Have you ever considered using time management to manage your personal time?
How many of us admit to having too much free time. I’m talking free time where you have nothing to do, literally nothing, nada, zilch?
I’m guessing it’s not you, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. Or maybe this IS what you do in your free time, I’m not judging!
Most of us never think about using time management to organise our personal lives. Yet we think our lives are so full that we never get time to relax, never mind making more time to start, set up or grow your own business.
But if you dream of creating a profitable side hustle (that’s the hip term for making a bit of extra money on top of your day job, just in case you didn’t realise!), then something has to give.
To be able to start on your road to your dream you need to create time to be able to work consistently on your business.
How much free time do you currently have?
There are very few people who have absolutely no time to do anything!
I know, I can hear you shouting at me that you literally have NO FREE TIME in your day, but I’m here to say that is unlikely.
It may be that you are exhausted and don’t want to do something.
Or maybe the stuff you NEED to do is not as exciting as something you ENJOY doing. But these are all different issues to having NO TIME
If your side hustle requires more of your time than you have available then you need to do something to actively make more time.
Let me show you how you can make more time in your week.
The time management technique to create more time
During my consultant days, I often had to improve organisational processes. This improvement required doing a time management process to create a time-saving from either people or automated processes. To be able to identify where time-savings could be made there is a specific technique I used to do. This technique can be easily adapted to make more time in your personal life.
The approach is easy, but you need to be honest.
The aim is to detail all the activities you do over a week and how long it takes you to do them. You can choose to exclude your time at work and sleep as these may be unchangeable. Although, it would also be interesting to see how much time you actually spend on these activities to see if there are any issues. We all know how easy it is to get sucked into staying late at work! And if this happens frequently, then you may need to decide how this can change.
The result of recording EVERYTHING allows you to see where you spend the most significant volume of your time. This gives you a clue on whether you can change any areas to gain a bit of extra time.
If tracking your time for a week seems like hard work, you could track your time over 1 day. But be aware that you get better results if you do it over the week as there are bound to be some activities you do on one day that you don’t do on another.
What you are trying to create is a time-map of your week. This map will direct you to the hot spots for where to delve deeper.
By taking this approach, you should be able to get answers to the following:
- Are you spending your days on the right things?
- How is your work-life balance?
- Is the start and end of the day affecting the activities you do?
- Are you doing the right tasks at the right time?
- What is the balance between spontaneous and planned activities?
- Are there any opportunities to redistribute tasks to other family members?
By following this approach, you should be able to look at tasks you perform often to see if there is a pattern or a more streamlined way of doing it. Streamlining your common ‘processes’ is the path to gaining extra time to spend on something more fulfilling.
To help you log and analyse your time, we’ve created a time-map worksheet for you to use. Why not download it and start tracking your time today.Get your time-map worksheet.
Track your time and manage it effectively
Follow these steps to record and evaluate your time to see where you can make time savings:
Step 1: Record the time you spend on activities.
And I mean really record it. Don’t guess. Include everything from a quick browse on Facebook to loafing in front of the TV.
Do it in either 15 or 30 minute blocks and record it as you go. If you don’t, you are bound to forget what you were ‘actually’ doing and for ‘how long’.
Step 2: At the end of the week, review the data.
Brainstorm the observations, opportunities, and issues to see if there are any alternative ways of doing things.
Step 3: Create an action plan to take advantage of the opportunities.
Examples of where you could better manage your time
Here are a few time management ideas that may help you create some free time in your busy days.
Shopping – if you do a weekly supermarket shop, this could be broken down as follows (the bracketed times are the times it takes me):
- Writing a list (10 minutes)
- Time taken to get there and back (at least 40 minutes)
- Shopping time (50 minutes)
- Packing away time (15 minutes).
By switching to online shopping and creating a favourites list for my chosen supermarket, I save loads of time. I no longer have the drive time, and the shopping time is reduced by 20 minutes. To further improve this, I put a board in the kitchen and ask Mr H to add anything he finishes or notices we are running short of. I can even do the shopping while I’m watching the TV; a great bit of multitasking.
If you tend to shop whenever you run out of something, then the above approach will help you further. If you add up all the time spent on each of the individual trips, you’ll see this is an even more significant time drain.
Time saved – 30 minutes per week.
Watching TV – this is a bit of a challenge in my life. I know I spend FAR TOO MUCH time watching the TV, but equally, I find it relaxing. When I did my time log, I noticed I was spending at least 3 hours watching TV a night (I’m not proud of this!). While I often did other things at the same time, such as social media and googling, this had to mean that what I was watching wasn’t that interesting. So I decided to make a rule that I wouldn’t watch TV until 9 pm. This created masses of extra time. It also means that what I chose to watch is something I find entertaining rather than mundane time-wasting stuff.
Time saved – 1 to 2 hours a day, so potentially 14 hours a week!
Commuting to work – I’m lucky that the majority of my work is from home so this doesn’t really impact me. Yet, it is often a big chunk out of most peoples’ day, so to make good use of commuting time is vital. If you take public transport, take the opportunity to either catch up with social media (if that is your thing) or checking your emails and replying. Then make the decision to not do these activities outside of these times.
If you drive and never find the time to read, then why not get audio versions of the books and listen while you drive.
Potential Time saved – 5 hours a week.
Cooking – I found I spent on average 30-45 minutes working out what to eat and then cooking it each evening. The days that were more ‘efficient’ were the days where I could use a ready prepared meal. So I made it a mission to batch cook as much as I could. I even bought this Freezer book to give me lots of ideas.
I also started planning my meals at the start of each week. While this took only 5 – 10 minutes out of my day once a week, it saves the daily 5-10 minutes trying to work out what to have, asking Mr H what he wants and the inevitable indecision. This not only made evenings less fraught but helped with the weekly shopping as well. I now aim to have pre-cooked/prepared food at least 3 times a week.
Time saved – 1 1/2 hours over a week.
So in total, I carved out an extra 16 hours from my ‘busy’ life without too much bother. Admittedly, this has meant making drastic changes to my life. But I figure that if I carry on doing the same thing, then nothing will change and I won’t reach my goals, so changes needed to be made!
These are just a few ideas on how you can use time management to help you streamline your life to make room for doing something more interesting.
If you are determined to reach your goals, then taking the time to assess how you spend your time really will show you that you can carve out extra time to work on your side hustle.
I’d love to hear about anything you have changed that created more time for you to work on your creative side hustle.