn / etc.; however, I propose that you do the following exercise:
For a week, do a 15-minute by 15-minute audit of your day.
That is, make a log of EVERYTHING you do for a full week.
8:00 Wake up
8:15 Lazying in bed
8:30 Check WhatsApp and social media
8:45 Brushed teeth
12:00 At work, doing ____
6:00 Commuting home while listening to an audiobook
and so on.
Do not change your behavior simply because you’re logging it. Remember that you want it to be an accurate representation of your daily life.
And be honest in your logs – they’re for you – you don’t have to show them to other people.
If you were at work and gossiping with your co-workers, write down “gossiping with coworkers”. If you were browsing the internet, write down “browsing the internet.” If you were taking a shit, write down “taking a shit”. If you were watching a YouTube video, write down “watching a YouTube video”.
Be honest, and don’t omit details.
At the end of the week, you’ll have a good representation of how your life really looks like.
Make a note of where you’re wasting time.
(Note that conscious leisure is essential; you need it to avoid burnout. On the other hand, gossiping, funny videos, mindlessly browsing the internet because you were bored, etc. are all wastes of time.)
Once you’re done with analyzing your logs, ask yourself the question once more:
“Do I really not have the time?”