Ever find yourself saying “I should make time to exercise more,” or “I should really spend less time watching television,” or “I just don’t have enough time to do the things I love”?

Let’s face it, time management can be tough!

Image: Child looking through binoculars

Source: Pixabay

So often, time feels like it is slipping away and “making time” for things feels like an impossibility. Maybe though, we don’t need more time but need to look at the time we have from a different perspective.

Today we are sharing with you a TED Talk that will leave you seeing time and time management in an entirely new way!

I’m going to begin with a confession. After procrastinating and procrastinating on this article I was searching madly to find a something brilliant to share with you all. Just as I said to myself, “Liesl, why didn’t you do this earlier, now you’re going to have to write instead of spending time with your family?” I found this TED Talk entitled “How to gain control of your free time.” Sometimes serendipity can have its own cruel humor.

So, I decided to watch the Talk thinking, “At least now I’ll learn a tip or two on how not to do this in the future!” As it turned out, and as you will see, it was so much more!

So, take a few minutes to enjoy this marvelous Talk from author and time management expert Laura Vanderkam.

Via: TED 1

Try it for yourself!

That was a lot to process, I know. The first time I watched this I was jotting down notes left and right! Now, I’ve rewatched it a few times and each time around I find myself scrawling something new!

At the risk of sounding preachy and too personal (which is not really our style at Ever Widening Circles), I have recently tried a few time management experiments on myself that are remarkably similar to the advice Laura Vanderkam gives.

For the past few months, I have been tracking my time, seeing where I have been falling into habits that suck up my time and making a list of the things I want to make time for. On the list of things I wanted to make time for I had, reading, creativity, exercise, calling my grandmother, and waking up at a decent hour.

During my time audit, I found that a lot of my free time was going into mindlessly checking Facebook and mindlessly watching Netflix. The latter I tracked by actually going into my profile settings and calculating my daily viewing history, that was really a slap in the face (imagine if you could do that with your television).

It turns out, there were two very easy fixes to both of the traps I found myself falling into. First, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone, which left me with no place to aimlessly scroll, and also decreased my use of Facebook on my computer. And second, I turned off the feature on Netflix that automatically plays the next episode of a show.

So, what about those things I wanted to make time for? Well, it turned out that many of those goals could be closely connected to my sleep schedule and now that I had “made time” with less Netflix and Facebook (two things I tended to do before bed that kept me up too late) I had time for them.

Taking a few weeks to accurately track your time can be annoying, but it’s also a great way to find more time in your day and see the things you are accidentally prioritizing by devoting time to them.

Just remember what Vanderkam said:

“Small moments can have great power.”

Our 168 hours a week matter. We can choose to improve ourselves in those hours, improve the lives of others in those hours, improve our relationships in those hours.

Even if our “free time” is short, it can still be meaningful.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


Looking for more life hacks?

We could all use an easy way to make life a little better sometimes! Check out our Life Hacks Category where you can find some creative ways to make life more amazing.

Life Hacks on EWC!

Or, give our Surprise Me button a try over in our sidebar, and see what kind of adventure it takes you on!


  1. Vanderkam, Laura. “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time | Laura Vanderkam.” YouTube. TED, 07 Feb. 2017. Web. 11 May 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3kNlFMXslo>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV

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