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A time audit is a helpful tool in comparing what we want to have happened with what is actually happening. First, you track your time over several days and record what you’re doing within each time slot. This may be as simple as writing in your journal or making a spreadsheet with hourly time windows to log everything from meals to bathroom breaks and in between.
Time audits can also be compiled to generate logs of weekly activities, monthly activities, or even annual activities. They can be used for a personal understanding of time or on a professional level.
Time Audit Challenges
Some of the challenges met when time auditing are organizing activities into specific categories. For example, a busy mom may jump from packing lunches to applying face lotion to cleaning up a spill to a diaper change all in the same 15 minutes. However, these things may occur under the broad headline of ‘Getting ready for school’.
At work, a bartender may be squeezing lemon juice, stocking bottles, and putting out menus, all of which are part of ‘Daily Preparations’. By selecting the main intention within each time frame, you will be able to clearly organize and label your time audit properly.
Collect Data — Then Review
After collecting data for about 2 to 3 days, it’s time to review your time audit. You may see some of the activities in your audit fall into the category of Daily Routine such as showering, eating, brushing your teeth, and taking bathroom breaks.
Whereas other parts are more goal-oriented. For example, finishing a paper for school, folding and putting away laundry or organizing the tools in the shed. Then there are the areas that are not serving an intentional goal but maybe things that we do habitually. These are activities like scrolling social media, binge-watching Netflix, or trying on 6 outfits before actually selecting one.
Time Management After Audit
This is the area where we can work some magic in terms of time management. Chances are, some of these activities are not serving our Higher Goals. No judgment, that’s totally okay. This means that if we learn how to adjust some of these habitual patterns, we will be able to free up more time skillfully.
The simplest way to weed out the things that are time stealers and make our time more productive is by doing the thing we least want to do – first. This is a trick that has been used by psychologists and successful business people alike for years. By taking care of the hardest thing on the list first, we free up time spent trying to avoid doing other less important tasks.
Another way to look at this valuable life-skills approach is laid out in this quote by Carl Jung:
“That which you most need will be found where you least want to look” -Carl Jung
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of Jungian psychology. His philosophies established the field of analytical psychology as he theorized about the human subconscious and the idea that there is a collective level of consciousness that all people share. Early on, he worked closely with Sigmund Freud but eventually developed his own theories and teachings. Jung was passionate about helping people realize their full potential.
What Does This Mean?
Whenever we feel stuck, the thing that will set us free can be difficult to find. It may seem very obvious once we bring our attention to it. Until then, it remains elusive until we are willing and able to look into that shadowy corner of our lives.
Finding the courage to be a beginner and try something new is hard. But if what you’re currently doing isn’t working or you want to optimize it, you’ll have to pay attention to the details behind the scenes. You may have to go where you haven’t gone before to uncover those necessary truths and solutions to your problems.
Once we deal with that thing that we have been avoiding, the other items are easier to approach. In fact, we may find that by just getting that difficult task done, there are few other pressing things that require our attention left for that time window.
This means we have the choice to open up space for something we really want to do. These activities include spending time with family or finishing up a forgotten project, or taking a luxurious bubble bath.
Loving Life — The Reboot!