7 Ways to Create More Time

Sometimes 24 hours just doesn't seem to be enough. Wouldn't it be great to be able to conjure up some extra time? Alas, this isn't a science fiction or fantasy novel so we can’t help you with that but we have some tips which might help you free up some time.

1. Create your own work uniform

A recent survey revealed that the average woman spends around 12 minutes of each weekday morning picking what to wear to work. 45% of women find the whole process stressful and 25% are almost late for work because of it. How to combat this?

An art director in New York decided to wear the same thing every day and she’s not the only one, President Obama only wears grey or blue suits because “I don't want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” Other successful advocates include Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. A study showed that too many choices and decisions can deplete one's mental resources leaving people less able to concentrate later. 

If it’s too extreme to wear the same outfit every day then go for black trousers and skirts which you can match with different coloured shirts. You could set out your outfit the night before rather than have a uniform but wouldn't it be great to have an extra 12 minutes to read or sleep?

2. Sneak in your exercise

It’s hard to find time to do exercise when you have busy days only to go home to more marking, cooking and getting ready for the next day. Try to fit it in on your way to and from work. Park your car one or two miles from your work and walk the rest of the way which could take on average 30 minutes for a 2 mile walk. Research the route before you try it to make sure you won’t be late. 

You can even try taking public transport or cycling a couple of days during the week. A study suggested that people, who cycle, walk or take public transport benefited from improved wellbeing than people who travelled by car. Studies show that your health can suffer by driving 10 or more miles a day so get out of the car and get moving.

3. Schedule your time inside and outside of work and stick to it

Say you have some marking to do in the evening, set a realistic time to start and complete or it may end up taking longer than you expected. Schedule everything you need or want to do, even your TV and screen time and make time for reflection which you can do by writing a journal of your goals, things you've done great and things to improve. Scheduling works well in helping to fit things in if you have lots to do, it enables you to see what time you have and consider whether you can do it all; you're more likely to complete a task that's scheduled in than one on a long to-do list.

4. Plan, prioritise, delegate and say no

You are only one person, it is often impossible to do everything you want each day so you have to plan before you do anything. You need to get your priorities right, use a priority matrix to help identify what you need to do first and delegate anything you can. Here is another example of a priority matrix. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that ‘no’ is small but powerful word.

5. Utilise your waiting time

We always find ourselves waiting in a queue, waiting for a train or sitting in waiting rooms, use that time to catch up on your emails, or read or plan your week.  You can even use that time to meditate or write down things you are grateful for or how about learning a new skill like a language. Research showed that people tend to find wellbeing in gratitude and the love of learning.

6. Save your weekends

Don't lose your weekends to mundane tasks and chores like cleaning. Schedule them in during the week to keep your weekend clear. If you don't finish in the time allotted then move on and do it the following day or week. For example, Monday evening set 30 minutes to clean the bathroom, Tuesday use 30 minutes to blitz the floors, etc. This will make your weekdays busier but your weekends are precious so use them to see friends and family, relax or anything you want but just not more work.

7. Make your freezer your best friend

Cook large batches of food that you can freeze so that you don’t have to cook every evening. Soups, stews, curries, anything with a sauce will freeze well. Other things like bread, wraps, milk and grated cheese freeze well too so you can cut down on food waste and be prepared for quick meals. The freezer is more efficient if it is fuller so keep it well stocked. Here is a guide to what food freezes well and how to make the most of your freezer.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you free up some more 'me time'. Work-life balance is really important and like all the good things in life, it requires a bit of effort to achieve it.

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