Want an extra hour a day? Here’s 5 ways to get it!
We all lead busy lives these days, and often we hear ourselves wishing for some extra time in the day. We recognise that time is precious and sometimes short, but how much time are you actually wasting each day? It could easily be an hour – maybe more, but how can you get that time back?
Depending on your view, time is either finite or infinite. If you believe that time is non-linear and can stretch or contract depending on the focus you put to it then you will have all the time you need to do everything you need to do.
However, if you believe that time is a finite resource and you only have a set amount of time each day, then you may well be experiencing a lack of time and the futility of trying to cram in as much possible, whilst not actually getting done the things you want to do.
The truth is, that time is both finite and infinite. When you have to be at work at 9am, it’s linear and you have to get a certain number of things completed in order to make that 9am deadline and time seems to disappear….pouff and it’s gone!
However, if you are doing something incredibly boring (like washing up, or filing, or quality checking) then time seems to stretch to infinity and that minute hand on the clock develops it’s own law of physics and just stops……
So how do you manage your time and gain an extra 5 hours in a week? Here’s some ideas
- Do a time audit
You probably think you know where every second of your day is spent, but you probably don’t. There are pieces of time being sucked out of your every day in ways you can’t even see right now. Looking at Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram etc, being on hold when trying to sort out your gas bill, making three trips to the shops instead of planning your shopping list, watching TV etc.
I invite you to set a timer for every 20 mins (you can use your phone or a good old fashioned one, it doesn’t matter). Each time the alarm goes off, make a note of what you were doing in that 20 mins. To make this really effective, do this for a week (yes a whole 7 days) and you’ll see where you really spend your time.
- Batch your tasks
If you find yourself flitting from one tasks to another, you are allowing time to get sucked right out of your day! It can take more than 15 minutes to transition from one type of task to another; multiply that by doing 10 different tasks a day and you’ve just lost 150 minutes or 2.5 hours!! IN A DAY!!!!
That’s where the magic of batching comes in…..If you have a load of emails to send, then set some time aside, sit down and get them all done. Need to get the housework completed? Set the time aside and get it done. Want to scroll mindlessly through Facebook? Guess what??? Set your alarm for a set amount of time and go for it!!
The key here to not get distracted. Switch off anything and everything that may distract you.
- Eliminate, Automate, Delegate
Some of the things you do routinely are probably not even necessary and you can just ditch them. The socks don’t need to be ironed – honestly. No-one cares if they have bought cake at the office every so often, instead of homemade. Eliminate what’s not completely necessary.
Some things could be automated. Your weekly shop for example. Set up a saved trolley with all the things you need each and every week, pre-book your delivery slots and all you need to do is add the extras. Do you write blogs or posts for marketing? Use some scheduling software, set aside the time to write a month’s worth then schedule them to publish throughout the month whilst you get on with something else.
Others can be delegated. Get your partner, kids, friends, colleagues, family – whoever involved to help lighten the load for you. Your kids will need to learn how to use the washing machine at some point so why not now? Your partner is perfectly capable of taking the bins out, making the beds, hoovering, running errands etc (OK they may not want to, but this is about you, not them). Hire a cleaner, a dog walker, a book keeper and free up that precious time.
Make a list of everything you ‘have’ to do and start marking them to Eliminate, Automate or Delegate.
- Create a rhythm
Tasks flow more easily if they have a rhythm and ritual to them and that frees up time. You don’t have to think about them, plan for them or worry about them; they just happen.
Think about cleaning your teeth. You don’t have to plan it or worry about it, you just do it, it’s part of your daily routine.
Take a look at the jobs you do regularly and see what routines and rhythms you can put around these. You could even develop a sound-track for them and have almost a dance routine that goes with it just like Morcambe and Wise in their fabulous breakfast routine sketch.
Having a rhythm to the day not only gives you more time, but puts you in a much better frame of mind and that helps get more done!
- Overwhelm First Aid
If reading all this makes you feel overwhelmed and panicky, you’re probably already experiencing overwhelm and you need to get out of that before tackling anything else.
There is nothing that sucks time out of your day like worry, stress and panic. Apart from the actual time it takes up, the amount of energy it burns means you’re feeling exhausted all the time, being snappy and irritable with your family and/or depressed.
In this case you need to take action fast. Your first port of call should be your doctor or professional healthcare practitioner. Speak to them, take their advice and if you get signed off from work (highly probable) take the opportunity to sleep.
Sleep is the single most important thing that will get you out of overwhelm and you’re going to need a lot of it. So don’t be heard on yourself, be gentle and loving and if you need someone else’s permission to take a nap in the afternoon, go to bed early or have a lie-in I’m giving it to you now.
These are just 5 ways of regaining 5 hours of time in a week. If you’d like to know more about how my coaching can support you in this and many other areas of life, please let me know