"I'm just too busy."
"I can't get things done because my schedule is jam-packed from morning to night."
"I don't have time to make change."
Want to believe these things about yourself? Or would you like to find out if you have time to make some changes? I happen to know from my own experience that there is plenty of time tucked away inside a day. "So trust me," I say. "Believe me!"
(And then hundreds of very busy people tune me out because I tell them to rely on my experience instead of their own.)
Luckily, I know about a great tool to show people their hidden time: the Life Log.
I first read about about the Life Log in Fearless Living by Rhonda Britten. She says, "When you write down in black and white exactly what you do all day, you end up with a clear picture of whether you are frittering away your life on low-priority activities out of fear, or whether you are bold enough to use your time wisely and well in order to go where you were meant to go."
The exercise is simple, really. Every half hour, you record in a journal what you did in the previous half hour. It can be simple, like "work" or "eat," or it can be more complex, like "worked on outline for 2pm meeting" or "ate cake because I felt crappy." (Not that I know anyone whose done that...) You're recording this for you, so the shorthand only has to make sense to you, but you should be as honest as possible in this record so any patterns that exist can start to reveal themselves.
Once you've done this for a week, divide your life into categories (the categories from the Wheel of Life are a good place to start) and then apply a category to each of the half hours you've recorded. Tally up the half-hours, and you'll begin to see where you spend most of your time... and where there might be more time to be had.
Not finding any time? Hmm, are you being brutally honest about how you're spending your time? Are the changes you're trying to make a high enough priority for you? What else might need to shift in order to find the time you need to make those changes?