The daily grind of working a full time job can at times become mundane. These past couple months I’ve spent a good amount of time assessing where in my life I can shave small amounts of time back to free myself. In this article I’ll explain how I took back 35 days of my life. How I freed myself to have more time with my family doing things that matter more to me. Sometimes we get so caught up in our everyday lives we forget what matters most. Whether that be family, friends or our passions. 

For the purpose of this article I’ve chosen to define a day as an 8 hour block that I would otherwise be doing something other than what is more important to me.

What’s More Important

This year we welcome into our lives Twin Boys and have had our priorities change overnight. It brings a level of joy into our home I never knew existed. But also another level of responsibility. For the most part I want to maximize my free time to enjoy being a father. Whether that be watching Sesame Street or wiping mashed wheat bix off the floor. I’m all in.

The second thing that is more important to me is still doing things that help us achieve our goals. The tasks on the chopping block did not serve an overwhelming purpose towards our goals.

Thirdly, since I’m now busier than ever I want to create some personal time for myself. Which could mean time to read, cook, walk the dog or do other things I like doing.

Life shouldn’t be lived in a hamster wheel of boredom so I want to keep myself sane by having more time for these things!

Figuring out what tasks I can outsource

There’s a fine line between taking back time and spending too much money doing so. The way I calculated this is by doing 3 things:

  1. Being realistic about how much I value that time
  2. How much will it cost
  3. Can I afford to outsource this task and will it fit into my budget comfortably 

Outsource 

The task I chose to outsource was mowing my lawns. I spend just over an hour every fortnight cutting our grass, keeping our front and back yards in good condition. For the most part I didn’t mind doing it, it’s just a part of having your own home right? Part of the 9-5 working class man right? Neh. There’s another way.   

There are tonnes of small lawn mowing businesses in our area that offer gardening and lawn mowing services. Best of all, a close friend of mine just started his own mowing business. He has agreed to maintain our yard, mowed and edged every fortnight for $50. 

So I can support my friend’s small business in this process which is a big bonus to me.

1 hour saved per fortnight equals 26 hours per year! 3.25 days more free time.

Automate

In this day and age automation can stretch far and wide around our homes. The task I have chosen to automate and save time, vacuuming. 

I calculated that I spend on average 10 minutes every second day vacuuming our house. Totalling 26 hours per year (30 minutes per week x 52 weeks).

Leeeetttt’ss get ready to Roooommmbbaaa! 

Doing a bit of research I found a robot vacuum for $400 brand new. It’s not the top of the range, nor the bottom. A fine middle range robot that does the job nicely. When our house needs a vacuum I simply press the button on top and away it goes. We’ve named it Ronnie Rommba.

Another 3.25 days a year free.

Negotiate

Lastly, negotiate. My work as a sales rep was greatly affected as I’m sure many others’ work was by the pandemic. I found myself working more remotely from home and on the road. This more remote style of work gave me an idea for when we returned to regular day to day life at work. 

I want to work less. Not only that but with the cost of daycare I need to work less. It doesn’t make sense for us working more to pay for an extra day at daycare. Especially when I can negotiate with my boss to have 1 day off a week to work from home and take care of our 2 baby boys.

So, the deal was: I work from home on Thursdays. Whilst taking care of my sons. My boss is a very good boss to be honest. He agreed that I can manage my work from my laptop and stay available via phone. So long as my sales levels do not suffer, I am ok to work from home. 

how to get more free time

Here’s where I save time.

I usually wake up early around 4am every day. On regular days this is the time I go to the gym. On Thursdays this is the time I get to work. My boys wake up at 6am so I have 2 full hours to work. 

Noone wants to receive emails at 4am so I schedule all my emails to be sent at 9am. I prepare notifications, cold calls, prospective sales and so on. All before my boys wake up.

Throughout the day I don’t touch my laptop again. I stay available to answer phone calls where I can but other than that I’m free for ‘Daddy Day’ all day until Mummy gets home at 5pm.

Then, at night around 730pm when the boys go to bed, exhausted from a day of playing with Daddy I get to work again. I spend around 1 to 1 ½ hours replying to all the messages I sent out that morning. Then, the work day is over.

Instead of a full 8 ½ hour working day, on Thursdays in total I work around 3 ½ hours now. Saving 5 hours. 5 hours per week x 50 working weeks = 250 hours, 31.25 days!!

How I Gained 35 Days More Free Time To Do The Things I Love

Ok, so the title says 35 days. In total I managed to free up 37.75 days of my life without a huge impact on my budget.

I now have much, much more free time. Which is so precious to me above all else right now. Especially when life has become so hectic since our twin boys arrived. 
I now have what seems like much more free time to spend with my family. Whether that be baking banana bread for an afternoon treat or simply singing along to Sesame Street’s number of the day. These are the things more important to me now. In the near future I plan to find more ways to find more time, through rereading The 4 Hour Work Week again and seeing where I can get more out of my days.