How to Add 7+ Hours Every Week to Working on Your Dream
We all know that saying, “you have the same 24 hours as Beyonce.” Well, sure, but also, Beyonce has a whole fucking team of people to help her out. Assistants, hair and makeup artists, someone to make and get her coffee, someone to organize her schedule, a PR team, a nanny, and probably a personal chef and personal trainer.
So, sure, we have the same amount of time in our day, but Beyonce has a whole team of people helping her crush it.
What do you do when it’s just YOU, though?
We are all incredibly busy, and tired ALL.THE.TIME. We have bills to pay, work to make it to on time, pets and kids, dinner to cook for our people, grocery shopping to do, and mountains of laundry to get washed, folded and put away (personally my least fave chore). Oh, and also, we have a big, scary goal we want to accomplish on top of all that other shit.
How do we get all this done?
Trust me, I know how hard we are all trying to do our best and get all the things done we need to. Today, let’s focus on how to add some more time to our busy lives to work on whatever we are in pursuit of; whether it’s building a business (ME!), saving enough money for a downpayment on a home, spending more time with your family or loved ones, remodeling your kitchen, devoting more time to a hobby, making time to meditate or journal, making the time to exercise, or learning to knit the perfect sweater — I’ll break down how I’ve added an extra 7+ hours to working on my business , every single week and how you can, too!
The first AND MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to do is:
Keep a “Time Journal” for a week! Let me explain.
For an entire week, keep a record of how you’re spending each chunk of time during your days. Here’s an example of what one of my days during the week looked like and the highlighted times are times where I felt I was “not using my time effectively.”
Now, I realize that from 6:00 - 7:30PM it says “TV and Relaxing.” I want to be perfectly clear here: I DO NOT consider relaxing time to be wasting time and I make it a point to spend time everyday doing nothing. It would be absolutely foolish (and detrimental to my goals) to expect myself to be productive every second of every day — that’s a surefire way to get burnt out and unmotivated!
However, I wanted to make the point that if you are spending an inordinate amount of time watching TV, this would be one of the areas of your day you could use to work on your goals. Again, I fucking love TV and if I have a show I’ve been wanting to watch, you better believe I’m going to make the time to do that because it’s something I enjoy and want to do. But, I’m not going to then complain about not having enough time during that day to work on what I need to — that’s a conscious choice I am making and maybe the following day, I’ll make an extra hour to catch up on stuff.
In this example, on Thursday, I could have spent about 90 minutes working on my goals rather than being on my phone wasting time and watching TV.
I chose to share this Thursday because it is one of my busier days during the week. I work two jobs on Thursdays and usually feel like I am running around like crazy from one thing to another all day long. I figured if I could find extra time during on of my busiest days, I could find time any and everyday throughout the week.
Take time to do the things you want. Do NOT feel like you have to be cranking out productivity every waking second.
How to actually do this
For the week I kept track, I brought a small journal with me and just quickly jotted down what I was doing for those periods of time. Easy enough, right?
The point is that when you can actually look back on your Time Journal, you can see where you spent 45 minutes on Instagram when you just went to go check a single DM. Or, where you went to go do look something up online, and before you knew it, you were deep into reading about how Andrew Jackson once had a massive wheel of cheese that weighed 1,400 pounds at the White House and decided to throw a gigantic cheese party to get rid of it. Just so you know, he invited 10,000 people over to the White House and they demolished that hunk of cheese in about 2 hours.
You know how I know that actually happened? Because I was wasting time on the internet and found myself going down the rabbit hole about past presidents. It just kinda happens; we all have spent far too much time doing inane things when we could be using our time more wisely.
Let’s move on.
The goal of this is to hold yourself accountable. I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve heard people complain about not having enough time in their days. UNDERSTANDABLE! But, if you don’t actually make an effort to find, or create, more time, then I don’t want to hear it, sister.
Be honest with yourself
We all have egos. Most of the time, they like to rear their heads and make us do weird shit like try to make us look better than we actually do. Take for example, when I wrote down, “TV and relaxing” from 6-7:30PM, I was tempted to shave off a half an hour to make myself feel better about watching TV for less time than I actually did!
You’ll need to stuff down that ego when it raises its head. If you spent 4 hours watching TV and another 2 hours scrolling through Instagram, you write down the exact times you were doing it — no fudging the numbers, or there’s NO point in even doing this. Your goal is to create an accurate picture of your days throughout the week so you can find and address where you can take advantage of extra time.
A little adds up to a lot
When you can find 5 minutes here, and 25 minutes there, you’ll discover you can sneak some productivity into your day where you are otherwise spending that time being unproductive. After keeping this Time Journal for the week, below is how much extra time I found over that weeklong period. Keep in mind, this is how much I found after keeping track for just one week — some weeks you’ll find more spare time and other weeks there may be far less. But, I know if I try really hard, I can find this amount in a pretty typical week (for me) and certainly can accomplish some things in this amount of extra time.
Monday: 75 minutes
Tuesday: 90 minutes
Wednesday: 25 minutes
Thursday: 90 minutes
Friday (day off of both jobs): 4 hours
Saturday: 2 hours
Sunday: 3 hours
Total time throughout the week: 13.6 hours
easy ways to make more time
Wake up earlier.
I posted a caption on Instagram which said, “if you can wake up before you absolutely have to and get out of a warm bed, on a cold morning and work on your aspirations day after day, you can do just about anything.” Someone commented, “I hate when I wake up before I have to tho.” My initial reaction was, okay, well don’t then. No one is forcing you to wake up early and get after your goals. It sucks every time your alarm goes off earlier than it needs to. It sucks to drag yourself out of warm bed when you don’t have to. The point is that it is hard and I think we should all do hard things. That’s WHY THEY ARE HARD — because no one wants to do it. But, that’s what separates people who talk about all the things they want to do, and those who have the fortitude to take action, every day, even when it’s damn near impossible.
Anyway, instead of saying what I really wanted to say, I responded with something more diplomatic, “I think the point of it is that it IS hard, for everyone, though! It doesn’t have to be in the morning, it’s just about carving out time during the day to work on the things you want to accomplish!”
Alternatively, stay up late.
I understand not everyone is a morning person. If staying up later is more practical for you, by all means, do that. If the only time you can squeeze in some work is after you put your kids to bed, then take advantage. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes, every night, you’ll give yourself a little more than 2 hours every week (in just time after the kids go to bed) to work on your goals — add that into whatever time you have during the day and you’re well on your way.
Work during lunch.
I have 30 minute lunches. As I am a fast eater anyway, that usually leaves me with about 15 minutes of non-eating time where I will either mindlessly scroll Instagram, or I’ll actually do something productive like comment back to people on social media, do what I need to do on Pinterest, check my email + respond, do an Instagram story, write a portion of an outline for a blog post (this blog post was outlined almost exclusively during my lunch breaks over a few days!), write part of a social media caption, read, journal, or just relax, if that’s what I feel like is the most important thing for me to do during that time.
If you have hour long lunch breaks, that is a TON of time to put a sandwich in your stomach. If you typically go out to lunch by yourself, or with co-workers, take a few days to work during that time instead. If you are doing this every day, try this instead: spend Monday, Wednesday and Friday working for a portion of your lunch break. Pack yourself a lunch on these days (you’ll consequently be saving yourself money AND be chipping away at your goals) and bring your laptop, a notebook, or whatever you need to get some work done.
And spend Tuesday and Thursday going out to lunch with your co-workers. You don’t have to change everything you enjoy, but cutting back on things like this will give you a solid chunk of time to work on other things. And if you have FOMO about missing out on lunch things, or people give you a hard time, well, I don’t what to tell ya. Keep your goals written down where you can see them every day and when you start making progress on your goals, you’ll start finding this a hell of a lot easier to do. The hardest part is getting started and prioritizing what you are working toward.
Utilize your days off.
I would think most of us have at least a day, or a portion of a day off every week. Sometimes my day off of my full-time job falls on the day where I still work at my part-time job in the afternoon — meaning I only have the morning off of work and less time to get all the things done and have some time to relax.
In order to take advantage of this time, I’ll do things like: make a realistic to-do list the night before my morning off so I am focused and ready to go when I wake up, order groceries online the night before, or morning I have off (the less time I have to spend at the grocery store on that morning off, the better), do my online banking during the week so I don’t have as many ‘life admin’ tasks to complete that morning, and get my laundry done first thing so I can focus. I also have a hard time focusing if the house needs to be cleaned, so if it needs a once over, I’ll do that first thing when I wake up so I can work in a clean, smelly-good environment with no distractions. Also, my boyfriend and I dedicate a morning we both have off every week to cleaning the house together and do our best to keep things tidied up throughout the week — this makes for a less stressful environment during the week which is more conducive to getting shit done in my spare time.
Be smart about ‘life admin’ + chore time.
I briefly mentioned this above, but it deserves some expanding upon. We all have those days where it seems like we have 30 things that have to get done because we’ve either been putting them off, or too busy to do them throughout the week. I’m talking grocery shopping, organizing finances, car maintenance, house up-keep, paying bills, mountains of laundry, cleaning the house, walking the dog, getting in a workout class every once in awhile, doctors appointments, and alllll those other little things. These are the tasks that can be simplified (or outsourced) to give us more time to be productive on our goals and dreams.
For example, if you are finding you don’t have time to clean your home and spending your precious hours off doing that rather than working on something which is important to you, if you can fit it into your budget, consider hiring a team of maids to come twice a month help you out. The financial cost of this could be worth the time you’ll be getting back.
If you are spending too much time grocery shopping every week, and you’re like me and inevitably forget to buy something important for the week and end up having to go to the grocery store multiple times during the week, figure out a solution that works for you! If you can quickly plan out your meals for the week, online shop for your groceries and make sure you have everything you’ll need, and get your groceries delivered to your front door when you get home from work, that would be a huge time help, right?!
If you are a procrastinator and leave all your chores for one day, work on spreading them out throughout the week rather than leaving them all for your day off of work. Online banking and bill pay is incredible — utilize those things throughout the week when you have a free 20 minutes and get them sorted out so you don’t have to deal with them on your day off. Do your laundry on Wednesday rather than on your precious weekends off. Even doctors appointments you are increasingly able to do via FaceTime from your house! We live in an incredible time where there are SO many ways in which technology has made these things easier and more efficient —take advantage!
So, try it this week!
Whatever is going on in your life this week, start today! I don’t care if it’s a Thursday — there’s no need to wait for the beginning of the week to roll around. Just start today and track until this time again the following week.
This exercise is hard — it’s meant to be. It’s not easy to track how you’re spending your time for 7 days in a row. I’m not there with you to make you do it, and no one is going to hold your hand and make sure you get it done — that’s up to you. If your goals are important enough to you and you are willing to work excruciatingly hard for them, you’ll make the time.
I understand you have a shitload of things going on, but if I can do it while working 2 jobs and getting up at 2:20 in the morning, you can, too. You just need to set out some clear goals, hold yourself accountable, and get to fucking work.
save this pin for later!