There are always excuses as to why we can’t get things done, or accomplish the goals we set. It’s a common complaint: “There aren’t enough hours in the day!” We are stuck with only 24 each day, and sadly there’s no working around that, However, you CAN make a few simple but transformative adjustments to fit a few more precious minutes into your day. Having more time can help you mentally and physically as well. Whether you’re a busy parent or gal about town, here are 6 easy ways to win back some of your day:
Take care of things immediately.
We tend to open our emails and snail mail and listen to our voice mail then promptly file most of it away for a “later day” response. Then it is usually forgotten until the matter becomes pressing and piles up on top of other unanswered tasks. Jane Kemp, author of “No! How One Simple Word Can Transform Your Life,” advises taking instant action: reading, responding, deleting–to prevent having to come back to it in the future. The minutes saved can add up to as much as 10 hours a month!
Make downtime worthwhile.
School carpool lines, waiting rooms, and other periods of “downtime” are excellent for catching up on necessary reading and correspondence, paying bills, drawing up schedules and to-do lists, and replying to those unanswered messages mentioned above. We lose hours lost in our cell phones scrolling through facebook, when we could use that time more wisely. Instead of grabbing a magazine at the doctor’s office next time, pull out your tablet or planner and kill two (metaphorical) birds with one stone.
Have it delivered.
We devote a significant amount of time to running errands and shopping for necessary household items. These days everything from groceries to personal goods to that last-minute birthday present can be selected, paid for, and shipped out all in one click with the convenience of online retail and delivery websites. Look into joining an online delivery service, which can save you a great deal of time and offer additional savings and benefits. You could also look into healthy organic meal delivery options, that cannot only save you time in the market but keep your family healthy no matter how hectic the day gets.
Lighten your cleaning regimen.
No one wants a messy home, but easing up on your standards of cleanliness can actually score you anywhere from 30 to 45 extra minutes. Try to apply a “clean as you go” tactic to avoid big cleaning projects each week: wipe the shower down after each use, run a sanitary cloth over kitchen counters after meal and prep times, and diligently change out heating and cooling system filters to keep dust levels low. It may be worthwhile to switch out labor-intensive carpets with machine washable rugs.
Additionally, if you have little ones running in and out of the house, keep designated baskets at the front entrance for dropping shoes, backpacks, and various items that can clutter a space and track dirt. The more that your family pitches in on the cleaning, the less time it takes you to finish. Implement a chore chart with weekly or monthly incentives. Or make cleaning a family affair, schedule a time where the entire family cleans together. This promotes a good family structure, responsibility, and helps give you some extra time.
Log out and unplug.
Social media, internet surfing, and television watching are all significant time-zappers: it’s estimated that the average American adult spends around 4 hours a day on social media and network devices, with an additional 2.6 hours a day devoted to staring at the TV. That’s practically a work day by itself!
Give yourself a firm allotted time to check social media sites and browse the web, and be selective about your television time. What programs do you absolutely have to watch and what can you forgo? Laura Stack, author of “Find More Time,” says: “Reducing your television-watching time by five hours a week adds up to 11 extra days a year,” further suggesting no more than 60 minutes be spent online.
Your cellphone zaps time, you may only intend to browse facebook for a few minutes, but that can easily turn into an hour. Remember to set alarms for yourself to remind you to take a break. It is more important to live your life and make real memories, than to view others on Facebook.
And on that note…
Turn the television off in the morning while you get ready. Los Angeles-based lifestyle coach Ruth Klein warns against depressing news reports and entertainment programs that can distract you from your a.m. routine of mentally preparing for the day, feeding and socializing with your kids, and getting into a positive mindset before heading out. If you play upbeat music in the morning, your routine will take less time and you’ll be even more ready to start the day.