3: A Simple Method for Getting Your Time Back

This episode is for the busy person who is overwhelmed and doesn’t have enough hours in the day – follow this roadmap in order to free up those hours and get your time back. To summarise:

  1. Reduce – Remove the tasks that aren’t strictly necessary 
  2. Optimise – Make the remaining tasks as easy as possible
  3. Automate – If a machine can do it for you, let it 
  4. Delegate – If all else fails, pay someone else to do it for you 


 Hello and welcome to another episode of the Minimal Minds Podcast. I’m your host, my name is Alex, and thank you so much for joining me here wherever you are in the world today. On today’s show, we’re going to be talking about a roadmap that if you follow correctly and consistently, you’ll free up more of your precious time.

This episode is for people who feel like they don’t have enough time. They have so much going on that they don’t even have time to relax. They don’t have enough hours in the day to do all the things that they want to do, they feel like they have to do, and they feel like they’re losing out. On spending time doing things they enjoy, and spending time with people that they care about.

So our lives are more chaotic than any other time in human history. We are constantly bombarded with information, advertising, grating man made noises like cars and public transit, machinery, and on top of that, you gotta spend half your day, every day, doing your job. Bit cringe, isn’t it? With all that in mind, is there any wonder why more people are suffering with their mental health?

More people than ever before? Is there any wonder why people feel like they don’t have any time? If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your workload, you’re not alone. We are not physically designed to be burdened with the sheer amount most of us have on our plates. Our society has progressed, but our brains haven’t caught up yet.

That’s alright. You’re not faulty because you can’t keep up. Sometimes you have to accept that you are not designed for the expectations you put on yourself. Don’t listen to the hostile culture. They’re selling you an idea. It’s not actually sustainable. If you keep on putting yourself through extended periods of stress, you will burn out, and you’re gonna suffer.

Don’t do that. Minimalism isn’t just about the things that you own, or lack thereof, but pursuing a simpler life. It’s about transforming chaos into order, and freeing up your mental bandwidth. Our first layer of our roadmap is R. It stands for Reduce. The first task is to make a list of all your tasks and responsibilities.

As many as you can think of, if it helps, categorize them into different areas of responsibility. Your job can be one, your personal health, then your responsibilities like house maintenance, or your kids, if you have any. The separate thing, even the things that don’t happen very often, or things that you may even consider to be less important.

If it’s something that you have to do, or you know you should do, just add it to the list. Once all these are listed, we can take a closer look at each one, and determine the changes we are going to make. Now, have you ever heard of something called Parkinson’s Law? It states that we will naturally fill up the time we have for any given task.

So, if I give you 8 hours to do something, it’s probably going to take you 8 hours to do. If you’re given two months, you’re probably gonna put it off until the deadline comes really close. We naturally tend to put things off knowing that the deadline is still far away. But if your deadlines for everything are longer than they need to be, you’ll likely end up having a lot of things to do that all need to be done simultaneously, if you know what I mean.

So you may feel like you’re juggling everything at the same time. Having all this weighing on your mind is more likely to stress you out, especially as all those deadlines start to loom in. Those other things that you know you should do, end up sitting on the back burner and may never get done at all.

So, to summarize, it’s the norm to be busy and have all of your tasks and deadlines on your mind. We fill all the remaining time that we have, often with things that aren’t actually very important. So, this step, reduce, has two components. The first component is to look at the things we don’t specifically need to do, but we do them anyway.

What things, if you stop doing, wouldn’t negatively impact your life? For example, are you inventing tasks to fill your time in order to feel more productive at work? Are you doing things in your personal life that you feel like you should do, but you aren’t actually interested in? You feel like you’re doing things out of obligation.

You gotta be ruthless. You’re allowed to prioritize yourself. If a task doesn’t add value to your life, just eliminate it. With this first component done, you should be left with a list of tasks that all individually add value to your life. Remember, you want to be effective, not productive. That’s so important.

Effective, not productive. These are two very different things. Productivity is about getting things done regardless of what they are. Effectiveness is about getting the right things done. Things that actually help you get closer towards your goals. Doing tasks just so you can tick them off a list doesn’t actually help you, it hinders you.

You’ve got to reduce your list of things to do. The second component is to reduce the time you have to do each task. Let’s take advantage of Parkinson’s law. If we know we only have one hour to do something instead of the entire day, We’re much likely to be more effective with our time. If it ends up taking us a little more time than that, that’s alright too.

But I bet you, you’ll have accomplished more in that one hour, than if you hadn’t reduced your time limit for it. Focus on how long the thing should take, not the total amount of time you have left to do it. Hopefully now you have a list of tasks that must be done, as well as a reduced timeline on how long each one should take.

Now we can move on to step two of the roadmap, which is O, stands for Optimise. In this step we want to examine how we can make each task quicker to do. Everything we do involves some kind of process. A certain amount of things normally done in an order to produce an end result. We want to reduce the amount of steps for each task as much as we can, yet still get the same result at the end.

You gotta think. Is there a more efficient way of doing this? One good example of this is something called batching. This means doing similar tasks in one batch load while you’re in the same mental space. Frequent task switching is a sure way to lose momentum and time unnecessarily. You can batch anything as long as they’re similar.

You can batch admin tasks, batch washing your clothes. Like, you wouldn’t wash a top individually, would you? That’s just ridiculous. You can batch buying groceries and food instead of frequent small trips. One thing I like to do is batch cooking. Making enough meals for a few days and then boxing them up and freezing them.

Doing this means you’ve only got to cook once, yet the effects of me doing this can be felt later on in the week, as it’s giving me more time and energy back, because I’ve only cooked once, yet I’ve got five meals out of it. What can you batch? Our third letter in the roadmap is A, which is for automation.

There’s a popular saying in the world of software development. It goes along the lines of, anything that can be automated, will be automated. You’d be surprised to know how many of our tasks can be automated by letting computers. Admittedly, this works best for any kind of office work or computer related tasks, but it does spill over into the outside areas too.

You don’t need to learn how to code, there are websites out there designed just for this purpose. Zapio. com is one, as well as ITTT, I think it’s called, If This Then That. These are two websites automate common tasks that a lot of people do. In the real world, the majority of the service industry is designed to make things easier for you by taking a task off your plate and saving you time and effort in some way.

An example could be ordering food shopping to your door, you pick what you want and the rest is taken care of for you. You don’t need to drive to the shop, look for everything you want, carry everything, bring it home. The time it saves you alone is often well worth more than the cost of delivery.

Now our last letter for our roadmap is D, obviously, put them together, it makes road. It stands for delegation. The things that must be done, and they’re important, and they’ve been made as simple as possible, and they can’t be done by a machine. After all of that, you just get someone else to do it for you.

It’s really as simple as that. Just pay someone to do it. Here’s a list of three conditions where you should outsource your remaining tasks. Number one is things you don’t like doing. And there’s things you’ve struggled to do yourself, and then things you shouldn’t be doing at all. Now, it’s gonna sound a bit alien if you’re a normal person working from a standard 9 5.

You can feel like it’s something that you inherently just can’t afford. But sometimes, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Ultimately, it comes down to how you value your time. and coming to the conclusion that your money can be earned back. But your time has gone forever once you’ve spent it, so why bother spending it on things that you don’t really like doing?

I guarantee you that the majority of billionaires would trade it all just to be young again and have their time back. It’s best you come to the same conclusion whilst time is on your side, assuming you’re reasonably young. The most common route these days is to hire a virtual assistant for life’s persistent administration tasks.

If a task doesn’t require in person attendance, Chances are they can do it for you. If that can’t be done, can you hire someone you know to do it for you? When you combine all the things we’ve talked about today and continue to follow it, hopefully you should be left with more time to yourself by the end of the week, and you’ll likely get more accomplished than you did originally.

So, let’s recap. Step 1. R for Reduce. You’ve got to reduce the amount of things you need to do, and reduce the amount of time that you have to do them. Step 2. O for Optimize. Optimize each task by making them as simple and as easy as possible. Step three automate if you can get a computer or your phone to do it for you Let it do it for you and step four D for delegate for the remaining tasks that you either don’t enjoy you’re not good at shouldn’t be doing get someone else to do it For you.

That’s about it for today’s episode. I hope you found value in everything that we talked about today If you did and you want to support the show Please take a couple of seconds to give us a review on upper podcast and spotify If you want to read more, check us out at TheMinimalMinds. com We’ve got blog posts on Saturdays, podcasts on Tuesdays.

See you next time!