Life is full of choices. Barring an emergency, if there is something you really want to do, you can almost always find a way to make it happen. Try these five time-saving tips to find more time:
- Plan what you want to do into your day. Activities will almost always extend to fill the allotted time. If you want to have family time or just time to yourself, mark it in your planner. Treat this appointment with the same priority as you would treat an important client. As the company L’Oreal says in its advertisements, “You’re worth it!”
- Do what you are supposed to be doing when you are supposed to be doing it. If you have scheduled two hours of uninterrupted time to work on a business proposal or work on your scrapbook, DO it. Do not get sidetracked by a ringing phone or new email. Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, and you and I both know he wasn’t talking on his cell phone while he was doing it.
- Pack your bags! If you have repetitive activities every week such as a soccer game every Monday evening or a writing class every Thursday morning, dedicate a backpack or sports bag for that specific activity. Always keep the items required for that activity in that bag even if you need to buy duplicate items. If you want to work on your writing while at home, remove the items from the bag, work, and then return the items to the bag. You will always be ready to leave on time knowing you have all your stuff in the bag. Have an overnight bag packed and ready to go for a spontaneous weekend away or an emergency trip to the hospital.
- Record your favourite TV shows and limit your social media time. Record your favourite shows and watch a one-hour TV drama in 45 minutes. Fast-forward through the commercials so you will not be tempted to buy more stuff you do not really need anyway. Set a limit on how much time you spend on Facebook and other social media sites. Only check once or twice a day and set a timer so you know when to say good-bye.
- Learn to say NO. If you are asked to do something you are not entirely comfortable with doing, say so. Have some answers ready if you are put on the spot: “I’m sorry I give everything 24 hours consideration before I give an answer” or “I am sorry but I don’t have the time available to do an adequate job” or “I can’t help on this project, but have you talked to X? I know she has been looking for ways to be more involved.” If you have paid for a course or seminar and you are not getting anything out of it, ask for your money back. If that is not possible, stop attending anyway. Remember, your time is worth something.