How Do I Find Time for Things Other than my Day Job?
I think many of us wish that there were more hours in the day. The truth is, even though it's easy to be busy, it's (virtually) always possible to make time for things that we consider important. I hope this list contains both strategic and tactical recs that can make a difference.
1. Start with data collection
You can use technology to help you here, but before you think about making a change I think it's a good idea to see how you're currently allotting your time. You probably have a general sense of this, but I think it warrants detailed observation. Not to mention that our perceptions can be disconnected from reality.
Gathering data will help you categorize your day and identify opportunities for change.
2. Define what success means to you
"Things other than a day job" is quite vague. Are there certain hobbies you want to develop? Side hustles you want to launch? A language you want to learn? Whatever the case, think about what you're looking to do in your sought-after free time. This will help you know how much time you'll need to "save" or set aside.
3. ...and know that this will require prioritization and trade-offs
Unfortunately, it's not usually feasible to do *everything* you could want. Start small, and consider adding things and removing them dynamically.
4. Tackle the obvious first: where do you waste the most time?
Why not start with the low-hanging fruit? A common culprit is your phone (and I'm very guilty of this). Are there other things in your life that elicit chronic time-wasting? Try to cut down on those first.
5. Be purposeful in your actions and don't forget the importance of intent
I think this advice can be applied to many facets of life, and time management is definitely one of them. Begin by catching yourself when you do time-wasting activities passively or out of habit.
6. Establish consequences for time-wasting
Once you've started to pay more attention, negative reinforcement can actually go a long way. For example, make a pact to pay $10 to a friend for every 10 minutes of time you waste on your phone.
7. Hold yourself accountable by using a progress tracker or telling your plans to a buddy
This is a bit different from negative reinforcement. Rather, it's about consistency and habit formation.
8. Work smarter, not harder
Take a look at some of the activities you do that don't fall into the "wasting time" category. One of these is surely work. Are there ways in which you can do less at your day job? Can you hire a freelancer to help out with some of your daily tasks? Can you write an algorithm (or hire someone to do so) for routine tasks that you need to do? These require up-front effort but pay dividends down the line.
9. Consider reducing your hours at work or working part-time
This is a very context-dependent recommendation that doesn't apply to everyone. But, if you're trying to launch a side-hustle or if you really prioritize something that work isn't allowing you to do, it could make sense.
10. If your time is more valuable to you than your money, consider outsourcing things like chores or cooking
Again, this is a context-dependent recommendation. For many people, purchasing services is absolutely a worthwhile investment because it gives them more free time.