Everyone gets the same amount of time each day. 24 hours is all you get. However, there are ways to get more done in a day when you learn to use your time wisely.
The very first step to using your time wisely is to determine how your time is currently being used and how much time you actually have. For me, I'm at work full time for 40 hours and I have to add an extra hour each day to commute back and forth. I also feel best when I have a solid eight hours of sleep. I have some flexibility at work to change my hours slightly but not on a regular basis. Sleep can and will obviously fluctuate depending on what I have going on and my daughter's needs.
Assuming that I don't make any major changes to these two areas, I have seven hours left in my day for all the other things in life, at home, and to spend with my daughter. My priority is to spend as much time with my daughter as possible (or as she will let me). So, the other things in life will have to get done quickly and and effectively.
Be productive. Not busy.
Almost everyone you talk to nowadays are "busy." There is almost a competition on how busy we are. If we are not busy, people often wonder if we are lazy or doing anything at all. My schedule is full but I stopped saying I was busy. Because likely I am not. I should never be busy with busywork. I should be productive and producing things. Making things happen. You will be surprised how much you get done when you stop being busy and ask yourself if you are producing something at the end of the task.
Work when it is the best time for you.
This should be a no brainer to everyone. Work when you feel best to work. I do a lot of the things in the morning because I am awake and alert. A lot of my heavy thinking is done in the first couple of hours of my day. I know that I start to feel sluggish in the afternoon so that time is saved for tasks that are easier for me. My mind is tired by the evening, so it is reserved for pretend play with My Little Ponies (with my daughter of course.)
Figure out what are the optimal times for you and work accordingly during those times. The worst is wasting precious time when it is not the best time for you to complete that task.
Fully utilize waiting times.
I swear I can see myself age in the mirror when I wait for my daughter to do something by herself. On one hand, I know she needs to learn how to do it and it promotes self confidence. On the other hand, I just want the task to be done 16 minutes ago. Rather than rushing her which can lead to a huge cry fest, I started to do something else with my time when I am waiting. Water doesn't boil faster when you watch it, same thing applies to my daughter.
These "waiting" times might not be a lot of time but you can get simple things done during this time. You might not get the entire task done but you can either get started or get some of it done. For example, while I wait for my daughter to finish getting dressed in the morning, I am able to:
put away the dishes from the dishwasher
start a load of laundry
take food out from the freezer to thaw during the day in the fridge
put together her breakfast and other things in her backpack for dayhome
write out a grocery list
meal plan for the following week
The list of things that can be done is endless. The main thing you need to remember is not to tackle a huge task, rather do several small tasks. The benefit is huge in the end because you have completed something (produced an outcome) all during the time you would have been waiting (and aging).
What are some of the pockets of time that you utilize to do more? What are some of the things you do to save time that is unconventional? I would love to get more ideas to maximize my day!
Another productivity post you might be interested in is: