There is never enough time in the day. It is becoming increasingly difficult to juggle a busy work life with social commitments, household errands, childcare and all the other time-sucking obstacles that arise in our day-to-day lives.
It’s a constant challenge to find enough time to get your work done, let alone have a fulfilling social life or work on personal projects. Sometimes it seems like you need a 25th hour in the day to get everything accomplished.
Unfortunately, we can’t make days any longer, nor are we able to time travel, but there is still a way to gain more time. By looking at how you spend your days and making a few subtle adjustments to your habits, you can squeeze every last drop of productivity out of each 24-hour period.
Schedule your day
The first step to effective time management is to get organised. This means scheduling your day so that you know exactly what you need to do and when. A schedule will stop you from wasting time through indecision and will give you a clear plan of action for each day.
Make to-do lists the night before and cross each task off as you go, to motivate yourself with a sense of progress.
Increase your productivity
Look at the amount of work you complete in a typical eight-hour workday. If you worked harder, could you do this in less time? By training yourself to work with a higher level of focus and intensity, you can get more accomplished in less time than if you were to efficiently space out your tasks to fill a standard working day.
Don’t feel you have to stick to a rigid nine-to-five structure either. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Identify the time of day at which you are most productive and schedule your most difficult and important work for this time.
Cut out time-wasters
We all fill our days with activities that add little to no value to our time. Make a note of how you are spending your days and identify any elements that you could cut and replace with more productive projects.
Social media, television and web-surfing are colossal time killers. Although they can be pleasant sources of entertainment, they can become addictive and damaging to productivity if you don’t limit them.
Mind the gaps
Every day is riddled with gap time. That is the downtime experienced in between significant activities. This might be queuing in the supermarket, waiting in line at the dentist or sitting at the bus stop. All this time adds up, yet most people just use it to stare at their phone and scroll through social media.
Instead, use all of your gap time more productively. Send important emails, read a book, or use your brain to think about solutions to any professional or personal problems you might have.
Is there any way you could double up on tasks to get them completed quicker? For example, you could help your child with their homework while you are cooking, or get some work done on your commute.
There is always more time to get things done, as long as you are mindful about how you spend your days. By eliminating anything that drains on your time and making the most of every minute, you can enjoy an extra hour or two each day.