1. Step Back (For a Second)
Figure out why you want more free time. “You can’t win a game you haven’t defined,” says David Allen, a productivity expert and the author of the best seller Getting Things Done (Penguin Books, $15, amazon.com). You’ll be more motivated to change if you have a specific goal.
Make a wish list. Write down all the activities that you long to do more of―whether they’re things that make you happy, relaxed, sane(r), or all three. Rank the items in order of importance to you, then pick one or two to focus on. (Once you get the hang of this system, you can address the rest.)
Now write down how you really spend your time. If it’s all one makelunchcarpoolrunaroundlikecrazy blur, keep a detailed diary for a few days. (Want some encouragement―and comfort that someone’s life is as crazy as yours? Check out Reader Time Diaries.) You might be surprised by how little time you spend doing things you love most. The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things?