I don’t know about you, but it feels like I’m always trying to figure out where I can add a few more minutes to my day. There’s never enough time!
Maybe you’re a small business owner who needs more time to level up and organize your business processes, or perhaps you’re a corporate gal trying to squeeze more hours in your day to get your chores done at home in the evenings.
Regardless of your current situation and why you need a few more hours in the day, there are undoubtedly ways you can streamline your everyday activities to carve in those much-desired extra minutes.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of where to streamline your day, it’s essential to keep in mind that this process will require some time and commitment. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with an in-depth understanding of how you’re currently spending your time each day.
And with these tips in mind, you’ll need to commit to identifying opportunities to streamline your activities and being flexible with your schedule until you get into a rhythm.
Prepare your in-depth to-do list or schedule the night before
If organization skills are your forte and you love to plan, you might already plan how your months, weeks, or even days will look. While planning out your month, week, and days in advance is helpful, I recommend this practice because often our plans change, or a new task comes up that we need to squeeze into our schedule.
Rather than trying to scramble when a new to-do comes up, save yourself the headspace, stress, and hassle by formulating an in-depth plan for your day the night before. This way, you can wake up and get started without spending your early morning hours getting organized for the day ahead.
The good news is, by preparing your in-depth to-do list the night beforehand, not much should change while you’re asleep. And you’ll eliminate the wasted time spent trying to figure out how you’re going to squeeze more unexpected tasks into your already jam-packed to-do list.
Ditch phone time upon waking
Raise your hand if you use your cell phone as an alarm clock. Now raise your hand if you silence or turn off your alarm, and unlock your phone right away to check emails, scroll social, or see what news you missed in the world while you were asleep. I’m raising my hand, and I imagine you might be too.
Before you know it, watching a few Instagram stories has turned into thirty-minutes of time spent awake that you could have been doing something more productive. Though it takes control and discipline, ditching all phone time upon waking, and better yet, also before you go to sleep, is a great way to find more time in your day.
Consider swapping your beloved iPhone alarm clock for a real, old-fashioned alarm clock, or better yet, a wake-up light. Set yourself up to not even have the opportunity to grab your phone first thing in the morning and get a jump start on your day without technology, whatever that looks like for you.
Batch similar activities
If you’ve been a part of the Life Goals community for some time, you know we’re big fans of batching similar activities around here. The truth is, batching your activities truly helps you get more done in less time.
Some of our favorite ways to batch daily tasks include responding to emails in designated blocks rather than throughout the day, scheduling time for social media to eliminate it as a constant distraction, and implementing wind-down time before bed.
You can also batch the types of activities you’re doing to reduce the number of times your brain has to switch between tasks. For example, if you have a list of errands you need to run this week, and most or all of them are in the same area, try scheduling a block of time to focus on completing all of your errands rather than spreading them throughout the week.
Reduce your standards where possible
Reducing standards is one of my favorite ways to save time and redistribute it elsewhere. My mom raised me to be the type of girl who insists on cleaning the kitchen after cooking dinner almost every night. And I’m not talking about a simple dirty dish pickup. I mean no dirty dishes left in the sink, counters wiped down, coffee pot cleaned and emptied, floors swept, the whole gamut.
And while I love going to sleep with a squeaky clean kitchen as much as the next girl, I realized how agitated I would get when I “didn’t have enough time” to do a different task because I “had” to clean the kitchen.
I realized that my standards were set pretty high and that perhaps if I lowered them just a bit, I would find more time for my other to-dos in the evenings. And guess what? It worked!
Please don’t be mistaken; I don’t want you to reduce all of your standards and stop doing activities you need to do for your well-being and success. But consider if there are areas in your life where you’re holding the bar higher than it needs to be, and figure out how to cut back in a meaningful way.
Some areas worth exploring include your household chores, the length of your workouts, and how many times you reread an email to ensure that it’s damn near perfect.
Use your commute and waiting time
Maybe you have time in your day, but you aren’t utilizing it properly. Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us. If you commute to work or have an appointment that may require some time spent in the waiting room pre or post-appointment, use that time!
But don’t use it to mindlessly scroll social (unless this is your pre-scheduled social scroll block for the day, then go ahead). Use it to mark off tasks that you can complete using your phone (make a call) or pen and paper if you’re riding public transit (create that outline you need to get done), for that matter.
What I found in times that I had longer commutes on public transit is that I’d complain about how much time was being wasted rather than use it to my advantage. And maybe you don’t have tasks you can do while you’re sitting waiting for your stop, and that’s okay too. Instead, use the commute time as a learning hour and listen to a podcast or read a book.
Still a win-win for you!
Understand your natural productivity cycles and capitalize on them if possible
Maybe you’re an early bird, or perhaps, you’re a night owl. Regardless of which side of the spectrum you fall on, there are certain times of the day at which we feel more productive than others.
And if you are in a position where you have control over your day’s structure, consider capitalizing on your best working hours. There is no easier way to waste time than to try and force yourself to do tasks that require a lot of energy and concentration when you aren’t at your peak.