How to Use a Time Diary to Help Create More Time in Your Life

Last Updated on May 1, 2022 by Stephanie

Let’s be honest. How many times in the last month have you said the words “I don’t have time for…”? That thought is one of the main reasons I started this blog. The truth is that we do have time and this idea of time management is totally false. Well, it isn’t false so much as it is all a matter of how you look at things. Creating more time for your life is all about choices. I’m absolutely learning more about this with the time diary I started this week.

Time Diary to Create More Time for Your Life

168 Hours

This post is inspired by Laura Vanderkam’s book 168 Hours and I’m going to take you through everything as I myself go on this journey. She drops some major truth bombs that really made me think twice about the actions of myself and others. Before I even picked up this book, I had read several different books and posts about this idea of choices. If you haven’t already read it, my blog post about the only time management tip you need to know is based on this.

As a society in general the tired mom, workaholic, worn out, has no time for anything, and is constantly juggling a million things… they are revered! We love the extremes. Our love of extremes is what absolutely drives our social media addiction. I don’t really know when that happened, but somehow the shift went to talking about how busy and tired we are all the time.

And we wonder why so many people are unhappy. Vanderkam pointed out though, that honestly… we’re a bunch of liars. She said it nicer than that, but in her research on various studies about how we spend our time, there was a lot of lying. People who say they work 90-hour weeks… nope. They’re actually about 20 hours shy of that in reality. People that claim to spend all this time with their kids… nope. 15 minutes a day. We over and underestimate what we do with our time to fit the outside view of that time.

The truth is that we all have the same 168 hours in the week. It is all in how you spend those 168 hours that makes all the difference.

Keeping a Time Diary

This is just the first post in this series because I’m going to go through this whole process and tell you what I find. I’m not fudging things… I’m going to tell you straight what my time is spent on. One of the things that I have read in several different books is to keep a time diary or log for a week or even 30 days. I am choosing to keep a 15-minute log and I’ve got my watch set to buzz every 15 minutes. Yes, annoying, but I’m very interested in this whole idea.

The idea is to keep a time diary so that we can analyze it later for where our time is spent. Then, we can adjust things based on what our main goals are. Pick a day and start keeping track of your time. 

If you want to try this along with me, you can download yours here too:

Benefits of Keeping a Time Diary – Finding More Time

The main benefit of a time diary is to see where your time is going. Be honest. If you aren’t honest, this won’t benefit you at all. When you watch 2 hours of television a night, put it down. If you mindlessly scrolled Pinterest for an hour yesterday, cool… put it down. After this, comes the analysis.

I am someone who reviews my goals daily. My goals are also updated weekly and monthly so I can work towards my big dreams. When I do this analysis I’m hoping that it shows that I am in line with my goals as far as how I spend my time. If I’m not, that is when I can use the time diary to help me realize what things I need to do less of. If a goal I have is to read a book a month and I only see two half-hour reading sessions in my week, that isn’t going to happen. I can, however, take time out of the 2 hours I spend watching television to read instead.

This is really exciting for me because I did the same thing with my finances. I would do my bills and have no idea what I spent my money on during the month. My financial goals were important to me, but I was not showing that at all with my spending. When I started keeping track of my daily spending and I committed to a daily budget where I put money towards my student loans and savings more often, I started meeting all my financial goals. Time really is like money.

Time Diary; Clock and Coffee Cup on a table

Join me!

Do you feel like you don’t have enough time in your day? Are your tasks and to-dos piling up and you feel like you’ll never get them done? Are you ready to create more time in your life?

Check out the time log above and start your time diary today! My next step will be analyzing my own time diary and I can’t wait to share the experience with you!

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