How to Find More Time, Part One — Plans

Posted in self help by Steph Auteri on December 13, 2007
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With 40+ hours a week in the city, additional hours working on freelance projects at home, and other extracurriculars such as choir and, um, life, time is something that always seems to be in short supply.

And with the holidays adding even more mania to the proceedings, I figured it was a good time to re-read Laura Stack‘s Find More Time.

The book is split into eight sections, or pillars: Plans, Priorities, Personality, Pests, Possessions, Paper, Post, and Play (utilizing the quizzes at the front of the book, you can determine which pillar is most in need of some shoring up). Following one piece of advice in the first chapter — break larger projects into smaller ones — my posts on the the tips in this book will come in eight installments.

If you’re anything like me, the posts this book is inspiring will be a huge help.

So, to begin:

  • Draw up a mission statement. Writing up such a thing will aid in the decision-making process, helping you evaluate the way you spend your time, and the things that are most important to you. My personal mission statement includes my grand scheme to take over the world via written word, my desire to constantly learn and experience new things, and my urge to start a family. When forced to choose a path, consider which one takes you closer to your goals, or is more in keeping with your higher values.
  • Make a list of your goals and dreams. Actually if you think of your dreams more as goals, and write them down in the manner of a to-do list, you’re more likely to accomplish them, as they’ll seem so much more attainable! I plan on going hang gliding, learning the ukulele, learning how to use the manual settings on my camera, getting published in Bitch magazine, etc.
  • Break larger projects into smaller ones. As I’m doing with this series of blog posts on finding more time, so you should do in, well, just about every large project that comes your way. For example, if you have “put together an album for Papa” on your to-do list (which I totally do; it’s for his Christmas gift), break it down into: 1. Look through photo albums for best pics. 2. Scan pics. 3. Order prints. 4. Purchase photo album. 5. Fill photo album. 6. For the love of god, just get it wrapped and under the tree! Stop procrastinating! (Whether or not the tree is actually decorating is a whole other matter entirely.)
  • Be prepared. Or in other words, plan in advance. On The Big Bang Theory the other night, Sheldon tells Penny that she should be buying her tampons in advance, as she’ll “be needing them for at least the next 30 years.” While it’s really an inappropriate topic of conversation, he has a point. Make sure you’re stocking up on things before you need them. It will prevent stress later on when, say, you run out of birth control pills and you and your paramour really want to get with each other.

Check out the book, and Stack’s website, for even more tips! Next up: Priorities.


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