Productivity's all the rage nowadays.
It seems like there are a MILLION methods and a ZILLION apps to improve our time management skills and make us more productive.
Instead of throwing a ton of buzzwords or fancy apps at you we're going to simplify things, take a trip in the way-back machine, and kick it old school.
Here are CMA's top 5 Tips to Find More Time In Your Day
Wake Up Earlier
Whether it's one hour or 5 hours, make sure you get up earlier than you normally do.
If you leave yourself JUST enough time to bathe, grab a bagel, and head out the door in the mornings you're definitely missing out because this will give you time to ease into your day (aka lower your stress levels).
Try to do something you enjoy (art, writing, exercise, etc) every day you can.
Getting up earlier allows you to also accomplish those tasks that you never have the energy or willpower to do at the end of the day (exercise, clean/declutter/organize, etc).
If you do these important things before you go into the office you don't have to worry about them when you get home.
This means you have more time to R-E-L-A-X. Who doesn't need more R&R?
Whether it's self-care (yoga, meditation, prayer, journaling) or practical household tasks (budgeting, prepping dinner, creating a daily To Do List) if you can manage to finish it first thing in the morning you'll have more time to accomplish OTHER tasks as well as have time to enjoy yourself when the workday is over.
AND just because you're waking up earlier doesn't mean you should be skimping on your sleep. Tsk! Tsk!
Make sure to get your recommended 6-8 hours per night.
Limit Your Media Consumption
If your typical routine when getting home from a long, hard day at work is to plop down in front of the tv and enjoy a Netflix marathon, falling victim to the time-suck vortex which is social medial, or getting in a good 6-hour gaming session...
You might want to ask yourself how valuable your time is to you?
If you absolutely NEED that time to recharge, ok...I get it.
But, if you can get the same positive effects with 1-2 hours per night (instead of, say, 4-5 hours) you're going to have a LOT more time at your disposal to do other (potentially more productive) activities.
Spending four hours a night during the work-week dicking around means you've wasted 20 hours in one week!
1 hour a night means you've wasted 5.
That's 15 hours to do more productive things like take a class, learn a new skill, exercise, take up a hobby, practice an old skill, or just do something fun with your family/significant other.
People have managed to start entire businesses using 15-20 hours a week of their "free time".
Stop Multitasking - You Suck At It
You can think you're great at multitasking, but our puny human brains are meant to focus on one thing at a time.
We're automatically rendered less productive when we try to do more than one thing.
This happens when we switch from task to task as well as when we try to remember information and use electronic devices.
Think about the last time you tried to watch tv, have a conversation, AND check your mail on your cell phone/tablet.
You probably had to stop reading to focus on the person or the tv during some pivotal moment or when someone was giving you instructions.
You can't do everything.
No matter how good we think we are at multitasking we'll never be as efficient or perform as well as we would if we completed a single task at a time.
In fact, men can lose up to 15 IQ points when multitasking!
When we switch tasks we lose time and efficiency. There can be up to a 20% efficiency reduction when we switch projects at the office. It is called "switch cost".
If you have the money or resources to hire someone to take activities off of your plate go for it, you lucky dog!
This "convenience fee" can be an amazing trade-off.
I once had a cleaner who charged $200/month. She could clean my 2000 sq ft home in 2 hours better than I could in 2 days.
Every Thursday I came home to a house that was spic and span to levels I couldn't manage without sacrificing several hours a week.
The idea of never having to scrub a toilet again, and the gleaming floors (she scrubbed them on her hands and knees) were well worth the money to me.
If you can't hire someone, maybe you can figure out a fair and equitable distribution of chores and responsibilities with your spouse/significant other and kids. This will allow you to free up some of your time.
Maybe your friends or neighbors are willing to barter/trade with you?
If you know someone who's a master organizer and you're amazing at batch cooking you could probably work out an exchange that ends up being mutually beneficial.
Use Your Commute
Do you drive to the office or do you take the bus or train?
Your mode of transportation to the office doesn't have to be wasted time.
You can use this time to get ahead of the competition and acquire more knowledge instead of napping.
If you drive in or take the bus you can always listen to audio books.
Of course you have significantly more options if you take a train because they have handy little tables/trays built in and you don't have to focus on not playing bumper cars on a highway at 6am.
In general, you can study, catch up on emails (if you have free wi-fi or you can tether on your mobile phone - beware overage costs for your data plan), etc.
I knew people who would knit and sew on the train.
Though, I am not sure I would recommend the latter...Unless you actually ENJOY being stabbed repeatedly...
Oh, and one last tip about relaxing:
Instead of napping you might want to call it "meditating".
How do YOU find extra time in your Day?
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