Perform a Time Audit To Create More Time to Study For Your Firefighter Promotional Exam

Making time to work on your firefighter promotional exam prep can be challenging for a working firefighter with a full time job and full life. However, most people don’t truly realize how much extra time in their day they are wasting that they could be spending studying and working towards promotion

What is a Time Audit?

A time audit is, “the process of tracking exactly what you spend your time on for a consecutive period.” Basically you look at your day, week, months and see how you spend your time. Then simply evaluate if it is a good use of your time or  not. 

Where to Start?

  1. Big Picture

The first step to making the most of your time as you begin your journey to firefighter promotion is to look at the big picture of your routine and see where you can add time in to study and prepare for your upcoming written exam. Ask yourself, what do you spend most of your time doing? The most likely answer is working, then look at what's next; gym time maybe or family time. You need to understand and break down where the bulk of your time is spent and then see what you are spending your time on that is adding value and what is not. You need to be responsible to pick and choose the things you are spending time on and their importance. This is where you will be able to add the time in to study for your promotion. 

  1. Daily Time Audit

Next, break down your day. How much time are you spending doing nothing on your phone, how much is spent watching TV, how much time is spent driving? What of these things is worth your time, which one can you drop to give more time to studying for your firefighter written exam. We waste so much time as people and don’t even realize it until we break it down. Do you spend 20 minutes each morning in the Starbucks drive thru, is your drink worth that or could you be doing something better with those 20 minutes. Do you spend an hour in the school pick up line? Can you maximize that time by bringing your study materials and studying in the car? Not every day has to be the most productive, but everyday most people spend so much time doing meaningless things as other more important things wait to be completed. You have to take a look at your day to day life and see what is worth your time and where changes can be made to add more time to your study sessions. Repeat this everyday for about a week to get a good idea of what you are spending your time on. 

  1. Weekly Review

Once you have done your daily audits it is time to break it all down. Decide the things you want to keep doing, where you need to change, and things you need to drop completely. You have to keep going to work obviously and taking your children to school. However, some changes can be made, for example you spend two hours grocery shopping a week, but if you did online pickup that can be changed to 30 minutes instead. You obviously can’t stop grocery shopping but there are ways to make almost every task more productive. Even taking your kids to school, see if you can join a carpool and you just do pick ups and not drop offs or just do certain days. If you are short on time and serious about promoting you have to get creative in every aspect of your life to make the time you need to study for your written exam. 

  1. Goal Changes

As you start doing this time audit and realize how you spend your time you will likely learn a lot about yourself. Maybe you learn that you spend way too much time on social media and not enough time at the gym or with friends. After this audit take a look at your current goals and see if you have any changes to make. You now know what you want to be giving your time to so restructure your days to make that happen. You will ultimately be more fulfilled giving your time to things that you deem important. You can’t just do this once, you do need to come back to this time audit periodically to see if you have fallen back into bad habits or started wasting your time on something new. Self-evaluation is the key to your success because you know yourself the most. 

The Takeaway

Everyone wastes time, but not everyone cares to do anything about it. Now that you have decided to promote in the fire service you need more time in the day for studying and preparing. Take a good hard look at what you spend your time doing and make the appropriate changes to your day so you can study efficiently for your written exam and get promoted in the fire service.