There are 24 hours in a day. Let's say eight of those are spent sleeping. One hour is spent getting ready for work. Two hours, total, are spent commuting. Eight hours are spent working. Four hours are spent tending to family or household responsibilities.
And you get a one hour lunch.
Assuming the bulk of your time - eight hours - is spent working, how do you prioritize this time wisely to meet your goals? What if you have goals outside of a regular 9-5 job? The key to using your time wisely and prioritizing your goals is summed up in one, simple question:
How much time are you applying to getting better at something versus the amount of time that you have?
Let's explore five ways to use your time wisely so that you can reach your goals.
1. Get Real
We all have goals. The issue is that a lot of individuals are unaware of their tendencies and weaknesses that impede progress toward goals. Metacognition, or self-awareness, is important when achieving goals. At some point, you have to ask, and answer, tough, poignant questions about why your goals aren't being met. "I spend too much time on social media in the evening to the point that time flies. Then I am too tired to work on my projects." "I spend two hours in the morning checking email." Just like an athlete watches film to evaluate tendencies and weaknesses, being metacognitive and evaluating your weaknesses allows you to improve your performance in reaching your goals.
2. Cut Off All Other Options
Once you have evaluated ways to use your time more wisely, it's time to a make a decision. A decision is, simply, cutting off all other options. If getting up an hour earlier allows you time to achieve your goal, then getting up thirty minutes earlier is not an option.
Once you have evaluated where you can improve and made a decision, the options eliminated with your decision fall into the sacrifice category. "The time that I spend on social media in the evening could be better used working on my project." The things that you evaluate as having lesser value or impeding your goals should be shifted on your list of priorities, or eliminated.
4. Get Your Reps In
Once you have evaluated where you are and made a decision, cutting off other options, it's time to take action. The key is not just to act one or two times. People make health and diet decisions all the time - most likely at the beginning of the year - only to fall back into the same habits after a week or two. The key to changing those old habits into new, better habits is consistency. So with your newfound approach in hand, take action. Consistently and repetitiously take action especially when you don't feel like it! Before long, not only will you see progress on your goals, but you will have better habits. If it helps to have a friend help hold you accountable, then enlist a friend to help hold you accountable. Peer pressure can be a good thing.
5. Be Mindful
As you are taking action on your goals, be mindful of what works and doesn't work. Perhaps, for a period of time, you had to get up an hour early to work on your project. Now, you are at a point where you must work on your project in the evening. Being mindful - again, metacognitive - of what you are doing allows you to make adjustments on the fly without losing progress.
Using one's time wisely is an ongoing process that requires strict evaluation, decision making, sacrifice, consistency, and self-awareness. We all are given the same amount of hours in a day to make things happen. What we do with that time is a question of, well, priorities!