8 Ways to Get More Hours in Your Week
When designer Tom Ford creates, we consume. And when he makes accurate observations like: “time and silence are the most luxurious things today,” we listen. He's right—as he so often is—there are few things more important than finding a little extra time in our busy lives. But how can we manage it? By saving a few pockets of spare minutes here and there, you can save yourself hours in the average week. So put down your planner: instead of finding extra time, let's create it.
The Sydney Morning Herald gathered some great ways to help you carve a few more minutes out of each day. Here are 8 of our favourites:
1. Plan Your Time Online
Spending extending hours online is usually the result of falling down the cyber rabbit hole and like Alice, it'll take you quite a few hours to make your way out of web Wonderland. The solution? Give yourself a online budget. If you're in the mood to trawl, go for it—just make sure that if you've given yourself 20 minutes to do so, you don't go over. No exceptions.
2. Follow the Four-Song Rule
Let's be honest: morning routines are less like 'routines' and more like a desperate scramble to fall out the door looking half-decent. The way you start your day is dependent on so many other factors (winter? Several snooze attempts. Friday? Time to take your foot off the accelerator) so give yourself some consistency.
Keep yourself on track (and within your budgeted time slot) with the clever four-song rule. If you choose four songs at five minutes each and match an activity with each song, you'll know exactly when to wrap up that task. And if you stick to the below, you'll be ready in a very respectable twenty minutes. For example:
Song #1: Brush your teeth and floss.
Song #2: Shower time. (No one will know if you find a slightly longer track for this one!)
Song #3: Get dressed against the clock: no dawdling.
Song #4: Use this time to do your make-up.
Song #5: Hair prep... and you're out the door!
3. Tackle Life in Blocks
The 'Pomodoro' technique has been a popular time management since its inception in the 80s. It centres on the idea that true productivity comes from doing one thing at one time without distractions—anyone who's worked in a modern office knows that multi-tasking while reading your inbox while prepping for a meeting isn't the most effective way to get things done.
Try this technique instead: every task is given a half hour slot. The first 25 minutes is for the task, then the last five is for a break. After four 'pomodoros' (boxes of time), you take a fifteen minute break. And repeat. If your productivity improves, this can only mean more minutes in your day... which means more hours in your week.
4. Wherever You're Headed, Take Something With You
Everything has its place but because we're human, these things travel to the most bizarre places by way of us. Then Sunday arrives and we're racing around putting things back where they belong and that's your weekend gone.
Avoid the Sunday scramble by applying the rule that wherever you're going, take something with you—maybe you're in the kitchen on your way to the bathroom (do you need toilet paper? Take it now). Maybe you're in the kitchen and you're on your way out (do the bins need emptying? Yep, now's the time). Considering things now, rather than later does actually save you time in the long run.
5. Make a Date With Your Emails
Inboxes are a modern Medusa's head—the more you check, the more there seem to be. They're relentless, time-consuming and if left too long, utterly overwhelming. Instead of constantly checking in, only make a date with them three times a day: 9am, 12pm and 3pm. Take the time to go through them, clear them, action them then move on. You'll free up your time to actually get some work done, meaning more tasks ticked and more time spilling over into you-time as you walk at the door on the dot of 5pm.
6. Always Do a Plus-One
The plus-one theory is like multi-tasking but a little less taxing. It relies on the principle that when you're mid-task, you can spend that time thinking of one extra, small thing you can tack onto the end to make yourself more productive. Better productivity = more time later on. While you're grocery shopping, could you pay your gas bill quickly once you've loaded the car? If you're washing up, could you spare a minute afterwards to prep tomorrow's brekkie? It won't save you time on the spot, it will save you time later, when you can't get it and need it most.
7. Employ the 'Two-Minute-Do-it-Now' Strategy
An enduring favourite of the forgetful, this strategy is the idea that if there's something that needs to be done and it takes less than two minutes to do, do it now. As in, right now. Don't wait until tomorrow, or Sunday afternoon or anytime later on, when things are infinitely more complicated and you've got a pile of other things that take longer than two minutes to tick off. You'll notice the difference come the weekend—trust us.
8. Sign Up to Logoff
Most of us know that the amount of time we spend on our devices is a huge drain on our time but we can't seem to pull ourselves away. You hop into bed, ready for an early night and before you know it, you're two years deep your bestie's workmates' lol-worthy dog-dedicated page and you've wasted the precious minutes that could've been sweet, sweet sleep. Do yourself a favour and sign yourself up to a blocking service, like SelfControl. You don't have to block yourself forever but when it's time to sleep, or time to get something done, you can't afford to procrastinate. Take a breather and see the spare minutes and hours stack up.