“Life is crazy. Family, work, social engagements…I just can’t keep up… there aren’t enough hours in a day…whoever has the time to really achieve what they want out of life?” Does this sound like you? Are you tired of waking up and discovering you’re already running behind before you even get out of bed? Life is busy, and there will always be times when we feel a bit run off our feet. But if those times have changed from occasionally to constantly, then you need to create more time. Yes, it can be done and it’s easier than you think.
Stop and think for a minute about how much time is wasted each day because you’re switching back and forth between tasks, trying to remember what else needed to be done. Get organized by starting each month with a schedule and each day with a ‘to do’ list. Your schedule is regular tasks that you’ll complete at set times and the ‘to do’ list is for things that you need to achieve that day, week or month. Leave gaps in your schedule to accommodate unexpected things that may crop up.
Identify your most productive time
Ever heard someone describe themselves as a “night owl” or a “morning person”? We all have our own productive times. Identify yours and then make the most of it. Parents, do your children have ‘nap time’ or ‘TV time’? These can be ideal time slots to cross a few items off the ‘to do’ list.
Find more time in the day
We all get the same 24 hours in a day, but some people utilize this time better than others. Instead of hitting ‘snooze’ 5 times before getting out of bed, get up as soon as the alarm goes off and you’ll discover you’ve just gained an extra hour in your day.
Don’t let the media steal your time
Watching TV, browsing social media, picking up a good book or surfing the net are all effective ways of winding down after a big day, but are we letting these things steal our time? Have you ever sat down to watch your favourite TV show and then realised 5 hours later that you forgot to turn the TV off? If you’re struggling to fit everything in, try setting a timer before picking up your book or turning on the TV or computer. That way, the hour you need to relax won’t accidentally turn into 5!
Do double duty
Multi-tasking isn’t always an efficient use of time, but doing double duty can be. Rather than cook the dinner, clean up the kitchen and then try and help the kids with their homework, why not have the children sit at the kitchen counter and do their homework whilst you cook? A lot of time spent on necessary tasks like cooking or cleaning involves physical effort but not a lot of concentration. So whilst you’re completing these necessary tasks, you can also be helping the kids.
Learn to just say “No!”
This can be so hard to say, but is an instant way of reclaiming your time. When someone asks you to mind their kids, pick up the balloons for the party, take over a meeting with a client or join them at the gym, check your weekly schedule first. If you don’t have the time, then just say so.
Interruptions are a huge drain on your time because they break your focus. You then have to spend more time re-engaging the thought process. Some interruptions will be unavoidable, but not all. Can you switch off your mobile and only check your emails every hour, instead of every time a new message pops up?
Learn to delegate
Some people struggle with asking others to do things for them (interestingly, it’s often the same ones who have trouble saying ‘no!’). But delegating is an essential part of a busy life. Family, friends and colleagues can all be asked to assist in small ways. Delegating allows you to focus on the more important things.
The world of online shopping is beckoning to time strapped people everywhere. Think of all the time you’d save if you didn’t have to drive to the shops, wait in line, load the car…
Re-think your routine
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to our routine. Think about your current routine and be critical. Are there things that you do every week that are unnecessary or that are a poor management of your time?
Anyone can create more time for themselves, if that’s what they really want. Don’t let yourself think things like “I’ll always be too busy” or “I’m just not an organized person”. With a few minor lifestyle adjustments, we can create more time.