Lots of my friends and colleagues wonder and ask me how I make time for myself for doing ‘so many things’ at a time.
How I find time for blogging, that’s the essential curiosity they generally have , given that I work as a full-time employee at a software company.
Let Me Break the Myth First
I don’t do multiple things at same time. In reality, I do only ‘one thing’ at a time.
Doing multiple things are same time can be unproductive and sometimes dangerous (Text and drive? Welcome accidents !)
How Do I find Time for My Other Passions (Writing, for example)
I now reworded ‘writing’ as ‘blogging’. it’s essentially same for me :-)
You see, the generation we live, is not the same as that we lived 20 years ago.
Back then, there were no smartphones, no internet and there were only two major sources of communication; A TV and radio. Both were non-intrusive and less distractive.
They were one-way communication channels. They didn’t need your interaction.
Though radio and TV used to entertain us, people (including myself) still used to have lots of time for experimenting with art, reading and playing (I mean the real games).
Back to Present.
And here we are now, most of our time has been ‘robbed’ by smartphone apps, never ending online conversations, river long stream of news. There are thousand ways we can consume the news, tailor made apps to kill your time.
You are left with less or no time to pursue your interests, hobbies, your passions.
You are being robbed of one of the important asset; TIME.
Time, once gone, it’s gone forever.
Fortunately, there are ways you can make more time for yourself, even during this app-driven world.
I did, with these 3 ways (that worked for me very well). They were simple, but not easy!
3 Ways I reclaimed the Leaking Time
Yes, you need to ‘reclaim’ your time in order to get it back from the digital overwhelm.
It is easy? It’s not. Is it possible? It is. It’s actually , just a matter of saying ‘no’ to few things.
Since I work full time as a software professional and spend most of my day at technical work (something that I always loved and respected), I soon found that, there is lots of time that I still had, once I am back from work.
1. Stopped Watching Television
It didn’t happen in such a way that, ‘oh this is my last TV show’ , in fact, it was a gradual disconnect.
I used to spend long hours on front of TV (comfort of couch was a bonus, at least I felt that way) watching movies, TV shows and comedy episodes.
Things were not that bad, I was being entertained by television, however my passion for writing wept inside. While , writing was about ‘creating’ , television was all about ‘consuming’.
I stopped watching TV.
For me, TV had become a energy sucker. I stopped watching anything on TV, including cricket, a sport , often termed as a religion in India.
Soon, I reclaimed lots of time as a result of moving myself away from television, reinvested those ‘additional’ hours in learning about WordPress and blogging.
After 2 years, I know lots of things in WordPress which could be easily translated into a mini-book (I am serious). What should be title of book? I don’t know. ‘WordPress for Dummies?’, may be !
Did I mention that, it’s not just WordPress that I learnt, there is more to that.
PhotoShop, Web Analytics, Search Engine Optimisation were often connected learnings associated with blogging. I developed relations with fellow bloggers and few good authors/writers.
in fact, I also learnt bit about online psychology of people (based upon my experiments done over dozens of websites).
Message here is, doing away from television and investing the ‘reclaimed’ hours in learning was one of the best decisions I made.
2. Ditched My Smartphone
It didn’t take long time for me to realise that mobile phones with internet can be greatest ‘time-killers’. Distractions were now on my fingertips.
Not to offend anyone who uses smartphones, but personally I found that I don’t do much of useful things on a smartphone. Most of the time, the phone was taking away my precious time.
I started an experiment. Going a month without smartphone.
I bought a $20 basic phone which had basic(but important) features and none of the ‘smart’ features (no Facebook, WhatsApp, Apps etc).
At the end of my experiment, results were amazing.
Below were the benefits of upgrading to a ‘basic’ phone.
- No More Distractions – There was no way for me checking my Facebook news feed, no WhatsApp messages, no news feed and nothing except calls and sms. I reclaimed lots of time, energy and focus.
- Battery Monster – I was not running behind recharging my phone every 4 hours. This basic phone is a real monster when it comes to battery life. 7 days on a single charging cycle, that’s incredible. Result, peace of mind.
- Easy to Carry Phone – Most of the smartphones either de-shape our pockets or makes us heavier at one side of our bodies , the basic phone was so handy and portable that I almost carried it effortlessly everywhere without worrying about the type of clothes I wore.
- Peace of Mind – I was no more worried whether someone will steal my phone or had the fear of losing it. Even a dumbest thief will shy away from stealing my phone.
Things That I missed in a Basic Phone
- Podcasts – The phone I bought lacked podcast app, which I used to enjoy in my smartphone. However, the basic phone did support audio files. I can transfer the files and still listen to the selected podcasts. Problem solved.
I am running the above experimentation in bursts of months and soon will shut myself completely off from smartphones. Do expect a blog post on that !
3. Utilise The Idle Time
Everyone will agree that there are daily chunks of idle time in everyone’s life. For most of the people, it’s the time while they are travelling to office (and back to home).
This time can vary depending upon the country and city you live in.
However, on an average , two hours a day is generally ‘wasted’ on travel. I looked this idle time as a great opportunity for learning something I am passionate about.
Podcasts were obvious choice and I downloaded lots of good audio and got them on my phone.
While I was working in Dubai, for one and half years, I used to spend one and half hour / day , travelling in bus (buses were fantastic, thanks Mercedes and RTA).
Another way I used audio is to listen to meditation music. It’s difficult to quantify how much benefit I gained from meditation audio, but they were quite good at generating a relaxed feeling inside my mind and body.
I found that audio is excellent format of learning. No wonder, Audible (from Amazon) has such a huge user base.
Using above 3 methods, I was able to reclaim my ‘lost’ time and focus on things that were close to my heart.
Over to You
How many of you resonate with the ideas I shared in this posts of regaining the time?
Let’s discuss in comments section. Before i end this post, here is a quote.
Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t
own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep
it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it
you can never get it back – Harvey MacKay