Find the leaks in your life and make room for your best work
We all perform tasks that steal time away from valuable work we should be doing — our work that matters most. Most of this time slips away, unnoticed — until now.
I’m going to show you how to track your time, audit your time, and re-allocate these valuable moments that could be spent practicing your craft. This strategy is very simple, yet powerful in it’s implementation.
First we must measure, then we make decisions.
In this story we’ll track how we spend our time, align our time with the major themes in our lives, and uncover the busy work we can delegate to others (or get rid of entirely).
How to track your time:
- Fold a sheet of paper in quarters and stick it in your pocket — first thing in the morning. Alternatively, you can use time-tracking apps, but paper is faster.
- Track every activity you perform during the day, with start and end times, so you can calculate the time spent later. Track all your waking activities.
- Track your time for a week.
- Categorize each type of activity. Add all your time spent and create totals for each activity.
- Once you develop your original audit, perform a time audit quarterly to ensure you stay on the right path.
Revisit the major themes of your life
We know traditional goal setting can be self-defeating, because the journey is more important than some final landmark at the end of the road. Goal-setting has a built-in level of punishment that make them hard to stick to for most people.
We grow through constant, cumulative effort, not by reaching milestones and stopping. Our life’s work is our calling — the daily task of growing at our craft and using that craft to enhance the lives of others.
How to Find Your True Calling Now
Forget passion. It’s time to do your work that matters most.
After a week of time tracking we’ll align our time spent with our major themes, eliminating tasks that aren’t congruent with the direction we want our lives to take, and automating or delegating tasks than can be done by others.
Themes are more powerful than goals.
Instead of fixed goals we choose daily themes and behaviors, where cumulative effort adds up to extraordinary results. See this story below:
How to use your time audit
Once you’ve audited how you spend your time, chunk each task and list the number of hours spent. Look for patterns and trends. Maybe you spend 15 hours on social media, or 10 hours cleaning your house. Perhaps you spend 30 minutes per week calling new clients, but you’d like to find the time to make it two hours.
The time audit uncovers everything.
We think we spend less time on mundane tasks than we do. But the truth is unavoidable once we see how we spend our time over a typical week. We aren’t too busy. We’re spending too much time on tasks that don’t make the X List.
Build your X List
Your X List is a simple, but powerful decision filter. Once you have your time audit, you run each task through the filter below. Your X List is a series of tasks that help you grow. If a task isn’t on the list, it gets delegated, automated, or it doesn’t get done.
The X List are the tasks that help you follow your theme:
- They make you a better version of yourself
- They earn you more wealth
- They help you become more spiritual
- They help you be a better parent, friend, or family member
- The help you become more conscious
Once you’ve got your filter, compare it to your time tracking list. Next, ask yourself the following questions about each task:
- Does this task align with my values and themes?
- Can I delegate this task to someone else?
- Can I automate this task?
- Can I outsource this task?
- Can I eliminate this task?
When we know where we’re going the decisions become clear
Our calling becomes our map and our X List becomes the gatekeeper along our path. There are so many busy tasks we take on every day that have no business being on our plates.
Let’s say you mow your own lawn every week. The lawn takes three hours to mow. Now, you can pay someone thirty dollars to cut the grass, for a total of ten dollars an hour, while you spend those three hours practicing your calling. Or, you can cut the grass yourself and lose those three hours.
We’ve got dozens of these grass-cutting incidents throughout our weeks.
How many tasks do we perform without thinking about their cost to our true calling? We don’t see the cumulative effect until we measure the time we spend.
The X List is different for everyone, but the end goal is the same for all. Track what you do. Make important decisions about where you should best spend your time. Reevaluate your list once a quarter.
You’ll get more done without working harder.