How to Find More Time in Your Day
In our increasingly busy lives, time is something of a commodity. We’re juggling careers, study commitments and families, which leaves very little time left over for all the other things we want to fit into our day.
Since cloning technologies are yet to be perfected, the only way to get everything done is to use your time more wisely. You might feel that you’re already getting as much out of each day as possible, but with these tips, we’ll help you free up more time so you can start living your best life.
1. Map out where your time goes
Finding more time in your day is a lot like finding more money in your budget. In both cases, it starts with a fact finding mission. Just as you’d keep a spending diary while on a budget, try recording your time over a week to determine where it really goes. Does your commute take longer than you thought it did? How long do you really spend checking social media every day? Once you have a time diary in front of you, you can start to identify where the gaps in your schedule are and which things can be trimmed to create more time.
2. Cut out distractions
If you’ve done the above exercise, you’re probably surprised at some of the things you’ve discovered. Luckily, it’s well within your control.
At work, set yourself a rule to check your email at the start of the day and then again after lunch, rather than flicking over to it every few minutes. Set social media limits, and use a blocker if you need to. Turn off any pop-up notifications that can break your concentration and tempt you into distractions.
Block out time in your work calendar to focus on the most important tasks, and if that proves productive for you, roll it out into a weekly plan. Working towards self-imposed deadlines can help to minimise distractions from other conflicting priorities.
As your mind can often be the biggest distraction of all, try to limit your multi-tasking. If you come up with a great idea or recall an important point while you’re working on something else, jot it down quickly and do your best to return to the task at hand.
3. Take breaks
Take breaks? You don’t have time to take breaks! But when you’re busy, stepping away from your desk may just be the best thing you can do. A 10 minute walk outside will wake up your brain, refresh tired muscles and reduce the aches and pains that can result from desk life. You’ll work faster and with greater focus on your return. Even a trip to the kitchen to make a coffee or get some water can give your brain the break it needs to refresh.
4. Outsource and delegate
Time is money, as they say, and sometimes paying someone else to free up your time is the best use of that money. What you choose to outsource will depend on the task requirements, your own skills and where you get enjoyment. There are a number of online marketplace services where you can hire someone on an ongoing basis or just a once-off to deal with the tasks that weigh you down, from data entry work to design and research. If you work with a team, you may also be able to delegate some tasks to coworkers for greater efficiency.
If you want to free up more time at home, consider time saving strategies such as hiring a cleaner or gardener, ordering groceries online or getting pre-cooked meals delivered for when you don’t have time to cook.
5. Learn to say no
When you stop and look at all the things you’re doing with your day, ask yourself which tasks are necessary. It’s easy to get sucked into things we don’t really want to or don’t have the spare time to do, whether it be a social event or new priority at work.
In the workplace, in particular, there can be limitations to what you can and can’t say no to, and while it’s important to be a team player, it’s also important to be realistic with your time. When you need to say no but aren’t comfortable doing so, consider reframing the request, offering an alternative or committing to only part of it. See more tips on how to say no in the workplace.
This article was written by Tanya Ashworth-Keppel on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Entrepreneur and Fast Company