We all sometimes wish that we had more time in our day to get things done. Perhaps there is a hobby we wish we had time for or we have a side project or small business that we want to start. We actually have quite a bit of free time in our day! We are just quite often using it in an inefficient way due to bad time management, constant distractions, lack of focus and unhealthy habits. Since I first started this blog and have been consciously overhauling my day I am finding that I have been able to fit more in my day than I ever have before.
Here are ten of my tips to get more time in your day for that new side project:
1. Know your hours: Take twenty-four hours then minus the amount of time you have scheduled work hours or appointments and the amount of time you are asleep. That is the amount of ‘free time’ you have left to fill with the things that are important to you. Same goes for the weekend, we have a lot more time in the weekend than we realise which can often get wasted. There is a great book which I am yet to read by Laura Vanderkam called 168 hours. We all have more time available than we think we do!
2. Don’t over-commit yourself: Figure out the really beneficial things to say ‘yes’ to and then say ‘no’ to all of the other stuff. Often when we say ‘no’ to others we are actually saying ‘yes’ to ourselves, but most importantly we are saying ‘yes’ to our partner/children/the other important people in our life. We only have so much time in one day if we are constantly doing things for others we will burn ourselves out.
3. Get up earlier: Time in the morning when the house is quiet is often more focused and productive. When you are getting up early you are getting a jump start on the day when everyone else is asleep. There is something immensely satisfying about achieving an important ‘to-do’ first thing in the morning before you begin the rest of your day. I used to work in the evenings but I was finding that I was constantly distracted and it was taking me a lot longer to fall asleep at night.
4. Single focus: When you are working – work, and when you are with your kids – be present with your kids. There are a lot of studies that show how multitasking is less productive because it takes a lot of time for your brain to constantly switch between each task. I love the 4-hour workweek by Tim Ferris it has a lot of great tips about reducing distractions, using single focus and getting more productivity out of your work day.
5. Meal prep: A lot of time in our day is spent preparing meals and eating – especially if you have children or a family to prepare meals for as well. Something I am going to be focusing more time on soon is healthy meal prepping. I think this will save a lot of time in the day! Smoothies are great as you can take them out on the go – you can even prep and freeze your smoothies.
6. Prepping in advance: I have time each morning to get up early and to write because I spend a bit of time each evening prepping for the next day. I lay out clothes for me and my son and make lunches the night before I also make sure I clean up and have all of the dishes washed so the kitchen is all ready for me to make breakfast. I try to always think about what is coming up next and what I can prep in advance to reduce any stress in my day.
7. Use a timer: For household tasks, I often like to set a timer. It helps me to be more productive and get more done in less time. I have just finished reading a book on the Pomodoro technique it talks about setting a timer during your work time for increased productivity and flow. I think I will also try this out soon. Often tasks will expand to fit the time available to you want to make sure you are getting everything done quickly so that you have more time for the fun stuff!
8. Set your goals: Make a big goal, set a due date, and then break it down into tiny steps where you can do something small each day towards your big goal. A lot of small actions everyday lead up to big results over time. I am currently using Asana to break down my new site tasks – what I really love about Asana is that you can have your goal written on your dashboard to look at daily and there is also a great progress graph to help with motivation.
9. Let go of perfection: The house does not have to be perfectly tidy all of the time especially if no one is coming to visit. Laura Vanderkam talks about in her books how the housework can wait. I don’t agree that all of the housework can wait! I think in probably an hour to an hour and a half per day, however, you can take care of most routine household tasks depending on the size of your household. I am planning a blog post soon on ‘housework hacks’.
10. Exercise + meditation: Both of these activities boost mental clarity and focus and increase motivation so you are able to get more done in less time so definitely add some exercise into your day and try for some meditation too if you can!
Which tip will you try first?
Here is a really inspiring video I found on how Arnold Schwarzenegger found time to bodybuild while also working full time in the military:
(Photo: Zak Suhar)