People ask me how I manage to do everything I do: be a dad to five active kids under the age of 12; maintain a great relationship with my sweetheart; run a non-profit; volunteer at my church; train for marathons and triathlons; and run a thriving financial planning company.
How do I respond? I tell them they forgot one—I also love to go fishing. I spend as much time as possible with a fly-fishing rod in my hands in the many waters of Utah and Idaho!
Seriously, though, I do a lot. And there is an art to remaining this productive. Here’s a few helpful hints that have served me well over the years.
I admit that I may be a little extreme on this one, but it’s made a huge difference in how much time I have available. If I can hire someone to do something for me, I will. For example, I have a degree in accounting, but I have never done my own taxes. Staying up-to-date on the right tax strategies would take time I’d rather spend doing other things. I realize that all of this costs money, but I can afford it, and my thinking is it’s the best bargain in town. Those two hours I pay someone else to do yardwork? That’s two hours every Saturday I can spend with my kids. That’s more important to my family than me saving a few dollars by mowing my own lawn.
That being said, when my kids are of age, we will be doing yard work together, because then it will not be about the money or time, but more about teaching them how to be responsible and hard-working. For now, though, there are better uses of our time.
2. Cut the TV and Phone Time
When Andrea and I were first married, we decided to save money by not buying cable TV. Later, when our finances improved, we chose not to get cable because we loved all the extra time we had. There are many hours in a week that one can direct to other activities simply by reducing or eliminating TV and Phone time.
When you’re exercising or cleaning, do you listen to a book that could make you a better partner, parent, or businessperson? There are many moments in a day that you can make do double-duty, with a little bit of prior planning. Where those moments are will depend on your lifestyle and work, but the point is to go looking for them.
4. Go to Bed Early
If you go to bed early and wake up early, you’ll feel like you have more minutes in the day. That’s because most of us don’t use our time well at the end of the day. You might spend two or three hours before bed watching TV or playing on social media because you’re too tired to do anything else. Do those hours actually give you joy? Do they make your life better? Probably not. Instead, go to bed, get some sleep, and spend those hours in the early morning preparing for your day. I wrote an article specifically about this. You can find it HERE.
The point of all of this is that your time is yours to order as you see fit. Maybe you want to do yard work. Maybe you hate fishing. You don’t have to run your life the way I run mine. But think about how you spend your time and whether that’s really what you want to be doing. You can find a lot more minutes in your day—more productive and more enjoyable minutes—if you get proactive about organizing your time.