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The Easiest Way To Free Up Hours: Protect Your Time

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

Time Is a Finite Resource

Even more than money, our time is valuable. It doesn’t seem like that at first sight because it is free. But you will never get back the time you are spending right now, nor the one you spent yesterday (whereas money comes and goes). So it is a rare resource, and people will want to take it. It feels nice to be needed, but scratch the surface and discover that most meetings you’ll take will benefit the other, not you.

Stop giving your time away. Then you might complain that you “don’t have time” -for often important tasks.

Unnecessary meetings, doing things for others’ agenda, commuting… you can avoid a big part of it or reduce it and have more time for your family, yourself or creative endeavors.

Scrimp and Save on Meeting’s Duration

If you have 4 meetings a day and you make them 30 mn meetings instead of 1 hour, you save up to 2 ½ months of awake time in the year. Yep, that is right, do the math again if you don’t believe me.

THE EQUATION: 2 hours/day x 5 = 10 hours. 1 day of work X 4 is almost a week per month. 12 weeks a year X 0,8 = 9,6 weeks. Approximately 2 ½ months.

We don’t really think of the duration of a meeting usually. A friend, colleague or client just books a one hour slot with you and you just say “ok”.

What if you paused first? Maybe you don’t need an hour for that. Maybe you don’t need that weekly meeting at all. You just saved a couple of days in the year.

One easy thing you can do is to ask for a 30 mn slot instead. One key element in the Pomodoro’s method is the following: set yourself a set time for a given task and your brain will do everything to stick to it. I’m sure you can have it fit in 30mn. Worst case scenario you do a bit more.

My podiatrist friend for example, realized that his consultations were 45 minutes but they actually took 30 mn. And between each, he had 15 mn that were kind of wasted. What did he do? He just decided they’ll be 30 mn from now on. Easy.

The result? For every day he gives 10 consultations, he saves up to 2 hours.

2 ½ months / year.

“Do I Absolutely Need to be There?”

Imagine this: you have to meet a client, a friend, a family member… Or wait, do you actually?

How many times have you said yes when you could politely say: “I can’t, I’m at work”, or simply “Not this Thursday but the one after, ok?”. We just don’t dare. Time is free, so why not give it up, right?

This doesn’t mean you should say no to all meetings, personal or professional, but I’m pretty confident you can have less of them or delete 1 out of 3 or 4. And I know you can’t alway say no to a meeting when you are in a job but you can sometimes. Just ask this simple and elegant question: “Do I really need to be at this meeting?” And add that you could work on other tasks that are more important instead. Do this once a week and save a couple of hours in your week.

Decide Where, Decide When.

Emily is so nice. She invited you to have lunch with her and you really want to see her. You receive a Whatsapp and oh! It is on the other side of town, where she works. Ah, what the hell, you haven’t seen her in a while and she has only a 45 minutes break to eat anyways.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Yep, you should have paused and asked where it was.

Emily is smart, she optimized a lunch break to see a friend. And you just lost 45 mn x 2 to go there and come back.

Maybe you are thinking I go too far here, but again, you can’t always do this, and you don’t want to. You can do it sometimes. And the addition of all the 15 mn pieces will convert into months for you.

What efficient people do is to ask others to book a meeting with them in their schedule, and don’t wait for you to suggest a slot in yours. They ask you for Friday at 3pm in this specific location. Why? Because they will already be there. No extra time. They might even add: “I just have 45 mn because I have to ___ after, but I’m sure it shouldn’t last more than 30 mn, right?”. Boom, settled.

There are no reasons why you can’t do this. Especially with softwares like Calendly, Hubspots or else, people can now see your availability and pick the one they like. They get a google calendar invite and a reminder. What else can you ask for?

At The End, It Just Is a Reflex To Have

There you go guys, I told you so many things you could do. Don’t do it all. Your friends and family might feel left out. Your partners and potential clients might feel like you aren’t taking them seriously. But do some of them.

You owe this to yourself.

You don’t want to make the reverse math, trust me. If you don’t incorporate this reflex everyday, you could waste years of your life in the subway or in boring meetings you could have avoided. You have only one life and you want to make the most out of it, on your terms. Incorporate this little mindset, pause one second when people ask for a meeting and you can create the time and dedicate your focus and energy to things that actually matter for you. Spend more time with your loved ones. Start your dream business. Have fun.

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