I read a book recently. How to Save an Hour Every Day Guaranteed, by Michael Heppell. I’m not quite sure why. I’m not convinced I can save an hour a day, other than by cutting out the very things I would want to spend the extra hour doing. I know I fit in quite a lot, and I’m reasonably organised, but if it is possible to do without losing out on things I enjoy, the idea of having an extra hour a day to get more stuff done is very appealing.
The first step is simple. To save an hour, you need to know what you do with all your time. Just like before embarking on a diet, and being asked to keep a food diary, you record what you do all day every day. I started off at the weekend, recording every moment of my time. The process made me wonder, though. Does the act of measurement change the result? Was I more careful with the use of my time because I had to write it down?
The second tip, which I started using straight away, was just as simple. Every night, write down the five things which are the most important things to do tomorrow. I have to say, this works brilliantly. I know that if I only have one thing to do I will procrastinate and not do it. If I have a big long list, I might do some, or none, but never all, and probably not the least fun item. Five is just right. It’s enough that I will get on and start doing them, and few enough that I will probably finish.
As I’ve already said, it works brilliantly. Until something unusual happens. Anyone who has ever spent time in A&E, had time off work to care for a sick child, had a migraine, or suffered flood, fire or earthquake, knows that sometimes the things which were the most important to get done are suddenly irrelevant.
This last week has been a bit chaotic here, and I only kept up the timekeeping for two and a half days, and the five item list for three days. I will have a fresh start, though. I can’t claim the book doesn’t work if I don’t give it a proper chance! I know there are plenty of time saving ideas in there which I will have to try.
Did you know that:
- The average UK adult watches more than 4 hours of TV per day. That’s more than 13 years in total if you live to be 80.
- People with a shopping list spend 30% less time at the supermarket.
- The phrase ‘I need your help, because…’ works like magic.