Archives for July 5, 2012

5 Ways to Squeeze More Time Out Of Your Day

1. Get up early

Recently Nathan and I decided it was time to start making the most out of our days, more specifically our mornings. So instead of getting up a few hours later on the weekend or hitting snooze 2-3 times, we get up at 5am every single day. It was tough at first – and I know it’ll be even harder in the winter – but it is SO worth it. We’ve had more time together, watched more movies, had a cleaner house, started tackling our long-term to-do list, and so much more. It also allows me to fully wake up before I start working around 6:30 which makes for a much more productive start to the work day.

2. Set work intervals

A sense of urgency always helps me get things done in a timely fashion. While too much pressure isn’t beneficial, I think a little bit is which is what led to the work interval idea. It’s pretty simple and can change daily depending on what you’re doing, too. All you do is decide a time frame that you’re going to work on something, or even multiple somethings and no matter what happens, you’re done when that time is up. Then you get a break from what you’re doing to enjoy the hard work you’ve put in. 2-3 hour intervals work best for me because after that, I start to lose focus on whatever it is I’m doing. Depending on the project or tasks at hand, the intervals may change and the break times may vary as well. This helps me work hard when I need to, not procrastinate as much, get more done in a smaller time-frame, and then relax instead of working longer.

Example: Work from 8:00 to 11:00 on emails, post creation, and social media. At 11:00, you’re done for an hour and can relax or get housework done.

3. Use lists

If I don’t have a to-do list, or an idea of what’s going on that day/week, I struggle with time management. I spend more time trying to figure out what needs to be done and what I could be doing when my day’s tasks are complete instead of actually working. So I have multiple to-do lists. One for the day, one for the week, and one for each project/goal I’m working on. This allows me to always have something to do when I finish my daily tasks so I’m less likely to waste time on things that don’t matter.

I use a couple of apps to manage my lists that can be found on the last 5 tips post: 5 iPhone Apps for Blogging Productivity.

4. Track where your time goes

Something I learned when dieting or eating healthier is to track what I’m eating because I’m much more likely to make the right choice when I have to track it. The same goes for my time. If I’m trying to make the most of it, I need to track it. I need to track when I’m working, what I’m working on, and when I start doing things that are a little less beneficial work-wise (such as surfing the Internet, spending more time on Twitter, etc.) When you know where your time is going, you can easily see where/if you need to make changes to your schedule or workload. It also let’s you see if you’re wasting more time than you think you are.

I use a simple Excel spreadsheet to track my time each week – it only tasks an extra minute or so a day to track.

5. Set limits

Similar to tracking your time, setting limits is a great way to get more time out of your day. I know for myself, there are many times where I check emails too frequently or hit the refresh button on Twitter a little too often just because I can. Set limits on how many times you check emails, go on social media, surf the web, or any other projects on your to-do list for the day that could potentially eat away at your valuable time. Stick to the limits and whenever you have spare time, do something productive instead.