Short on time? You may have more than you think
Time. If only you had more of it, you could get around to all those things you promised you’d do … well, if only you had more time. Exercise, make nutritious meals, floss—and just get a taste of pressure-free living.
The truth is, you probably have more time than you think. To find out, write down everything you do in a typical day, from preparing coffee, to opening mail, to (and here’s a big one) watching TV. Make note of how you feel, too: irritated, energetic, happy. Repeat the process on a weekend day, too. Then analyze your notes, looking for patterns. Are you devoting high-energy time to low-energy activities? Is the phone a distraction?
Now that you have a better idea about where your time goes, what might you do differently? Here are some tips:
Make the most of your time by …
- Prioritizing. Jot down the week’s tasks in order of importance. Can any of them be dropped? Can any of them be handled by a family member or a colleague?
- Using your peak-performance hours to work on a demanding task.
- Gathering all the resources you need to complete a project before you start it, whether it be baking a cake or balancing your checkbook. And make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to tackle it.
- Anticipating times when you’ll be kept waiting. Take a book along. Write a letter. Knit. Turn a potentially frustrating situation into a constructive one.
- Eating balanced meals and getting adequate rest. This will give you the energy you need to operate at your peak.
Build more time by …
- Delegating effectively. Choose a willing, qualified person, give instructions and then … let go.
- Turning off the TV. Are you watching three hours of TV a night? That’s 21 hours a week! Enough said.
- Getting up early. Try setting the alarm an hour early for a few days, and use the time as you wish. Read, exercise, straighten up or get a head start on work. If you decide to make it a permanent habit, go to bed a bit earlier.
Get rid of distractions by …
- Letting others know that you do not want to be disturbed. Close your door, retreat to your private space or leave, if need be!
- Limiting your phone conversations. Don’t be rude, of course. Just tell the other party that you’re on deadline and ask when it might be a good time for you to call back. Some people find it helpful to set a timer when they get a call.