Where To Find More Time


The search for more time is like a quest that never ends. Everybody searches for more time, but few find it.  It could even be the very reason you’re reading this website.  The search financial independence is the search for more time.

Our time is limited, and yet we freely trade most of our waking hours for money.  Money that only exists as 1’s and 0’s in a computer server somewhere.

The best way I’ve found to gain back time is by achieving financial independence — In other words, I stopped trading my time for money!

Being able to quit your job and not work, frees up (at least) 40 hours a week.  Sometimes more!  Financial independence is great!  To quote Ferris Bueller, “It is so choice.  If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”  

But what if you’re not financially independent?  What if you’re still saving for it, and need more DIY time to lift your savings rate above 50%?  Can you claw back a couple hours from the time-sucking abyss we call life?  Even while you’re still working?

Yes, yes you can.

 

Finding Time

Friends often ask how Mrs. Tako and I have the time to work on all our various DIY projects.  We’re always working on different projects, and building new things.  Yet we still have time to make home cooked meals every day.  To the uninitiated, it probably looks like we have tons of spare time (despite the fact we have two small children).

Here’s the secret:  We don’t actually have a ton of spare time.  But we’re very good at optimizing the time we do have.

Unfortunately life doesn’t just let us “make time” when we need it.   We have to be more efficient or “borrow time” from other places….other places that are “less important”.

Got a hot date on Saturday night?  You might just have to skip cleaning behind the microwave that night!

Ultimately, “finding time” is about setting priorities and then coordinating time for what’s really important to you.

 

Turn-Off The TV

Television is a great place to claw back free time…because it’s a gigantic waste of time. The average American watches 3 hours of television per day.  Over the course of a week, that’s almost an entire day spent watching TV (21 hours!).  

After you’re done watching those 3 hours of TV per day, you won’t be smarter, healthier, more skilled, or have created anything of value.  It’s a complete waste.  That’s a huge number of hours spent on pure mindless entertainment.

The end result
I may have a huge free TV, but we don’t watch it much.  I probably spend more time watching instructional DIY videos on Youtube!

And yes, YouTube is the same as TV.  There’s fewer commercials, but most of it is still a gigantic time suck.  But YouTube isn’t all bad — the ‘Tube’s big redeeming quality is its many instructional videos.  For an avid do-it-yourselfer, those videos have incredible value.  Just don’t get sucked into the cat videos.

You want more time?  Turn-off the TV.  It’s a huge win when you want more time.  Don’t believe me?  Try it for a week — No TV, No Youtube, No Netflix, No Hulu, No HBO Go.  Suddenly you’ll have tons of time to make yourself smarter, exercise more, cook a homemade meal, or practice a new skill.

Just try it!

 

Make The Best of Time

Back when I was working regular 50 hour a week jobs, I had a fairly long commute.  Depending on where I worked, this could average around 1 to 3 hours a day just for commuting.  It varied (with traffic) of course, but rarely was my commute shorter than one hour per day.

Anyone who commutes in the city knows how much commuting sucks.  Instead of fighting that suckiness, I embraced it — I decided to make the best of that time.  Instead of spending that time behind the wheel of the car, I decided to take the bus.  In most cases, not only was it cheaper to take the bus, but I could also read or study while I rode to work.  Any time spent waiting for a bus I could also spent reading.

Bus Commute
Believe it or not, commuting on the bus can be a very efficient use of your time.  Back when I was working, I spent my commute time reading.

Over the course of several years, I literally read hundreds of books on the bus (roughly one book a week).  All because I chose make the best use of my commute time.

Had I driven my car every day, I probably wouldn’t have read all those books.  I suppose I could have listened to audiobooks like those from Audible (start your free trial today!), but commuting by car would have ended up costing me more.  

Driving in heavy traffic is stressful too!  So I skipped the stress and the extra cost, I took the bus instead.

 

Time-Shifting To Save Time

Like commuting, shopping is one of those things that has to be done, and takes up a big chunk of our time.  Ever notice how a whole Saturday afternoon can get sucked away by just going grocery shopping?  The lines, the traffic, finding parking, the crowded store — it all contributes to shopping taking forever.  

It’s because you’re shopping at the wrong time.

Time-shifting to the rescue!  The concept of time-shifting is an easy one to adopt — Simply doing all the same things you did before, just at a different time.  

A Saturday afternoon is completely the wrong time to shop because that’s when everyone else is shopping.  

If you want shopping to go quickly and efficiently you need to shop when nobody else is.  By using time-shifting you can easily cut your shopping time in-half!

How about hitting up the grocery store on a Friday night at 10pm?  I can tell you from personal experience there is nobody in the store!  Friday nights are awesome for shopping quickly!  

How about Costco at 10am on a Tuesday morning? The store is mostly empty!  There’s no samples out, but I can easily get through the store in half the time it usually takes.  

Rice
Simply time shifting when you do your grocery shopping can easily cut the time required in half!

It may seem strange, but time-shift can save a ton of time (and money) for a whole host of different things: Commuting, shopping, traveling, buying a house, visiting the zoo — any activity where other people are involved.

Time shifting is one of my favorite ways to claw-back time because it’s so easy to do, and there’s so many possibilities for big time savings!

 

Stop Doing So Much

Making time for what’s important also means not signing yourself up (or you kids) for too much.  

I see it all the time, whether its sports, music, housework, or social activities; people sign themselves up for way too many things.  Weekends end up getting crammed with as many activities as possible.  Next thing you know, you’re stressed out trying to get it all done in those two short days.  Going back to work can be pleasant because work (by comparison) is like resting!

Stop doing that to yourself!

My thoughts are similar to MMM’s theory on this.  Clear your calendar.  Instead of having a dozen activities happening in one day, schedule at most ONE activity.  There’s nothing wrong with having empty days on the calendar either.  Having down time is a good thing!

Once you’ve whittled down the calendar to only one activity per day, suddenly life seems a whole lot easier.  There’s time for resting.  Time for a good home cooked meal.  Time for all the good bits in life.

Sometimes slowing down saves more time than trying to rush through life.

 

How do you find time to do the things you love?

[Image Credit: Flickr1, Flickr2]

16 thoughts on “Where To Find More Time

  • August 2, 2016 at 7:41 PM
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    I couldn’t agree more with you! So many trivial tasks and distractions can suck up our limited time. Personally, I’m very committed to staying physically fit and training Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu. How do I find time to exercise? Well, I wake up early and make time for it. I train at 5 am when I can find a partner as passionate as I am to spar with. On days where I can’t, I run before work. If I have an early morning meeting, I hit the gym during my lunch breaks instead of taking an hour lunch and then just eat my desk when I get back. So by the time I get home after work, my workout has been done. I can then devote quality time to my family and give them all my attention. It wasn’t easy when I first started, but I did it enough times that it became a habit.

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  • August 3, 2016 at 2:17 AM
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    Agreed Mr Tako. There is plenty of time in the week. We all have 168 hours. As a lawyer who is forced to record each hour of my day, I’m always amused when I meet someone who says they don’t have any time because “I’m working 80-hour weeks.” Chances are high that they are vastly overestimating how much time they’re actually working.

    You might find the American Time Use Survey interesting. They track in detail how many minutes people spend on various activities with the big result being that most people think they spend more time doing things (i.e. childcare, dishes, working) than they actually do!

    It’s all about being conscious on how you want to spend your 168.

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    • August 3, 2016 at 10:17 AM
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      Yep, I linked to the American Time Use Survey from the post. That’s where I pulled the 3 hour statistic. Thanks though!

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  • August 3, 2016 at 3:03 AM
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    Great tips! We don’t watch much TV either. I’m still getting used to the new schedule and how to optimize my time. One thing that helps is staying on top of things. For example, my garden is easy to maintain if I do some light weeding each time I walk through instead of letting things grow and get out of control.

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    • August 3, 2016 at 10:12 AM
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      Oh so true. If I let my lawn grow too much, mowing becomes a huge chore!

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  • August 3, 2016 at 6:08 AM
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    We could definitely benefit from some of these time-saving strategies. Thanks, Mr. Tako.

    Lol, OB. I thought those martial artists that could chop a desk in half were impressive, but clearly, eating your desk Jiu-Jitsu style is much more hardcore!

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  • August 3, 2016 at 7:46 AM
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    The older I get the more I value time over money.

    Our best tip is to go early/off time.

    I’m at the gym at 7 am even on weekends because NO ONE IS THERE. It makes the workout go much faster.

    When we went to Disney several years ago we went in the second week of September when NO ONE WAS THERE. The longest we waited for a ride was 15 minutes and saw four parks completely in four days.

    When we go to tourist areas in our city we go early because (you guessed it) NO ONE IS THERE. We can see what we want at our own pace and without hassle. We are done just about the time the crowds show up. 🙂

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  • August 3, 2016 at 2:05 PM
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    So clearly I can do basic math and I know people sit in front of their TV’s for hours (me for one in the winter) – but when I saw 3×7=21 almost a day a week, it just hit me for some reason. Maybe because its summer and I just haven’t had the TV on that it meant more this time. There is SO much more time available than many people realize. We also shop at night – 9 or 10 on a Tuesday night works too 🙂 And as ESI commented – we won’t go to amusement parks or attractions until off days/times. It becomes too much like work – who needs that stress…

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  • August 3, 2016 at 11:42 PM
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    After recently retiring early, I am finding out that I don’t really have that much free time. Now, that I have more time, I want to do more fun things all too soon. Maybe because I feel so free. I need to slow down and just do one or two things a day.

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    • August 4, 2016 at 7:58 AM
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      That is probably a better way to approach it. You’ll at least accomplish 1 thing a day, enjoy yourself more, and wont feel as pressured or burned-out by pushing your self too hard. If you are having a good day, then you can still do more.

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      • August 4, 2016 at 10:33 AM
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        Exactly! I don’t want to be pressured or stressed. I just want to do whatever I feel like without having the pressure to be successful and just enjoy my new found freedom 🙂

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  • August 6, 2016 at 4:58 PM
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    I love reading on public transportation. I learn or entertain myself with beautiful words. Time-shifting is fantastic. When I’m in between gigs, I grocery shop at the same time as the elders. Fastest time to get everything.

    Reply

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