What Would You Do if You Had An Extra Hour In The Day?
Whenever I ask my clients that simple question their responses include, exercise, cook a gourmet meal, play, spend time with family, write a book, read more, meditate, take salsa lessons and the list goes on.
What’s amusing is that, earlier this month, in regions that observe Daylight Savings Time, we all received that extra hour, but most of us, didn’t take advantage of the extra time.
In my opinion, it’s not so much that we need “extra” time, I think it’s more about, really being aware of how we spend our time, and how we make the best use of our time. Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, the equivalent of 1,440 minutes, but how we value that time, and how we use that time is the main differentiator between those of us who make the most of every minute, and those of us, who don’t.
Learning how to use your time as a valuable resource, starts with taking a hard look at how you use your time now. Keep a time log for a week, and track (by 30 minutes to an hour) all the things you do from the moment you wake up in the morning, until you hit the sack at night. At the end of the week, circle all the areas that you consider to be unproductive. You might want to go even further and categorize your time at work, home and personal time. Once you get really conscious about how you spend your time, you can make an effort to replace unproductive time, with activities that you enjoy the most. Remember that time is a tool. It can be manipulated, shared, divided and saved.
Here are 6 tips on how I squeeze every second of time out of my day, I hope you find them helpful:
1.Take Time to Plan – I use the Self Journal, which is a daily planner to help optimize my day. I take 15 minutes in the morning to set my intention for the day, and 15 minutes every evening to set my goals for the next day and beyond if needed.
- Prioritize Your Daily Targets and Tackle the Hardest One First. By prioritizing the hardest one first, you are more likely to complete the rest and build the momentum you need for the day. I often use a Top Five list, where I list my top five priorities and as I complete one, I cross it off the list, and add another priority task. I never have more than five priorities on the list, at one time.
- Stay Focused. This can be difficult, because there are so many distractions. I recently turned off all of the alerts on my devices. I also let people know when I’m working on something important so I can eliminate unnecessary interruptions. I find a quiet space and I stay focused on the task at hand, until I complete it.
- I stay true to Stephen Covey’s #2 Habit, which is “Begin With the End in Mind”. I create the vision and outcome that I want to achieve. This always helps me to get my mindset ready and feel purposeful as I set out to accomplish my goals.
- Include Managing Your Energy With Managing Your Time. You can be the best planner and have all of the resources you need to get the job done, but if you don’t have the energy to do it, then it’s a bust. I typically start my day off with a long brisk walk, and 10 minutes of meditation before I get to work. It’s a true energy booster for me. Figure out what works for you, and make it a daily habit.
- Remember, There Are Always 1,440 Minutes in Each Day. They do not vary from day to day. If you get conscious about how you spend every minute of the day, you’ll find yourself using your time much more wisely, and wasting a lot less of it. Appreciate that some of these minutes will be used systematically (time at work, calls), others to service your physical requirements (eating, sleeping) and time for personal needs (relaxation, self-care). It’s really about what you do with the remaining time that makes a difference and can lead to you getting the most out of life, and enjoying every minute of it.
Some of my favorite audio books on this topic include:
-The Four Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss
-I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam
-Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy