Figure Out Where Your Time Went and Learn How to Get It Back

Deep down, we all know that there are 168 hours in a week, but you may feel puzzled about where they all go. Below is a list to help you get started figuring it all out. Check which activities you could do more efficiently and which activities you may want to cut back on.

Necessities You Probably Want to Keep 

  1. Budget for sleep. Eight hours of sleep is still a good rule of thumb for most adults. Experiment to see if you function just as well on seven or six hours.
  2. Eat every day. Invent your own fast food. You can cook chili in batches and freeze single servings or turn salads into a balanced meal by adding beans or slices of chicken breast. Be creative!
  3. Hold onto your day job. Working and commuting burn up a big chunk of most people’s lives. Depending on your situation, you can either move closer to work or telecommute to free up some of that time.
  4. Clean your house. Smart housekeeping goes a long way. Less clutter means less dust. Get in the habit of cleaning a little each day. Wipe the refrigerator down while your coffee brews.
  5. Groom yourself. Most routines are discretionary except for showering and brushing your teeth. Use fewer products and get an easy-care hairdo.
  6. Exercise regularly. An active lifestyle may extend your life, so why skimp here? Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. You could save some time by integrating exercise into your other daily routines, like taking the stairs and parking further away.
  7. Learn new things. Lifelong learning is worth the investment. Take a business class or visit a natural history museum.
  8. Pursue your hobby. Time devoted to improving your accomplishments, as well as your creativity, pays off. Schedule a time for yourself just as you schedule your other important appointments like playing the piano or learn to draw.
  9. Connect with loved ones. Relationships with family and friends are central to our well-being. Build a strong support network and take time to share experiences together.
  10. Engage in spiritual practices. If you belong to a specific faith tradition, you know which teachings you aspire to live by. Whatever your beliefs, you can focus on values that give your life purpose.

Stuff You Could Probably Cut Back On 

  1. Check your messages less often. Limit yourself on how often you check emails and voicemails. Twice a day may be all you need.
  2. Turn off the TV. Turn the TV off except for when you intend to watch a specific program. It will cut down on channel surfing.
  3. Get off the Internet. It’s easy to get carried away with social media, browsing, or the latest online games. Calculate how much time you really want to spend online and gradually cut back until you meet your objectives.
  4. Abandon nonproductive thinking. Remind yourself to cool down when you start to feel anxious or angry. Consider whether the event is worth your attention and if there is anything you can really do about it. Rather than being angry or fuming about traffic jams,  enjoy an audiobook or listen to your favorite music.
  5. Streamline your errands. Forgot an item from the grocery? There is no need to do repeat trips to the supermarket if you have planned your weekly errands in advance so you cover everything you need with less driving time. Check which businesses have free or low-cost delivery services that will spare you from any driving at all.
  6. Prioritize your shopping. Each new possession represents something else you are going to need to take care of. Examine whether it’s more important for you to spend time with your children or own all the latest kitchen gadgets.

Effective time management will help you lead a happier and more meaningful life. Use these tips to free up your schedule for the endeavors closest to your heart.