The 25th Hour: 6 Ways To Find More Time

Finding ways to spend more time with those who matter most.

Time is an essential factor in the mastering of any skill in life.  Those who become fluent in a language, master a sport, rise to the top of any field or get good at anything in life all share one common characteristic – they put in the time.

This is a fact I think that we all understand.

I grew up with friends whom we termed “gym rats” because they spent their every waking moment down at the gym shooting thousands of baskets – thousands more baskets than me. Somehow they found a way to get the keys to the gym.  They went on to play college basketball.

Well we don’t need to become gym rats to become better at something, but we do need to put in the time – and specifically – more time than we are putting in now.  Here are six ideas how to do this.

Define Your Life

Perhaps the first and most important step to putting in more time into reaching your goals is to understand what it is you want.  By defining the goal – those things that are important to you – you will be both more motivated to put in the time and more  prepared to to be more efficient with your time.  This also  leads to an obvious second step to finding more time.

Just Say No

When you know what you want and what it takes to achieve the goal you have set before you, it is easier to say no to those “good” things that get in the way of your doing the “best” thing.  Mencius reminds us that, “Before a man can do things there must be things he will not do.”  Learning to say NO is an important step toward creating more time for those things that are most important.

Piggy  Back

Once you have cut the wasted time out of your life, you need to be able to create more space for the things you want to work on.  One way to do this is to create five to ten minute “piggy back” opportunities around already existing habits from your daily life.  When I wanted to begin doing push-ups, sit ups and pull ups in a quest to be a bit more fit, I piggy backed that new goal onto an already existing routine in my life – brushing my teeth before bed.  I didn’t have to create a new habit of nothing in this manner but merely piggy backed on what I already habitually did.

Fill the Gaps

Another way to create more time is to fill the gaps of your day.  Transition times between projects can easily be expanded into an extra five to fifteen minutes.  How can you maximize your daily commute?  How can you fill the transition between one project and another at work?  Thinking creatively about how to do this can add valuable time  - five and ten minutes at a time – to your day.

Get Out of Bed

Okay. This is the old standby, but there is nothing more cool than having a few hours of work under your belt by 8:00 am.  It’s quiet. The kids are sleeping.  You’re not carrying the mental baggage of the day before.  The fresh smell of coffee is inspiring.  And, it may be the only larger chunk of time you have in your day to work on your project.

Take a Break

This final suggestion is a bit counter intuitive, but I have found it to be important in my own  life as language learner, as an athleter and as a writer.

You need to CEASE.

Stop working. Rest your mind and body and have fun.  The Biblical idea of Sabbath isn’t just a silly idea.  The end product of rest is more creativity, more focus, more motivation and in the end, a much more time spent on task.  It’s also a real good reminder that you are not the center of the world – if you don’t show up for one day, this thing keeps spinning.

So turn off the phone for a day.  Don’t open up your laptop. Put your big project, your language learning, or whatever big goal you have on hold – for a day at least.

Life is Busy

Many of the blogs I read are written by single guys or gals and are a bit difficult to relate to as a husband and dad.  My main priority is to invest in their lives – my wife, my son and my daughter.  To do that well, and to still work on learning Turkish, write for this blog and create great language learning products, I have to find the time.  The ideas above are what have worked for me.  I hope they will work for you as well.

I am excited to have been able to find more time myself to create The Everyday Language Learner’s Guide to Getting Started which I’ll be releasing this Thursday.  If you’ve always wanted to learn another language but haven’t known how to begin, this guide is for you.  Be sure and subscribe today to take advantage of the Subscriber One Day $1.00 sale.

Our next sale will be in October!  Keep an eye out for it!

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9 Responses to The 25th Hour: 6 Ways To Find More Time
  1. Chris Stott
    September 5, 2011 | 4:46 pm

    “My main priority is to invest in their lives – my wife, my son and my daughter.”

    You have your priorities right and that is all that matters, really. Just make sure everything you do brings you closer to that and anything else is just waste.

  2. aarongmyers
    September 5, 2011 | 5:11 pm

    Chris,

    So much of life is about priorities, isn’t it. Thanks for stopping by!

    Aaron

  3. Benny
    September 5, 2011 | 8:47 pm

    Aaron, you’re doing a fantastic job juggling a family plus doing everything else!

    I’ve been just having to worry about me this whole year but my fiancé is coming in a week so I have to learn how to be even more productive! Can’t neglect her or I’ll be sleeping not the couch!

    That is a scary picture! Just for the fact that it looks like nothing but a long way down just one step back!

    Love what you’ve done with your blog redesign!

    • aarongmyers
      September 6, 2011 | 9:01 am

      Benny,
      Super excited for you to get married. It’ll be amazing. It seems there are seasons in life. My kids are getting bigger (5 and 7) and more independent and I am amazed how much less time I spend on caring for their basic needs. Now I get to be with them, to interact with them. They sleep better too! So I am coming out of the little kids season (which I enjoyed and wouldn’t trade for anything) and into the big kid season which I am excited about and looking forward to. Each season has its own challenges and rewards. The challenge in regards to time is make the adjustments as the seasons change. It’s fun!

      Aaron

  4. Adrienne
    September 5, 2011 | 9:27 pm

    Hey Aaron,

    You are so right, it’s much easier to prioritize your life when you are the only one you have to think about. I only wish I had a family to consider but since I don’t, I have to put some extra time aside at the end of my day so I can get everything accomplished I want.

    Yep, life is about prioritizing and if it’s important enough to you, you definitely will make the time.

    Enjoyed the post, thanks for sharing!

    Adrienne

  5. aarongmyers
    September 6, 2011 | 9:04 am

    Adrienne,
    Thanks for your comment. I realize that I need to be a bit more careful with how I write things – like making judgments on those without kids! Each person has his or her own challenges in life and I dare not underestimate anothers just because it is different than mine. Finding more time to do amazing work is and always will be a challenge for most everyone. A challenge we must all deal with and overcome.

    Aaron

  6. Matthew
    September 6, 2011 | 11:51 pm

    All outstanding points … whatever your objective!

    And I’m right there with you on the “father” thing. I think it’s just you, me, and Leo with kids, right? = ]

    Great post!
    -M

    • aarongmyers
      September 7, 2011 | 12:15 am

      Matthew,
      Thanks for stopping by. I don’t think it’s fair to include Leo with us. He wears a red cape under his clothes and has a bad reaction to kryptonite. He’s in a different ballpark! Hears to spending more time with the kiddos!

      Aaron

  7. Andrew
    September 11, 2011 | 5:45 am

    You have no idea how important (and overlooked!) that ‘take a break’ bit is! That’s the one that a lot of people need to hear.

    However, you can keep the ‘get up early’ thing :P (I’m not a morning person, generally)

    Cheers,
    Andrew

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