How would finish that sentence? Whatever it is you want more time for, here are some clever suggestions to help you free up several minutes a day . . . or more.
Life is made up of mostly maintenance tasks—things we have to do. When we can get those things done faster, we have more time for the things we want to do.
- The power of a playlist. We can create a playlist of our favorite songs and use that as a timer—we must finish the task at hand before the songs are up. Plus, the right songs will motivate us and lift our spirits. For those of us who are competitive, we can also time ourselves doing a mundane and mandatory task today, and try to beat that time tomorrow.
- The power of a question. Asking ourselves if there is a better way to do something spurs our creativity so we can come up with new ways to do things faster. If we can’t think of a better way to do something we can ask others for suggestions in a post, make a list with our non-writing hand (which taps into the other side of our brain), or just experiment.
- Feel good fast. All work and no play doesn’t work. There are simple things we can do that help us recharge that only take a few minutes of our time. Use these as rewards for working hard. Everyone will have their own ways to feel good fast, but looking at photos of peaceful places, special people, or perfect vacation spots works well. Better yet, when something or someone makes us smile, we can pull out our phone and take a photo as a reminder, then review them when we’re in need of a pick me up.
We are so much better (and faster) when we work with our natural tendencies instead of fighting against them. Knowing what brings out the best in us—and using it—can save a ton of time.
- The power of lazy. If we love to come home to a made bed but hate to do it, maybe we should make it easier by doing it while we are still in the bed, and then slide out and start the day. If we know all it takes to not go to the gym is having to get dressed, maybe we should sleep in our workout clothes so we can get up and go. Hate to clean? Stop a lot of dirt from coming in by asking everyone to take off their shoes before entering our home. We can hang our clothes for the day in the bathroom to steam out the wrinkles while we shower.
- Put things in places that make sense . . . to you. A place for everything and everything in it’s place only works if that place works the way we do. If we like things out where we can see them, then pile with a purpose. Put things in our path (or purse) so we don’t forget them when we leave instead of making a list we may never look at. If we know we can only work in short bursts, have some simple and productive tasks within reach and ready to go when we need a break—and make our temptations and distractions hard to get to.
- Timing is everything. Doing things when others are not makes sense. Knowing we get excited about something but then lose interest means we should take advantage of the time we are “all in” and run with it. If we are not great at judging time (or even aware of it) putting a giant clock where we can see it—or setting a timer—can help. If we are morning people but fade late in the day, we should save our easy tasks for last so we end the day on a high note.
If we can get to our top ten (the best) of everything—people we spend time with, things we love to do, and the things that makes us feel good (our most flattering clothes), we can get rid of a lot things that take up too much of our time.
- Only the best. If we made a list of the people in our lives and next to their names rated them with a plus sign if they are a positive influence and a minus sign if they are negative, we could spend more time with the people who make us feel good and ditch those who don’t. (The same can be done for our commitments.) If we went around our home or office and put green stickers on things we need, use, and love, and a red sticker on items that are outdated, obsolete, or we’ve outgrown—in more ways than one—we can free up some space in our life for better things.
- Give up to get . . . more time. What would happen if we gave up trying to please everyone? Trying to control everything? Trying to be perfect? Let go of the fear of missing out? Stopped trying to do everything ourself? Gave up a bad habit? Stopped making excuses. Gave up the need for everyone to like us? Stopped saying “yes” (or “maybe”) when we really mean “no”? The answer is we would have more time for us.
- Being a better partner and parent. True balance is something that existed in another era. The new normal is we have too many things being pushed at us all the time. Instead we should focus on pulling only the things we need when we need them—things that help us reach our goals. Now that the lines are blurred between work and home we should do our best to be present and focus 100 percent of our attention on the task at hand, the people we care about, and projects that are important to us, for as long as we can—until we are interrupted in some way. It’s now about quality time more than quantity of time. Multitasking is good and necessary, but creating memorable moments is better. Give things your undivided attention . . . until you can’t.
Lee Silber is award-winning author of 23 books including the best selling title, Time Management For The Creative Person (Random House) and can be contacted through Keynote Resource.
Copyright © 2018 Lee Silber All rights reserved.