It's pretty common to hear people moaning (bragging?) that they don't have enough time. If only they could gain an extra hour, or day, they'd finally get to the gym, or that project started. If I ever slip into this way of thinking I remind myself that a lack of time is always a lack of priorities. We have all the time in the world, we just haven't decided how best to spend it.
If you're really struggling to find those extra hours in the day, here are my 10 suggestions to help your prioritise your use of time to get what you want out of it.
1. Get up a bit earlier. This may mean skipping an hour of faffing on the internet so that you can go to sleep earlier too, but you may well find that extra time in the morning becomes a productive addition into your schedule.
2.Really edit your TV watching. Tv shows are great to switch off and relax, but if you want to start prioritise other activities, you may not want to watch 4-6 hours of it each evening.
3. Buy back some time. Does your household shopping take 1 hour? Home delivery starts from as a little as £1, so you can in effect by an hour or two of extra time for a couple of quid. Does cleaning your house take 3 hours? You may find that occaisonally spending £20 on a cleaner buys you back an afternoon.
4. Double-Up on activities to get more than one thing done at once. I wanted to enrich my thinking more, so I stopped listening to music when walking about, and now listen to podcasts. Maybe certain journeys can be saved up and you can make them all at once, or you start cooking with your children to eat better and spend more time with them.
5. Spend some time working out exactly what you wish you had more time to do. Do you want to get fitter? Start a small business? Learn a new hobby? Meet new people? Date? Often a lack of priorities actually comes from not really knowing what your priorities even are.
6. Eat better quality food. You'd be amazed how much time you can lose to feeling sleepy, sluggish and generally not in the mood to get going. Focus on cutting the crap and eating tons of fruits and vegetables, and you'll magically find yourself with more time to actually get started on all those projects you dream of.
7. Go public with your goals. Telling people (either online or offline) makes them a priority and your ego helps to keep them one. Not wanting to let people down is a great motivator.
8. Take time to work out where you waste time. Do you have a commute, or have to spend a lot of time in queues, or on hold? Do you have to repeat activities because you didn't do them correctly the first time? Do you waste time because you've forgotten your plans? If you work out where you waste time, you can either correct it, or find activities to do to make that time more productive.
9. Research how to work smarter, not harder. Opening your emails once an hour, saves you time over opening them every 5 minutes. Preparing 3 meals at once saves you time over preparing 3 separate times. Seeing 2 friends at once saves you time over seeing them on different evenings. Automation of tasks can also save you time. There's loads of ways to get smarter, not faster.
10. Ease up on yourself. Perhaps you hoover 2 times a week, where really no one would notice if you did it once. Maybe you wash your hair 4 times a week but could drop it to 3 (or once!). Maybe you think you need to exercise 4 times a week, but twice may be good enough. Maybe you think your child needs to be driven to 2 afterschool clubs a week but maybe once is enough. Maybe you iron everything, where really you could skip the bedlinen, towels and pants.