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How to gain control of your free time | Laura Vanderkam

73157 ratings | 3289522 views
There are 168 hours in each week. How do we find time for what matters most? Time management expert Laura Vanderkam studies how busy people spend their lives, and she's discovered that many of us drastically overestimate our commitments each week, while underestimating the time we have to ourselves. She offers a few practical strategies to help find more time for what matters to us, so we can "build the lives we want in the time we've got." TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate Follow TED news on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tednews Like TED on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TED Subscribe to our channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector
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Text Comments (1279)
random name (23 hours ago)
not very engaging
Lennart OtW (3 days ago)
Just read the stuff that Seneca wrote back then about the time
Anushka Giri (6 days ago)
Fantastic
Sara Ilyas (7 days ago)
How can someone dislike this?
Carolyn (9 days ago)
How to gain control of your free time: scroll through the comment section!
aryan Yadav (12 days ago)
My getaway is I don't have time = it's not a priority
This reminded me of the quote "I don't have time for you because you're not my priority" (:
Robin Roy (14 days ago)
Great information
Ivana Milojevic (15 days ago)
Such a powerful message conveyed in such a simple way.
Angad Katdare (15 days ago)
Step 1: Watch this video at 2x
Samara V Hamilton (18 days ago)
I like the overall talk for its springboard effect, but it assumes that the person who doesn't utilize 100% of their non-sleep, non-work time "productively" is just not that into it, or worse, lazy (though, spoiler alert, we're all here addicted to YouTube and yes it detracts from our goals). Some of us work at extremely physical jobs where at least one full off day is simply for recovery. Some of us are chronically ill. Some of us have compassion fatigue. Plus *everyone* has good days and bad days. What I will agree with is that when we do have a priority in which the fight-or-flight mechanism kicks in (like the flooded basement), that goes to the top of the list automatically. What she didn't discuss is how you literally cannot do anything else till that task is complete. Making everything into an emergency doesn't seem appealing to me. Strangely, by the end she was back to the squeezing-things-in-that-you-find-important that she pooh-poohed in the beginning.
wanna manage time? do what you love and cut all expenses you don't really need.
Ciprian Alexandru (19 days ago)
glad I watched this so I know not to get her book
qui trong (22 days ago)
Nice breast
There is always time to do what you want to do, it's just matter of priorities. The phrase "I don't have time" is an excuse, because we have 168 hours in each week, and half of them is free. It's a lot of time to learn some skill or to get some fun.
Common Sense (25 days ago)
Time is NOT elastic. In case of emergency you have to RESCHEDULE everything else.
blinddatereject (27 days ago)
This whole 40+hr/week thing isnt right, I'll tell you that. School wastes your life but teaches you nothing about it. You can do more things you enjoy but that doesnt mean youre living up to your potential. We need people in the world, and we need to BE people that have come alive. What's the hike going to do? I'm still working too damn hard and not moving in the direction I want. That's like another way to waste time on the phone.
blinddatereject (27 days ago)
I feel like trying to fit in more stuff that I actually like will stress me out more 🙈
Bbb Mmm (28 days ago)
"Side Hustle" is how criminals talk.
the_globehead (29 days ago)
i only have 4 hours of free time on mondays. and in those 4 hours i need to get dressed and do my home work. 14 hours on sundays. on saturdays i have 9 but on other days i have 7-8 hours. if im lucky then i get 58 hours of free time. aka 30% procent of my week. not acounting for the time in which i get ready and do my homework.
Ganesh Sawant (1 month ago)
nice
Meyirim Sekenova (1 month ago)
I disagree so much with this vision of life.Life isn't about maximizing your time to be proficient as possible, but about being transformed and feel happiness on the way.Plus,some activities like work affect your mood and mindset for much more than just the hours you have worked ,taking the whole day away .I believe that someone who thinks of time on earth as a fixed amounts of minutes probably didn't had a time to themselves in ages.Spending countless hours doing nothing is so important for many creative process and to have opportunity to question things .It isn't about the length of time , but about it depth .You can find eternity within a breath if you're really present.
Even if we are busy, there are time for what matters. I truly believe that is about priorize what really we want to do..
RASTA (1 month ago)
Watch in 1.25 speed. Your welcome!
Imre Pető (1 month ago)
My all time is free time, especially now as a do not have a job. But even when I worked 40 hours a week. I chose to be there. I wanted that experience.
adam warren (1 month ago)
Public speaking skills lvl 10👏👏👏
Nikolay Em (1 month ago)
This is useless video, what about daily routine? Cooking, home duties, shopping, a lot of tasks are require context? Don't waste your time, two things you need to know - have a priority, Todo prioritize list.
schalazeal07 (1 month ago)
This is enlightening.. thank you!
1103 Musik Berlin (1 month ago)
very good video
marlasinger8989 (1 month ago)
This is so oversimplified. As if all time we spend not working is free time. What about commuting, preparing yourself for work. And if I get home exhausted, just wanting to go to bed, there's no way I could do something satisfying with my free time...
marlasinger8989 (1 month ago)
+Mangafan47 you missed the point. What I was saying is that no matter how much I want to read during my commute, by the time I finish work, my eyes burn from sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours, so forget about reading. By the time I have time to rest after preparing dinner, preparing stuff for work the next day, I'm exhausted. So running? Really? Is free time really free when you have no energy whatsoever left from your day at work to do anything productive?
Mangafan47 (1 month ago)
That's wrong. 1) she said use your commuting time. I sit on a bus everyday for 30min (15min to and from work). That's 2.5h a week I have for reading books, writing stories or (in my case) review my spanish vocab & grammar cards. 2) As long as you have time to watch TV, scroll through youtube, facebook, instagramm etc you also have time to do sth satisfying. Taking a 30min run + shower is maybe one episode of criminal minds/chicago med/ scrubs/ good wife/... 3) Do satisfying stuff gives you energy, so it's literally the best thing to do if you're exhausted. The only "exhausting" thing about doing sth satisfying is to start. as soon as you're doing it *puff you got the energy. Try it for 21-30days and yor habits change so drstically that it becomes a self-running system. ;)
Tina Pak (1 month ago)
"you're working over 60 hours a week, well are you sure?" guess you aren't familiar with investment bankers and public accountants
Esther Neema (1 month ago)
"Bits of time for Bits of Joy" Amazing :) .
Investments Not saving (1 month ago)
watching this video is bad time management
Rizal Fauzi Adim (1 month ago)
I hope you give a subtitle indonesia in every video 😊
Adam Davis (1 month ago)
How to gain control of your free time: Break your water heater.
Weam Ahmad (1 month ago)
you are great ☺tomorrow I'm going to do your plan but I'm sure 💯 percent it wouldn't be successful
Shilpa Sainia (1 month ago)
👍🏻
Afnan Ahmad (1 month ago)
WE HAVE TIME! When we focus on what matters, we can build the life we want in the time we've got :-)
كهلان شعفه (1 month ago)
i don't have time for the death I be busy with my life ! are you understand me ? 😅😅
m m ganesh (1 month ago)
4.53 true
DURMUŞ BAYSAL (1 month ago)
"For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship]. And to your Lord direct [your] longing." (The Noble Quran. Surah Ash Sharh. Verse 5-8) By time, Indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience. (Surah Al Asr) Listen to the voice of the Noble Quran. Maybe your life will be changed If God allows. French : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVY8pwx9B74 English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Omh4oG8T_Fw German: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXWTxB6oS6I
Julie H (1 month ago)
LOVE this! Thank you for inspiring me! So much time to use on my priorities!
Samuel Portillo (2 months ago)
This is ted's speech I like the most :O! This is me!
ila yadav (2 months ago)
Excellent video
jh k (2 months ago)
Best speaking I've heard ever.
firefly (2 months ago)
She found 7 hours to sort her basement but had to take that time out of something else. That something else still needs to be done and now she is short of 7hours this week trying to catch up the 7 hours she "found" last week. Well if she is anything like me that is. When you work and have a hobby career, you can't juggle it very well without pinching time here but then finding that you are now short of the other project that has to be done. You just pray that it fixes itself, you find a short cut or you hire someone to take up the time deficit.
Trần Thanh Mai (2 months ago)
so luck that youtube have the slow speed, i saw some cambridge, havard ... studen clip, and one thing that i really like is that they all have to-do-list for a day or a work time, this thing i never imagine that having anyone do, it just appear in time-management-book, so it's really happen, so i just begin to do it now, it works, so amazing, it really works even just one or two thing of all the list i write down. So if you determind the rank of thing to do and write down, at least , one thing will be done, it is just a day, not month, or year, or life, a day is must esier
Anna Rogalska (2 months ago)
So basically it comes down to S.Covey's begin with an end in mind
Joseph DeCamara (2 months ago)
better than I expected. I liked this talk. thank you.
Dirk Scholten (2 months ago)
Go build the life you want in the time we got...just finished writing my performance appraisal today - pretty painful. This talk motivated me to pull it out again and make 3 concise points on how I achieved each goal at this time next year.
Shinjitzu (2 months ago)
You need to be taught how to control your own free time?
Sandy 312 (2 months ago)
This is so great. Thank you.
Oskar winters (2 months ago)
watching this on a friday afternoon haha
Panagiota Boskou (2 months ago)
I'm a student in Greece... I work 24 7 🙃 no joke
enigma mist (2 months ago)
My dead end job takes all my free time, or else I will be fired.
22burst2020ddsspec (2 months ago)
I don't think the main distinction is that we are 'unaware of what our priorities are'. The larger distinction with the biggest impact is merely discipline for most people.
R S (2 months ago)
my free time is sitting in the air conditioned building for a few hours a day. I'm not sure if you understand I sweat till 3 am sleeping and then start sweating again at 7am bro these 3 hours are needed thanks for your concern
cchen zhang (2 months ago)
Her English sounds great.
nilii (2 months ago)
The are very interesting and good points shared in this video. But after all I had one more thought, you may say that it is an excuse, but let's assume the case is legit and important. What if after 8h of work and some important things you doo in the household you are simply tired... I know that until bed time you can have 2 or 3 more hours to go, but what if you simply do not have anymore spare energy to do anything more. It is the case I am struggling with...
Jay Tee (2 months ago)
You are a Time Alchemist!
Nugroho D (2 months ago)
Bad sub
Megha Singh (2 months ago)
My favourite ted talk.
Liz Griggs (2 months ago)
I just waisted a lot of free time by watching this
Hồ Thái An (2 months ago)
Welllll, a lot of people here talked about having to spend time for restoration, physically or mentally but let's face it: you are just being controlled by your instinct. Predators like tigers or pythons are good example of this: They go to hunt, they feed their kids, then spend the whole of their free time lazing around not doing anything to digest the food and rest until the next hunts. That's just natural for them, because laziness helps to save energy and nutrition, a strategy for surviving. But laziness are not for us. You don't want to spend all of your time just to find food, sleep and find partners for mating like them. We got more to work on. But because we are still animals, our brain's primitive parts try to save our energy by convincing and giving us reason to be lazy. So instead of listening to your wild-animal-brain's instinct, lying that you need some rest to "restore", try to think reasonably and practically: Are you really THAT tired? Is it true that You really can't spend 30' to read that book? Is it true that you really can't spend 15' exercising? What did you want to do but are not doing?... Your brain trick you into laziness using your feeling. So think about your goals, your priorities and remind yourself that you need to work for the better future of YOU. Don't be a slave of your Wild-animal-brain!
Eliseo Benitez (2 months ago)
I was thinking she’s overthinking
Eliseo Benitez (2 months ago)
Who rah
monkeygirl jones (2 months ago)
Some interesting strategies here
Hằng Thu (2 months ago)
hớ hớ hớ hớ hớ
Hằng Thu (2 months ago)
hehe boi
Hằng Thu (2 months ago)
you suck
PierreB (3 months ago)
Not the time is elastic, but the things you do are elastic.
Email Spam' (3 months ago)
I hate that EVERYTHING HAVE TO IN ENGLISH !!!!!!!! I WANT MY NATIVE IN SUBSTITLE PLEASE [email protected] INDONESIAN PEOPLE WHERE ARE YOU !!!!! PLEASE TRANSLATE !!!
Theara X-Man (3 months ago)
I personally think that there are only 3 things that most important to life such as: i. Health (Physical health and mental health) ii. Study/Career iii. Relationship and to figure out how to full fill these major goals is my duty of living. So, I have time for them and that's absolutely my priority.
바나나 바나나 (3 months ago)
it's the matter of what you put as priority there's no judge needed on that i think because every person has different thoughts, environment, physical & intellectual capabilities, and money problems. I'm just sick of people who participated a certain project by their own will but not doing it and enumerating all the excuses.
바나나 바나나 (3 months ago)
i'm really sick of hearing "sorry, i don't have time"
lumi (3 months ago)
I've had varying work schedules and it was incredibly hard to adjust to night shifts at first mainly because it was hard to find time to hang out with friends and family. This video has taught me that priorities can change. They might take some getting used to, but it showed me that a night job doesn't have to mean no social life.
Aadi Rimal (3 months ago)
God must've saved lots of time making her upper lip. O.o
Peppi L (3 months ago)
In my opinion, maybe I don't agree with her. I am student. To get a good job,I must be good at English( but before I went to my university, I hadn't known English except "hello"), my university give me course books in English, so I have to study both English and my major knowledge, I do my best to study all of them,you know, it's not easy, and if I get a broken water heater, I will fail my exams,of course,I don't have enough time. Lacking of time that makes me can't do all things I want. Not because they're not my priorities. They lịke that you have to give up sth to do another thing instead ( I watch Youtube to improve my English)
SherTheDugtrio_YT (3 months ago)
I wasted my times because YouTube but TED doesn't waste my times! :)
FoRtNiTe LeFtYYY (3 months ago)
STOP READING THE COMMENTS AND GET BACK TO THE VIDEO!
Varun Kaushik (3 months ago)
How exquisitely is this showed! The thing that I appreciate the most is the 3 column priority list - career, relationship, self. I will try this out.
Pooza KD Yadav (3 months ago)
www.ypooja.com.np
Đình Quang Nguyễn (3 months ago)
always have time for TED talk
Nesrine Eglantine (3 months ago)
Next time provide us with a video on how to be a powerful woman !
Shivam Sahil (3 months ago)
she almost looks like Emma stonnes
Kashyap Damodar (3 months ago)
Two Strategies (Pretend it's been an amazing year) Performance Review: Assume its the end of next year and you are giving yourself a performance review. What are the 3-5 things you did that made the year amazing? Family Holiday Letter: What 3-5 things you did that made your personal life so great? You have a list of 6-10 goals you can work on next year. Figure how to work on these goals, by allotting time on Friday afternoons to write about 3 areas of your life - Career, Relationships and Self (at least 2 items for each) and planing your actions for the next week.
Kaja Karaplios (3 months ago)
Great speech!
Luke Devine (3 months ago)
I like this girl. Funny and erudite.
Maharani Febriyanti (4 months ago)
thanks for do this speech
Prakash Ghai (4 months ago)
Lost interest post 5:55
Michael Vescovo (4 months ago)
one hundred and sixty eight.
Chrystal (4 months ago)
"Holiday family letters", maybe it's a rich people thing because I've only seen that on corny holiday movies. Funny that it's a real thing. If I'm not keeping up with you throughout the year, it's probably because I don't care and the letters bragging about your life are going straight in the trash.
Rhysand's High Lady (4 months ago)
Good thing I'm not having children so I have one less thing to worry about in my life
Renn Li (4 months ago)
The part when she was counting the hours in a week, sometimes transport times are not easy to utilize. I used to be crammed in rush hours 1 hour in the morning and 1 and a half hours in the evening, sometimes even more when its raining or there was a traffic problem. That's roughly 10-15 hours a week that I'm wasting. And the immediate times when I get home? I just don't feel like doing important things. I was a high school student in Taiwan, where you had to arrive at school before 7:30am, and you leave school later than 5:00pm. We do have about 2 hours of break time in between classes added together including lunch break. But what do you want to do in those 10 minute intervals? Bathroom maybe? Talk to your friends about the class? I sometimes read novels using my phone (the reason I'm on my phone). Adding those transport times, time for eating and showering, homework, study, I don't even sleep 8 hours a day so that I can have some "free" time. The elasticity in time for me is mostly achieved by sleeping less in my case, which is not great. Btw the buses was so crowded you barely have any place to stand.
πTh0n (4 months ago)
Watches at 2x speed to save time ^_^
정석호 (4 months ago)
Thank you Laura!
Ladan Musa (4 months ago)
The only time I get,I study. Being a refugee is really hard but it has its own advantages like Free education and even scorlaships.i urge each and everyone to use their time well and make the most out of it. As the German empress (Catherine the 2nd of Russia "the most sure,but at the same time the most difficult expedient to mend the morals of the people,is a perfect system of education.
Rishabh P Nair (4 months ago)
What do you think about this video: https://youtu.be/C3SrtTniwwg
Aq Sm (4 months ago)
Thankyou so much! :)
Hinkal Lohar (4 months ago)
Great speech! Hope to inspire!

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