Here is the free worksheet to do your personal Time Flow Analysis:
A complete personal Time Flow Analysis
A Time Flow Analysis not only helps you assess your 3rd-lifetime, energy, and life satisfaction but helps you determine where and how you are currently spending your time during the week. You think you know, but you don’t. (According to researcher Laura Vanderkamp, people over- and underestimate time spent on a task based on whether they like it or not.)
Similar to the Cash Flow Analysis I once did with my financial planning clients as a starting point to reset their financial lives, the Time Flow Analysis is a starting point to reset your 3rd-life life. (As you may have noticed, I intentionally chose not to include a financial piece chapter that I used to teach in this book. The market is flooded with financial books for encores already. In fact, if you Google retirement planning, 99% of the hits are about financial planning).
Granted, walking around with a clipboard and writing down times and activities for a week is a significant commitment, but you’ll be surprised how fascinating it is. Most encores who did this during my classes found the exercise valuable and extremely eye-opening.
Once you start, interesting observations occur as you watch yourself. You both live your life and watch your life like a reality TV show following you around 24/7. You switch back and forth from being the actor to being the film crew. I highly recommend you do the Time Flow Analysis. I do it myself every 90 days and learn something new every time. (You can download a blank Time Flow Analysis form from my website: www.forwardlifecoaching.com/forms.)
Step 1. Carry a clipboard with your Time Flow Analysis worksheet to track all your activities for one week using something similar to Figure __.
Step 2. Record your activities for the entire 168-hour week. Roughly track categories such as watching TV, getting ready in the morning, sleeping, eating, exercise, errands etc. Hint: Every week seems not typical. Don’t let that throw you off. If you don’t want to do a week, do at least one day. You’ll still obtain valuable data. (However, week tracking data is more powerful.)
Step 3. Total the hours at the end of your week. Add up those dedicated to each activity such as sleep, basics for body and house, TV/Internet, etc. Feel free to create categories that are more meaningful for you. For example, if you care for an elderly parent or grandkids, you might want to find out how many hours are dedicated to this task. Include all time related to the task including driving, phone calls, and setting up. I’ve had encores shocked and relieved to discover they spent 15 hours or more per week than they realized on tasks like these. Suddenly feeling there’s never enough time to do what you want to makes sense once you’ve collected data on your life. Now, you have more choices for what you want moving forward.
Step 4. Review your results and be as honest as you can with yourself. Ponder these questions: What activities/time do you want more of? What do you want less of? What would you like to stop? What would you like to start? Any advice for yourself?
Step 5. Plan your next week using what you learned about your time and yourself.