Most people think they can do more in life if they only had more hours in a day. The good news is that you can find an extra hour everyday. You just need to form some simple time-saving habits.
5 habits to find an extra hour everyday
1. Do any task only once
Some people start a task, put it aside before it’s done, resume later, stop again because something else comes up… and so on. This results in one task needing our attention several times. Aim to handle any task only once. Break down larger projects into bite-sized task and also follow this guideline for each task.
a. Trash it
This should be your preferred option always. If a task does not absolutely need to be done, ditch it. Such tasks include emails that don’t concern you, frivolous errands, and random requests that come you way which are not your responsibility. Say no and move on.
b. File it
This is the second most preferred option. A lot of stuff that comes your way is merely for information. These include bank statements, newsletters and so on. The information they contain is seldom time-critical. Even if you read it now you’ll forget most of it when it matters. So save the reading time now, and file it for future reference if necessary. Usually it won’t ever be necessary.
c. Do it now
If you can’t trash it or file it, do it immediately. Many people scan a task when they receive it, then put it aside because they don’t have time right now to deal with it. You should start any task ONLY when you have time to deal with it right away. Once action has been taken, trash it or file it.
2. Set a time limit for each task
Have you noticed that you most productive week in the whole year is the week before you go on vacation? The mind becomes very efficient when it knows that it has a limited time to do the job. Give yourself a target timeframe to clear your mail, write a report, or conduct a meeting. Initially, you’ll probably bust your target timeframe. But over time, your brain will learn to become more efficient.
3. Start work early
Be at your workplace half an hour earlier, when no one else is around and the phone is still quiet. This early 30 minutes is as good as an hour later in the day when you have to deal with interruptions. You’ll be amazed how much you can get done before the workday has even officially begun. You may even be able to leave for home an hour earlier at the end of the day.
4. Reject interruptions
Learn to say no without saying ‘no’. When somebody interrupts what you’re doing, tell them politely that you’re in the middle of an urgent task. This is true: all your tasks are urgent because you’ve set a target completion time, remember? Tell them you’ll call them once you’ve cleared this deadline.
5. Eat less at lunchtime
We all know how hard it is to concentrate in the afternoon after a heavy lunch. Bloodflow to the brain slows down because so much is being rchanneled to your stomach to digest the big meal you just had. Research shows that most people eat far more than their bodies need. So eat a half-portion at lunch. You’ll get more work done in the afternoon, and also be healthier, leaner, and perhaps live longer.
Since you’re eating less, you’ll need less time to eat as well. Instead of an hour’s lunch break, you could take just half an hour to eat, and free up the other half hour. You could start work earlier, read a book, walk around the block for some fresh air and exercise, or just close your eyes and meditate for a while. All these will give you a second wind for the afternoon, help you work more efficiently, and thus free up even more time for yourself.
Find an extra hour everyday: the minutes add up
Any one of the above habits will save you minutes for every task. If you combine several of them, or make a habit to practise all of them, you’ll find time to do more than you ever thought possible. Learn more about managing your day to find time.