Time Management Tools: Create More Free Time Than You Thought Possible

Get A Hold On It

Oh how the time just slips slides away! Time truly does fly – whether or not you’re having fun! We love time. Time is the best. We also hate any wasted time. We call wasted time ‘junk time’. We hate junk time. Awful stuff! Do you know why?

Time is actually the most important resource you have. It is the one thing in your life that is not renewable. It is precious. Once you spend it you can’t get it back. No matter what. You can never ever get time back. Worse still, you don’t even know how much you have to spend! You have no idea if you have 80 years to spend or 5 weeks to spend. And yet humans spend it without a second thought. Humans spend it like it’s going out of fashion. Don’t we? Don’t we spend hours surfing the web for no particular reason (every day)? Don’t we watch hours of TV often without even enjoying what we’re watching? Don’t we have to try to think of things to do so we can ’fill’ time? We even say things like ‘I’m just killing time’. Killing time? That’s the worst murder of all! Wasting something that has an end point which could be imminent? Scary stuff! We even let other people tell us how to spend our time.

So, can we now agree that your time is valuable? Good…I’m glad we agree! Now let’s look at how you’re spending your most precious resource of all.

How Do You Spend Your Time?

We truly hope you understand the value of your time. Time is not to be wasted. Have you been wasting yours? Or do you spend your time wisely? Whilst we now know that time can’t be gotten back, we can always save time. We can work faster. We can work smarter. Can’t we? And by doing these things we can save and even create time. We can achieve this because we can create more free time. Free time is the best time of all.

Free time is the time that you can choose how to spend – rather than others telling you how to spend it (like teachers or parents!) We want to create as much free time for you as we possibly can. We want you to study less and relax more. That’s right, we want you to spend less of your time studying, and much more of your time doing whatever it is you love to do! Sound like something that interests you? We hope so. We don’t want you to junk any more of your time.

So, how do you spend your time?

Time Saving Techniques

Let’s look at some ways to create more free time for yourself from today.

1. Create a calendar. Make sure you create a school calendar from today. Write down all the important dates – due dates for tests, exams, assignments and all other projects. Then (and this is the kicker) put in your new due date – two days before the real due date. That’s right, you’ll be making your own dates up and they will always allow you to relax – because you’ll be done early. Also put in when you will have drafts done. Make sure you add in the times when you’re going to be chill-axing – not just the times you will be working.

2. Make a task list to keep track of things you need to do on a daily basis. Humans love lists. And we love to tick items off the list. Use this to your advantage.

3. Add lots of short breaks into your study schedule. Four 15-minute breaks is one hour of free time. If you do that Monday to Friday that’s five extra hours of free time this week! If you don’t take breaks regularly your mind will wander anyway and you will be in a ‘junk time’ phase – where no work is being completed but you are still ‘studying’. If you feel like you’ve lost focus always take a break.

4. Always break large tasks down into bit size chunks. Sometimes when we look at a task to complete it seems so massive and hard to complete that we don’t even start it. It’s just too darn daunting! Don’t fall into this trap. 30 minutes here…30 minutes there…30 minutes everywhere. By spending just 30 minutes a day, once a day, from Monday to Friday on this massive task you will have advanced yourself 2 hours and 30 minutes in a week! By doing 45 minutes a day, once a day, you will have advanced yourself 3 hours and 45 minutes! This is from spending less than an hour a day. This approach is called time leverage. Understand how time leverage works and you will far more advanced than your school mates. Remember…you can get a long way by working less than an hour a day.

5. Tackle procrastination head on. If you are a procrastinator (and let’s face it most of us are…its ‘normal’ after all) then check out our series on procrastination: How To Beat Procrastination.

6. Do your work first. One of the biggest traps we all fall in to is pleasure first and pain last. You can’t fall in to that trap. You need to make a choice to do the opposite. Don’t feel bad if you can’t at first because this skill always proves to be one of the most challenging aspects of managing time effectively. But don’t give up. Put off all tasks or events that can be put off (in other words, those things you can actually control) and complete your work first. Your reward is relaxing later.

Most people will want to reward themselves first (ahhh…relaxing time me thinks!) and then hopefully do some study later (ahhh…study now? Or more relaxing time!?) If your inclination is to relax first just remember this: once the work is done there is no reason whatsoever to worry about it – you don’t have to stress. You can actually enjoy your free time because the task is done. When you relax first you will spend much of the time thinking and stressing about doing the task anyway. So do yourself a favor We want you to relax and enjoy yourself, we would never suggest you don’t do that, but learn how to say pain first, pleasure next. This is your new mantra.

7. Use your dead time wisely. There are certain times that are what we call ‘dead time’. Dead time is time when you’re not studying and it’s also not free time. It’s just dead time. For example, you might be walking the dog, riding your bike, sitting on the bus or in your parent’s car, or waiting at the train station for the train to come. This is time that isn’t used for anything much – so start using it.

Maybe you can make a recording of the notes you must memorize and you can listen to them during these times? Maybe you have some flash cards you made and can use the time to look over them? Maybe you have an oral examination coming up and can practice your speech? Maybe you can just read through your text book? The point is, take your dead time and make it time well spent. 15 minutes spent studying whilst on your way home from school is 15 minutes you don’t have to spend studying later that night.

8. Don’t be a study martyr. No one wants to – or can – study all the time. Your life is not about study (although it might feel like it from time to time!). If you plan your time and use your time wisely you will have much more time to spend doing the things you love to do. And that’s what your ‘time’, and your life, is all about. Seriously.

It’s Your Time

We truly hope you value your time. Your time is very important and very valuable. Remember, your time is limited – you can never get it back. Never waste any of your time. Never allows others to waste your precious time. Make every day, make every hour, make every minute, make every second, count. Save as much time as you possibly can. Spend as much of your time as you possibly can doing the things you love doing. That’s what your life is all about.

Good luck!