Does extra time seem like something you just never have enough of? Do you miss having time for your favorite hobbies or time with your loved ones? There are several ways to add more time into your day. Read below to see if there are suggestions you may not have thought of.
What Would You Do With Your Extra Time
First, identify what it is you would like to do with your extra time. See yourself in the act of doing it. Want it. Once you have these images you will be more apt to work toward finding the time by using the suggestions below:
Make a List
Make a list of all you do each day. Everyone needs a starting point. Knowing where you are will show you where you can improve. Write the one thing you do and how long you did it for. As soon as you stop doing something productive, record your time. It should look like this: Shower, dressed, teeth, hair = 30; coffee and e-mail =15; phone games =10; etc.
Try to lump time together when possible so you aren’t spending the day recording. Try to account for as much of your day as possible.
Identify Your Personal Time Wasters
Identify the individual things you are currently wasting time on. Review your list and circle the things you were doing that were non-essential and non-productive. Circle it, even if it was 10 minutes of extra time.
Next, put a square around the other things that take 10 to 30 minutes that actually require your attention that you can fit in during unexpected down time.
Be Mindful of What You are Spending Time on
Be mindful of what you are doing as often as possible. Do you keep catching yourself playing games on your phone, starting up video or computer games, reading what everyone is up to on social networks, having a conversation over text instead of making a quick phone call? The list could be endless.
Keep that daily list of what you are doing going for as long as you can. This will help you improve daily and keep your focus where you want it.
What are the most important things that need to get done in your day? Add those to a new list in a scheduled manner, giving them their allotted times. Leave holes between the necessary events. This is where you will be able to add things that were otherwise missing in your life that you stated above that you wanted to do.
When you put things off you will tend to feel guilty. If you’re like me, you will fill that time with useless, time-wasting tasks such as checking your e-mail for the 20th time in your day. Just do what needs to be done, keeping the goal of what you will do with your spare time fresh in your mind at all times.
There are things that you can do, such as checking your e-mails or texts for instance that do not have to be done every 20 minutes. Set a time in your day to do these things all at once.
This can also be done with household chores like recycling cans, take them with you when you grocery shop for instance instead of making a separate trip.
When you have errands to run, map out where you need to go and get it all done at once so you are not back tracking over your route or forgetting things and having to go out later.
Get into a Habit
Use lists to get yourself into a habit. If you do things in order over and over you will find they become a habit. This is especially great for your morning and evening routines. If everyone does things in order, things will run more smoothly and you will eventually get them done faster.
Getting children to follow a routine does wonders for them as well. If you make yourself a list at night of what needs to be done the next day, you are a step ahead.
Sleep 7 to 8 Hours
If you do not sleep this much, you should. It will keep you rested and you will be able to think better during your day.
If you sleep more than that or take naps, cutting back may add an extra hour or two to your day. You may not actually even be tired, you may just be bored or restless, causing you to feel tired. When you are filling your time with something you love to do, you will want to sleep less because you will find that you have more mental energy.
Use Time Saving Apps
One example that can save you time is banking apps. You can pay your bills, check your balances, and transfer money all from your computer or phone. This will save you from going to the bank as often. There are some banks that even have the ability to take a picture of a check from your phone and deposit it for you. With so many apps out there you can find several that will actually save you time.
You do not have to do everything yourself. I know personally that it can be hard to let things go and let other people do them. Some people do not do things the way we want them done. Relinquish control, realize that’s OK.
Hire a maid if you can afford it, just to take care of the necessities. Sometimes you can find a college student who wants to make a few extra dollars a week for gas. Two hours a week could cost you as low as $20-$30 depending on what you negotiate. Then it is a win-win for both parties.
Carpools can save you a great deal of time. If you can get together with another parent and trade off getting the children to sports practices that’s huge. You may also be able to find someone who works with you who you can car pool with. Remember that when you are at practices and a passenger in a car or public transportation (as long as you do not get car sick,) that will give you extra time to check mail, answer texts, coordinate plans with others, research something to do with your hobby, check in on family, or spend quality time with the people you care about who are with you.
Homework time can be a dreaded time for parents. Perhaps you can delegate to an older sibling who has been through the class. Not only will it keep their skills sharp but they will be helping their sibling, creating a closer relationship between them.
Set up a chore list for all family members. Having people be responsible for their own laundry, dishes or toys can be a great stress reducer and a great way to build character for young children while giving you more time.
If you have a loved one in the hospital, it’s not necessary to not be there every free moment of your time. Find out what times other people have available and put together a schedule so they have plenty of company. When you do go, take things with you that you could get done in case they are sleeping. Remember, you are one person. Whatever situation you need to let go of the guilt, do so, otherwise, you will neglect your own needs and you will be in no shape to care for those you love.
Find a Quiet Place to Concentrate
Finding a quiet place when you are doing things that require concentration will limit distractions and if you are able to focus, you can get things done faster.
Use Tivo, DVR or On Demand
If you have favorite shows that reduce your stress after a long day, instead of watching them when they are on, record them or watch them On Demand. Doing so can save 10-15 minutes of time for each one hour program by cutting out the commercials. Schedule a time that works best for you to sit and watch them.
My husband and I had a show we loved to watch but it wasn’t on when both of us were home. Instead of watching it separately, we recorded it and waited until we were both home and able to sit together to watch it. It added more quality time for us to spend together.
Folding laundry is a great chore to do while watching TV.
Maximize Lunch and Break Times
Make the most of your breaks and lunch times. Dive into your original list and find things that take 10-30 minutes that you can conquer during your lunches or breaks.
My passion is writing. I never seemed to have the time. One day I realized I was just wasting my hour lunches. For several weeks, I went to my car during those lunch breaks and read the poems that I had written over my lifetime into text messages on my phone and sent them to my e-mail. When they were done, I formatted and edited them then self-published them.
Putting more focus time into what you love will give you the break you need to return to work refreshed and with a feeling of accomplishment.
There is time while cooking dinner to clean up the dishes, sweep the floor, start or fold laundry, wash the counters, etc. Delve into that list again and take care of a few things while you have a free moment.
Shut Down the Electronics
Turn off electronics for a designated time during each day. You need that escape time. Freeing yourself from the constant demands of a pinging phone, the notifications of your computer or being distracted by the storyline on what’s on TV will help you relax and let you concentrate on accomplishing something without distraction so you have more time later for what you love.
Keep things organized, where you need them so you don’t have to search for them later. If something is always put back in the same place, less thought is needed and it saves on gathering a search party to find things like your keys or a pen or a screwdriver.
Ask for Help Staying on Track
Don’t be afraid to ask someone else to hold you accountable. People love this, especially teens. I know mine love to catch me doing something I shouldn’t be doing and pointing it out. I was trying to cut down my Facebook time and my young men took joy in constantly catching me and reminding me that I should be doing other things.
Grocery Shopping Time Savers
The next time you grocery shop, make a list of the isles or take a camera shot so you know basically what is in each isle. Keep an ongoing list on your phone of what you run out of, listing each item in order by the isle they’re in. Only shop once a week and try to be sure to do it on a week night if possible. This will save you from waiting in long lines. Once in the store, only get what is on the list. Do not wander and look at everything. This will also save you money. Having everything in order by isle and only getting what you need will get you in and out much faster.
Facebook Time Savers
Facebook can be quite the time consumer but I do not want to discourage you from using it altogether. It is a great way to network, stay in touch with friends and family and let people know what you’re doing. My suggestion is to try not to get too consumed with it. Set a time once or twice a day to give yourself time review what’s going on.
The following instructions can save you time:
If you want to keep in touch with someone specific and find out when they post, go to their page, hover over “Friends” and click on, “Get Notifications.” This will send you a notification whenever that person creates a new post. If you do this for too many people it can get overwhelming though.
Another suggestion is for keeping track of several people. To create a group, go to the first person’s page who you want in the group, hover again over “Friends” then click, “Add to (another) list,” select “+New list” at the bottom, name the list and hit enter. It will place a check mark to indicate they are now on this list. Go to other pages and add the next person. Once all have been added on that list, you can go to your home or news feed and on the left scroll down to the “Friends” header and select that group. Once you click it you will see a news feed of just those people’s posts. That way when time is short you are not distracted by searching through posts from several hundred people.
I’m sure there are many more ideas you can come up with once you make your list and take a look at what your day consists of. Please share some of your suggestions below to help others who read this.
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