You’re busy I get it but are you too busy to improve your life, be less stressed and gain an hour extra a day? I doubt it! We all make time for what we feel is important in our lives. Take 5 minutes now to give you an extra hour for the rest of your life.
What do you want most in life? More time? More energy? More family time? More freedom? A more efficiently run business?
I want all of that and more and I’ve found a way to get a 25 hour day, not just on the one day of the year that the clocks go back but literally EVERY DAY. How have I managed this? Am I like Stephen Hawking and discovered how to slow time down??? Well, erm no.
Every person on this planet gets the same amount of time in each day. You have just as many hours in the day as Beyoncé and how has she created a billion dollar empire and you haven't (probably)!
I used to work in a corporate job 70 hours a week, doing a Psychology degree part time, renovating properties at the weekend and trying to maintain relationships. I GET being busy, I GET being on the rat wheel and I GET making changes is difficult. And I GET burnout as I’ve suffered with it twice and I really don’t want you to go through the same thing.
"You will never ‘find’ time for anything. If you want time, you must make it". Charles Buxton
However, part of what I did learn while I was in the rat race was how to streamline businesses and how people work most efficiently. This was my bread and butter job. They call it Continual Service Improvement and I’ve learnt over the years how to add elements of this not only into my business but also into my life and so can you. I charge businesses how to implement this stuff but I’ll help you for free! Why?
I really don’t like to see people suffering with stress because they can’t juggle all the plates they're spinning and I know there’s some simple changes out there that can make a HUGE difference
The pre-occupation with maximising your 1,440 minutes a day is not just a recent whim of our fast-paced society. In 1910, Arnold Bennett released “How to live on 24 hours a day” instructing how to extract an extra eight hours a week out of our lives to do something worthwhile. He said most people only used 16 hours a day to work and sleep and were unable to account for the other 8 hours. He assured his readers that by ring-fencing 90 minutes every other evening and 30 minutes in the mornings “you will still be left with three evenings for friends, bridge, tennis, domestic scenes, pipe smoking, pottering and prize competitions”.
"Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time." Jim Rohn
So, what would you do with your extra hour a day?
Do you want to make your business more efficient?
Do you want to see your family more?
Do you want to be more focused?
Do you want to be less stressed or happier?
Do you want to find your purpose in life but don’t currently have the time?
Whatever it is, you can apply these 8 tips to any scenario in your life to gain more time. You’ll also gain a wealth of other benefits including improved health, focus and a zest for life you might not have felt for a long time.
A word of warning however, these will only work if:
You put the time and effort in now to make the changes
You keep up with the changes (it take 21 days to form a habit and only a minute to break one).
Here's the 8 hacks:
1. Avoid Multitasking
Ok, so you’ve been told you’re good at this right? Your email inbox, Instagram, Facebook and that hilarious viral cat video are probably just a few of the tabs that you have open right now. They’re all commanding your attention while you simultaneously try to finish a project at work. This has become the norm nowadays to think that you’re more productive this way. Some people even have a biological advantage to multi task. Everyone has different connectivity in their brain and some parts are more effective than others.
But the human brain is not actually designed for multitasking
In fact research has found we’re pretty terrible at it and when you do try you lose focus, you’re more prone to errors and projects take longer. It actually makes you 40% less productive.
Our short-term memory can only store between five and nine things at once. When you’re trying to do 2 dissimilar tasks each requiring some level of attention our brain can’t process them into your long-term memory. The result is that you won’t be able to recall it or use it later on whereas if it was just one task it would process into your memory stores effectively.
To make sure you can focus completely you need to strive to shut off all distractions. Open one tab at a time and focus on that task. I work in 20 minute blocks by using the Pomodoro Tomato online tool. It’s an alarm that goes off after a 20 minute slot and it’s at that point I switch to another task or take a break. Close all the tabs down and really put your all into 1 task at a time.
Time Saved: 20 minutes per day
2. Snooze you lose
Don’t give in to the temptation to hit the snooze button once (or five times!). What you’re actually doing is interrupting and fragmenting your natural sleep cycles which makes you less productive and you’ll be less focused throughout the day. Keep your alarm on the other side of the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
And if you’re repeated hitting the snooze button this may be a signal that you’re not getting enough sleep.
While we’re on bedroom habits keep your phone off an hour before you go to bed as the blue light the phone emits actually releases your ‘wake’ hormone so your brain thinks it’s time to get up.
Time saved: 10 minutes per day
3. Home sense
You can actually create some order and automation around your home and you’ll be amazed at what you can streamline or spend less time doing. Order your shopping online, get a cleaner, get a dog groomer (or even walker if that’s not your thing) and get your ironing done. Batch items together such as running errands based on the type or location i.e. post office, online bill payments, purchases etc.). Get apps such as Mint or Home Budget sort your finances out and pay your bills.
Time saved: 10 minutes per day
4. Be a Tech nerd
Ok, so I have to admit that I worked in IT for 15 years but I still can’t set up a new iPhone or figure out how to set up a TV! Physical technology I’m terrible with but one thing I am good at is the use of apps and finding quicker ways to do things using technology. Literally anything you could possibly imagine is out there to save you time.
Do you use a pen and paper to track your to do list or goals like I do? Constantly losing that piece of paper? Try using the Wunderlist app. It keeps track of items on your to do list as it syncs with your phone, computer and your iPad. Do you forget appointments you’ve got or have trouble finding places? Sunrise Calendar acts as your personal assistant by synching your calendar and bringing up Google maps automatically to get you to places you need to be. Do you struggle to keep up with all your notifications from your messenger apps and emails? Snowball lets you manage your accounts, browse messages and dismiss junk in one inbox.
Time saved: 10 minutes per day
5. Practice The Pareto
Practice the what now?! This basically means that 20% of what you’re doing leads to 80% of your results! To understand this is a total game changer for you and you can prioritise what you do differently if you know what the tasks are that are the most productive for you. I know that 20% of my marketing leads to 80% of the traffic I get on my website. How do I know? I use Google Analytics after each marketing activity I do to see how successful it was. You will be able to measure what is working really well for you. Eventually you’ll be able to delegate the tasks that aren’t as productive use of your time such as bookkeeping, invoicing or updating your mailing list.
Time saved: 5 minutes per day
6. No Man!
Have you seen the film or read the book “Yes Man”? It’s a really funny story of a man whose life isn’t going so well so he decides to say yes to everything that comes his way! Actually this may ring true for you when you find your time is filled up by things that you didn’t even want to do in the first place. You need to learn to say no!
Stop doing things which you don’t enjoy or that other people expect you to do.
Sometimes we take on things because we want to please other people such as going to social events we may not feel like going to or taking on extra work from our boss. Once you start to realise that each and every thing you say yes to that you don’t want to is taking your time you can start to make changes. You will find yourself less stressed about time because you’ll be doing the things that you really want to and not because you have to.
Time saved: 20 minutes per day
7. Keep life fun!
Life shouldn’t be about keeping up with Kardashians/Jones and having everything right here and now. It’s great to be busy but make sure you are happy with the busy life that you have created. A lot of people live their lives purely as an investment for the future but what about the now? How can you be happy or fulfilled if you’re only working towards retirement 20 years from now? You need to be totally present to be happy in the moment. Set goals for your future and plan for then but also remember that life is an ever present journey and not all about reaching the destination.
Time saved: 0 minutes per day (but you’ll get an increase in Zest, energy and have a lot of fun!)
8. Do nothing
Don’t feel guilty about doing nothing if you enjoy it! I’m not saying that every minute of your day you should be doing something. However, some people thrive from having no spare time and the thought of sitting in front of the TV fills them with dread. I am one of those people who enjoys being busy but I need 10 minutes or so every few hours to just do nothing. I need time to think and generally slow my pace of day down. I’m a notorious ‘Swan’: on the surface I always look like I’m gliding through life but underneath the surface I’m paddling like a mother fudger. I have to take time out to keep my balance. Find what works for you.
Time saved: 0 minutes (but you’ll enjoy the peace!).
Now that you know how to gain an hour a day, your stress levels will reduce, your energy will rise, your relationships will improve and you'll finally have the time to follow your dreams and passions.
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