How to Squeeze More Time Out of Your Day
Time is your most valuable asset. Unlike money, time is your only resource that is not replenishable. There is not a Magic Time Fairy that will grant you a 28-hour day or send you back a few years if you want to relive your past. Everyone only gets 24 hours; however, what you do within those 24 hours is where the magic takes place!
Squeezing out the most time in your day is the only way to regain your most valuable asset.
Here’s how to make it happen:
1- Acknowledge the rabbit holes you’re getting sucked into.
We can justify how our time is spent on social media all we want to, but let’s face it, at the end of the day our time gets taken from us if we let it. Be cautious the next time you have Instagram opened and monitor your time on it. You’ll be surprised how quickly time escapes scrolling at #Allthethings.
By setting up allotted leisure time to scroll, you are in control. After the 15-minute window is up, throw your phone to the side and keep it moving. By doing this, you are being mindful of not getting sucked in, but you also still have the joys of feeling connected.
The same goes for Netflix and video games. We need to know when to pull the plug, turn it off and continue on with our day. What we consider leisure activities in today’s society end up turning to be soul-suckers because of the automatic looping features. For example, when we watch shows on Netflix, it will continue on to the next episode until hours go by. The same concept with social media and games, the availability to continue on is endless.
According to a Forbes guest writer, Daniel Marling, “All of this suggests that Millennials have a neurotic, compulsiveness that dominates how and when they use their phones. And if left unchecked, this habit will consume much of the average Millennial’s valuable time and energy.”
Back in the day when we were kids running around playing kickball and playing board games like Yahtzee for fun, we were able to walk away when the game was done. When the game was finished, it was finished and it took much effort to re-start, pick-teams again and organize the game to start all over. We have to pull ourselves away!
2- Create a system
We work best when there is some sort of system or cadence to our work. Imagine going to your job every day and not knowing what needs to be done or what to do. If you had to go to your boss to ask them what needs to be done every day, valuable time is being lost.
You probably already have little systems set in place already without noticing it. For example, when you get in your car, you probably put your seatbelt on first (I hope- lol), double check your mirrors, foot goes on break, and then you throw it in reverse and go on your merry way. If you scale these systems and apply them to your everyday tasks, it’s almost like muscle memory, your brain gets in synch to the rhythm of your system and you perform at your optimal best, carving out more time in the day.
3- Two birds, one stone
I don’t like to call it multi-tasking because being a researcher in human behavior, the numbers prove that we as humans do not perform our best with multi-tasking. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance (Vol. 27, No. 4) indicates that multitasking may actually be less efficient--especially for complicated or unfamiliar tasks--because it takes extra time to shift mental gears every time a person switches between the two tasks.
But, I do believe in spending your time wisely when the tasks at hand are minimal. For example, getting educated on a subject your passionate about on your morning commute to work is a perfect way to squeeze the most out of your time, as long as you do not get distracted easily while driving! If you are going to be stuck in traffic, you might as well make the best of your time rather than fiddling your thumbs or surfing between commercials on the radio.
I am a huge fan of podcasts and listen to them often when I take the baby for walks. I get about 5 birds with 1 stone on our walks. It’s like angry birds, (love that game!) the more tasks you can carve out while doing minimal activities in the least amount of time, the better! I get educated on topics I find interested, get the baby out in fresh air which she loves, while also burning calories and clearing my mind. In turn, I save time writing some of my blog posts on these leisure walks because I use some of the statistics I learn about to help support my ideas. It’s a win-win!
This one is one of my favorites. I did not learn the power of delegation until my mid-twenties when my adviser I was a club president for at my community college brought me into her office to share some news with me. You see, I used to think that being a leader meant you had to do all of the work. Boy did I have it wrong!
Keeping all the work for yourself sends signals to your teammates making them believe they can’t be trusted with important work. It shows that you have trust issues and some may think you are a control freak. I’m so thankful I learned this at an early stage in the game because that is far from what I wanted my club team members to think of me.
Doing all the work at some events even made me look like a lunatic running around with my head cut off even though I was the president that needed to look well-groomed, polished and show face to the event attendees.
I’m so glad that being able to truly hear constructive criticism is one of my strengths because working on delegating out tasks to save me more time (and peace) has allowed me to do so much more.
Delegating out tasks has so many benefits. Besides making everyone feel involved, it allows you to spend more time seeking out the things you love and are actually good at!
A recent study posted in the Harvard Business Review asked members of a leadership team in a corporate setting to rethink and shift the balance of their work. The results showed that the managers who outsourced smaller tasks had freed up nearly a fifth of their time—an average of one full day a week—and focus on more worthwhile tasks with the hours they saved.
Can you imagine cutting out a whole work day off of your schedule every single week?!!!
5- Identify your most productive time
This one gets overlooked easily, but it’s a crucial step in saving time. Knowing when you produce your best work will allow for ideas to pour out and will allow you to work in a rhythm because you’re working with yourself rather than against yourself. We are always told to workout first thing in the morning because it will leave you feeling energized & focused throughout the day, but if it takes you an hour just to convince yourself to get up and do it and you drag your feet to get there, this is time wasted. If it does not come at ease to work-out in the morning, then screw it. Do it when you feel most energized! The same holds true for creating your best work!