Real Life Wellness: Having time for your real life

By Bill Hemmer
Last week I talked about how you need to make a pro and con list for every behavior you want to change. For example, if you want to have a better diet, a pro would be to feel better and lose weight. A con would be going through a drive-through at least once a day. A trick to making these things work however, is not to focus on the cons in the beginning. If you focus on the cons it makes it harder to make the change because you’re focusing on the negatives. You must first focus on the positives. This way you are more likely to start gaining some momentum. Then once you have some momentum you can begin to focus on the cons side more effectively.

I want to talk about another important aspect of Real Life nobody wants to talk about. Time. How many times a day do you say, “I don’t have time for that” or “That’s a waste of time?” Do you really know how you spend your time during a day? I bet you don’t. Only a small percentage of people have ever really sat down and figured out how they really spend their time. You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal, I do the same things all the time.” That is exactly my point.

In order to make lasting changes in your life you must find time to put new activities and behaviors into your already full schedule. So that means you have to compress time for some things and cut out other things or substitute one activity or behavior for another. What’s the best way to do this? A time log.

A time log is a technique I’ve learned that allows you to really see how you spend your days. What you do is to write down everything you do in 15-minute intervals throughout your day for a week. In other words, from the time you get out of bed till the time you get back into bed, you write down what you do in every 15-minute intervals. If you are doing the same thing for 30 minutes just write it down once. But, if you do 2 or 3 things in one 15-minute slot, put all of those things down. The whole idea of this exercise is to see how you spend your time throughout the day. It is not to make judgments about your time spending activities. It’s just to become aware of what you currently spend your time doing.

The more detail you put into your time log, the more you will get out of it. For example, if you just write down, drove to work for 30 minutes, that was not nearly as good as writing down, drove to work and talked to two people on the phone about my daily activities that will allow me to be more productive tonight at home. You see my point? You have to give yourself positive reasons to change your behavior. If you focus on the negative in the beginning, you will never make the changes because you have not created any momentum.

Next week, I’m going to tell you what to do with your time log once you get it done.

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