Ever feel that you don't have enough time, but others do?

My question is this. If everyone has the same number of hours to work with, why does it feel that some people have mastered the art of getting “it all” done where others struggle?

While the rest of us are trying to get through the day without dropping everything, these "other people" are on their second vacation in six months after launching a new product and writing a book.

How do they do it?

I'm not the only one asking. Type “time management tips” into google and 159 billion results come up. All of them promise an insight into how you can stretch time to do more.

If you’re a freelancer or independent contractor, time is especially important. Because where you spend your time determines how much revenue (or potential revenue) comes through the door.

Lifehacks say to stretch your productive hours by waking up earlier, checking less email, taking meditation breaks, and my favorite, naps (I’m still working on selling this idea).

Each tip carries value, depending on how you operate. And while we can’t say we have the answer, the insights we’ve gained through helping individuals and companies manage their time have carried us into creating a more productive work week for ourselves.

Set real priorities

One of the best insights we’ve gleaned about setting priorities is from Laura Vanderkam’s TED talk, “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time.”

It’s the best because she doesn’t walk through a five-step plan, or share one-off life hacks. In fact, Laura doesn’t believe time-saving life hacks are all that effective for effectively saving time. Instead of “tricks,” she offers this:

“We don’t build the lives we want by saving time. We build the lives we want and time saves itself...We have the power to fill our lives with those things that deserve to be there.”

It’s a powerful reminder that in many cases, we control what we spend our time doing. Whether it’s working some extra hours in a workday, spending quality time with family or pursuing a project or hobby.

It goes back to knowing your focus, which we touched on back in “Eliminate Distractions.” What is it that you want to do, be known for, or generally spend your time doing?

By making the time to do the things that matter to us (or that bring us revenue), we’re able to look forward to a work week, month or year and feel empowered to achieve our goals, even if those goals are just to spend more time doing important things.

Laura’s words are ions more quotable.

“Time is highly elastic,” she says. “We cannot make more time, but time will stretch to accomodate what we put into it.”

Put your priorities in the calendar first and then add the rest around it.

Hourstack can help

By setting aside real hours for the important things, you go beyond good intentions and stretch time to fit your priorities. And that’s just the beginning. Hourstack helps individuals and team share workspaces, track time, run reports and more.

See it for yourself with a no credit card required, 14-day free trial.