29 Lunch and learn: How to make more time

Written by  //  May 7, 2012  //  Daily Juice  //  No comments

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Well of course we can’t really make more time, we’re all stuck with the same 168 hours a week.


And for the Mum who’s working part-time, starting a business and running the home it’s just not enough. In lunch and learn 27 I wrote about finding your ‘Time in a box’, the amount of usable time you have to spend on your business.

This recipe is for those of you who calculated their ‘Time in a box” and found it sadly lacking.

Today’s recipe: Making more time

Here are a couple of techniques for making more time.

Why it works

If you’re serious about your business and prepared to be disciplined it is possible to create a little more time. Now I know that doesn’t sound like a bundle of laughs, but it’s really not that bad. I think you just need to be committed to your business to make it work. And if you love what you do and are doing it for a good reason, you can get through the pain barrier!

What you do

The best place to start is deciding how many extra hours you would like. I think it’s much better to contain it to say, 10 extra hours, and work out how to spend them wisely, than it is to try and just scrape together an endless number. (We’ve got a few blog posts coming up on how to get more done, or the right stuff done, in those limited hours.)

Once you know how many extra hours you need you have a choice as to whether to find the time, buy the time, or do a combination.

1.Find the time

Finding the time is about making choices, choices over how you spend your time. Imagine you wanted to find an extra 10 hours, you could simply skip 2 hours of TV a night for 5 days. It might not sound very fun but it gets the job done! I stopped watching TV about 5 years ago and I rarely miss it.

Other pockets of time could include getting up 45 minutes earlier in the morning (45 minutes so you get a good chunk of time to work in). Personally I find this one a bit tough as the toddler gets up at 5:00 am and 4:15 seems way too early, even for me!

A friend of mine devotes every Sunday afternoon to her business. Her husband takes the kids out for four hours and she reckons she gets way more than four hours work done in the time.

Then there’s the little amounts of time that add up. Half an hour on Facebook a day is 3.5 hours a week. Checking email for five minutes every hour is probably an hour a day. Email done in bulk is much more efficient…….

There are lots of little ways to find extra time!

This probably all sounds a little Sergeant Major-ish. Of course you need a bit of fun but if you’re really trying to squish some extra time in for your business, something has got to give.

If you are going to ‘find the time’ I suggest that you give yourself a time period for doing so. Maybe you say to yourself that you’ll try this ‘time diet’ for 3 months and see how much progress you make on your business. I think if you set yourself up to believe this is how you are going to live your life indefinitely it will be like a crash diet and you’ll quickly abandon it.

There’s a great book about time and fitting stuff in called 168 Hours: You have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. It’s worth a read.

2. Buy the time

The alternative to ‘finding time’ is ‘buying time’.

Buying time is also about making choices, choices over how you are spending your money.

If you are working part-time how do you spend your (after tax) earnings? You might have childcare costs which takes up a good chunk but how are you spending the rest? If it’s all going to essential household bills then there may not be a choice to make, but if it’s not all essential, can you syphon off some of your earnings to pay for some extra time in your business?

If you can find some spare cash you have 2 options: you can buy extra time so that you can spend more time in the business, or you can buy time for someone else to spend time in the business.

1. Buying time for you

Buying time for you is usually about getting some domestic help. I think this is a business decision.

Ok so you can’t claim a cleaner as a tax deduction but otherwise having a cleaner is all about the business – provided of course that you use the time you would have spent cleaning to work on the business. The same goes for childcare costs and any other type of help that frees you up.

I think some of us have a bit of a hang-up about hiring people to do domestic work, but we need to get over it if we want to work part-time, run a business and manage a family. Enough said!

2. Buying time for someone else

Alternatively you can buy time for someone else to work in your business.

This is where you may pay a web developer, say, to build your website. In the long run this will be quicker and cheaper than you fighting it out yourself.

So have a think about the tasks that someone else could do, and do better, and go to work in your part-time role to pay for them to do it!

The whole philosophy of working to pay someone else to do the work can feel quite wrong. But if you can afford to do it, and it gets the business built more quickly, it’s right.

Finally, my take on this whole conundrum about finding extra time is that it’s not easy but it is do-able.


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