Podcast: Laura Vanderkam on How to Feel Like You Have More Time in Your Day
Everybody has the same amount of time available to them every single day. No matter who you are or where you live, everyone gets 24 hours to do their work, be with their families, enjoy their hobbies and rest each night.
Despite this, there are times when it feels like others have way more time on their hands to balance their work and home lives, and accomplish everything they set out to do. They are the people who leave us wondering, “How do they do it?”
On this episode of The Leadercast Podcast, we’re joined by Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It, 168 Hours and her latest Off the Clock, released earlier this week. Laura is an expert in time management and can tell you exactly how to make the most of the 24 hours a day, or 168 hours a week, you get.
In this episode, Laura explains how we are in command of how we spend our time. She takes us through time discipline, strategic time planning, the biggest misstep in time management and what you can do today to feel like you’ve gained more time back in your life. Read on for select content from the episode and listen above to hear all of Laura’s tips and insights on how to take charge of your time.
The Biggest Misstep in Time Management
It’s easy to lose track of time. Sometimes we do this on the microlevel: “Wow, I just fell down an internet rabbit hole for three hours and now it’s time for bed!” And sometimes we do this on the macrolevel: “Where did the last three years of my life go? This is not turning out how I thought it would.”
The biggest mistake we tend to make with our time is not being mindful of its passing. “The thing about time is that it keeps passing whether you think about where it’s going or not,” says Laura. Time feels richer and fuller when we take the time to savor it and tell it where to go, instead of allowing a hectic schedule to choose our time for us.
Nobody spends time perfectly, but a great question to ask yourself is, “Am I spending time on the things that matter to me?” If the answer is no, why aren’t you? We all have seasons in our lives when we’re spending time on things we’d rather not be doing to reach a goal, but if we put effort toward being mindful of where our time is going, we are well on our way to enjoying the moments we have.
Time Discipline = Time Freedom
In Laura’s new book, she explores the idea that “time discipline leads to time freedom.” This might sound like a bit of a paradox: How does tracking my time lead to me feeling like I have more time?
In the podcast, Laura shares a real-world example of a high school principal who made time to track his time. Before he began tracking, he felt like he was always managing crisis after crisis, and in a high school, there is no shortage of issues that need to be attended to every day. By tracking his time, he realized he was not delegating in the areas he was able. Someone else could monitor the cafeteria during lunch, giving him time to do the things that only he could do like nurturing his teachers and giving them the tools they needed to manage crises themselves.
Using time discipline, the principal was able to reclaim a large amount of time in his day because he was managing people, not every single crisis. Better yet, he felt like he had more time to do what he was good at and what he enjoyed doing the most: building up his staff.
Reflecting on Time Spent
Each week, ask yourself, “What do I like about how I spent my time this week? What went right today? What can I do to make sure that it happens again tomorrow?”
Tracking time will help you take control of your days, weeks, months and years to come. It helps you realize you are in command of your time and have the ultimate say on how it is spent. And it’ll not only have a positive effect on you, but your team as well: If you are hurried and frantic, that will rub off on them, but if you are calm and intentional with your time, they will feel that too.
* * *
This post is based on an episode of The Leadercast Podcast with Laura Vanderkam—you can learn more about Laura and all of her books HERE. To hear this episode, and many more like it, please subscribe to The Leadercast Podcast. If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode on Spotify, Google Play or Stitcher.