5 Proven Steps to Finding Time for Yourself

By Jim MacDonald

How many times have you heard people say “I just don’t have enough time?” How many times have you said these words? You might think I know you personally because I’m sure the answer to these questions is “countless times.”

My wife of 33 years knows better than to say it to me but my 4 children will still slip now and again—and I’ll respond with:

“You have time to do the things you want to do.”

There are 24 hours in the day for every single person alive. What you choose to do with those twenty-four hours is entirely up to you.

So let’s look at how most people spend their day:

  • Sleep: 8 hours on average (some people sleep more and some less)
  • Shower; Shave; etc.: 0.5 hours
  • Eat 3 meals: Breakfast 0.5; Lunch 0.5; Dinner 1.0; for a total of 2 hours
  • Work: 8 hours (many will work more and some may work less)
  • Transportation for work: 0.5 to work; 0.5 home from work; or 1 hour
  • Comp time: 0.5 to allow for time to hit the snooze button, a little long on a meal, or even drive time. (Actually just to make my math a whole number).

This leaves a total of 4 hours to choose what you want to do—and this doesn’t count the two days off of work (assuming you get two days off).

From here we go in different directions but the point I’m making is we can make time for “the things we want to do”.

Here are 5 sure-fire ways to carving out time we think we don’t have…

  1. This is the most important step: make a WRITTEN list of things you want to accomplish the next day. If you don’t start with a list, you’ll never find the time to do anything worthwhile above and beyond what you’re currently doing.

Be the “master” of your day rather than letting the day master you. Writing a “To-Do List” will identify the things you’d like to get accomplished.

  1. Place a letter: A, B, or C next to each item on the list.
  • ‘A’ is for the item that’s most important to you and something you truly want to accomplish. Only place an ‘A’ on an item you’ll commit to getting done that day.
  • ‘B’ is for items that are important but can wait another day. These items could fall under the ‘A’ category except you’re not willing to commit to accomplishing them today.
  • ‘C’ is for the things you want to do but may not be as important. C’s are usually the fun things that will dominate our day with or without a list.

In order for steps one and two to work; the ‘A’ must-have AUTHORITY in your life. If you put an ‘A’ on an item, don’t let anything interfere with that decision. Place a ‘B’ on the item if it’s possible you may not get to it. Make the ‘A’, top priority (must complete) in the decisions of your day, or don’t give it an ‘A’.

How can these two steps help me find time for myself?

In order to find time for yourself, you must first identify what that means. It may mean going fishing after work, reading a good book, taking an exhilarating ride down your favorite winding country road on your Ducati motorcycle?

Perhaps it means enjoying time with your spouse and children or going for a jog? It could mean working on a hobby you’ve been putting off—you get to decide. But you must write it down.

The next three steps are tips for squeezing time out of your busy day.

  1. Social media has consumed a major part of our lives. We tend to log on and scroll through posts until we get bored or interrupted. Make a decision to limit your time and use a timer to STOP you when time’s up. You might even set it 5 minutes early so you can complete the post you were on.

According to several different studies, Americans spend nine to eleven hours per day on electronic media, (including TV, radio, game consoles, etc.). Computers and smartphones account for nearly 2 hours per day.

Try cutting an hour out of your ‘social media’ time to use for a category “A” item.

  1. Viewing the television can be a major time hog. DVRs can buy back so much of the time you spend. If you watch any amount of TV and are looking to free up time, a DVR is a must.

Skipping the commercials while watching a one-hour show will save you nearly twenty minutes. In watching 3-one hour shows you’ll save close to an hour. This would be a great spot for an “A” or a “B” list item.

  1. This final item doesn’t work for my wife but I take full advantage of it. Get out of bed an hour or two early. You would be amazed at how much you can accomplish by getting up early. Your spouse and children are still sleeping and you can use that “me” time however you see fit.

Getting up early and doing an “A” list item will establish the rest of your day in a positive light. You’ll operate at an elevated mindset knowing you’ve accomplished your “me” item—the rest of the day you’ll be deflecting flaming arrows with a smile on your face.


Like any worthwhile goal, if you don’t write it down and put a date or time on it, you’ll NEVER see it. Steps one and two give you the vision and desire to find additional ways to access time from your twenty-four-hour day.

There’s an old expression: “if you want to get something accomplished, ask a busy person.” Busy people who are successful know how to get the most out of each second of every day.

Let me end with one of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Franklin: “Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” Carve out some time and get excited about your life. You deserve it.


Listed below are articles I’ve written pertaining to the family. Click on a link to read an article. When you’re finished, just click the link at the end of the article to return to this page to read another.

Please enjoy!

A Very Good Wife

5 Proven Steps to Finding Time for Yourself – See Above

(Back to the top)