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Put Yourself On a Time Diet With These 3 Steps

09/26/2013 06:00 EDT | Updated 11/26/2013 05:12 EST

I just did an interview for a national magazine and as I was talking about my daily routine (we were talking about commuting) it occurred to me that my routine is the reason I can succinctly answer the question -- "How do you do it all?"

Better than how I do it all is what I learned about doing it all that I can share with you.

Doing it all is a fallacy. Doing it all is a terrible idea and a cancerous notion. No one does it all.

(Caveat: single moms and single dads might do it all, in which case we all out to lend a hand to a single mom or dad because they are about to snap if they are trying to do it all.)

In my life I have tired to be everything to everyone and what it got me was very tired, resentful and generally nowhere except in a few peoples good-books of people-to-call-when-everyone-else-says-no. Doing it all meant I felt depleted and over-stuffed. Like a life lived continually in the after turkey-dinner haze of uncomfortable and tired.

Here is my three step Time Diet Program:

(1) Write It Down -- Be Real

Take one day and truly log every 10 minutes spent...see where you spend your time, truly.

Then, cut out the fat. Try a time fat-free day the next day and I swear you will feel lighter.

I used to smoke. (Insert judgment here.) Then I quit. (Insert redemption here.)

What occurred to me once I had quit smoking was how much time 10 cigarettes took me to smoke in a day. I thought it took five minutes to have smoke, but it actually took about 10 minutes including leaving my desk, grabbing my coat, pack of smokes, lighter, coffee and then going outside, smoking, coming in, putting everything away, re-filling my coffee, getting a piece of gum, etc...

Ten smokes at 10 minutes each made up over an hour and a half of smoking per day.

What the heck?

Never mind quitting smoking for the health stuff, the time alone was worth it.

Think of what you could do if you had an extra hour and a half each day instead of 10 smokes or 10 Facebook check-ins.

(2) Make a List or Two

Make a list of all of the things you do in your life that you either dislike doing or that you are no good at.

Now, split the dislike doing category into (a) things you have to do but you dislike (i.e.: laundry, bookkeeping) and (b) things you do because you feel you should, ought to or don't know why you do them.

Take the list of things you do because you feel you have to and promptly call the person who you originally said yes to and tell them that you are no longer doing this thing.

You have a family emergency and that family emergency is making sure that the person running your family (you) can actually do his/her job of being a positive part of the family. When you are bogged down with a bunch of have-tos and should you are not a positive person to be around and it crowds out the good things in life.

Take the list of things you have to do but do not like to and add it to the list of things you are no good at and either hire someone to do that stuff for you or barter your way out of doing those things. Surely you are good at something, offer to do that thing for someone else in return for them doing the thing you are terrible at for you. Call in a favour. Ask for help. There is always a solution.

(3) Prioritize

Think of your time like a dinner plate. Canada's Food Guide tells you that you ought to have a certain number of each thing on your plate each day but that you ought not fill your plate too full or you will wind up immobilized by obesity.

The time you have in your life is just like that. Make room on the plate to fit in proportionate amounts of the things that nourish your goals (career, personal, spiritual etc).

If you try and heap on too much you cannot taste the true flavour of any one thing because it all mixes together. If you heap your plate too full then your life becomes immobilized by time-obesity wherein you can't enjoy every bite because you are just too full.

I rank the things I love to do and need to do at the top of my list. I cut out the fat. I say no thank you. I have a full plate. No second helpings for me because my life is full.

I will take dessert though.

Never say not to dessert.

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