Make Better Use of Your Time
Only twenty-four hours are in a day—no more, no less. There is no such thing as an extra ten minutes. Therefore, if we are to find time for ourselves we must make time for ourselves. Where in our hectic schedules can we make time that we can then allocate for ourselves? Try these solutions to “buy some time” in your day.
- Group chores, errands, or tasks together so that you accomplish them in the same physical effort.
When I run errands I group them so that I accomplish as many as possible in one loop from home back to home. Since my business is near my home I combine personal and business errands in the loop. One circular loop allows me to cover the storage locker, delivery or pickup from a friend who works nearby, gas for the car, the ATM at the bank, groceries, the business mail box, a drugstore (drive-through window), the liquor store, the US Post Office, the local hardware store, and the county library. I save plenty of minutes in back-and-forth time with a well-planned route for my errands.
- Monitor the telephone.
- Read less and read smarter.
Cancel some of those subscriptions. Decide which two specialty magazines provide the overall coverage you need and cancel the other three similar subscriptions. Analyze which of the three newspapers gives you the perspective you most seek and cancel the other two. If you have to have the daily Business Journal for business or investment purposes and you also listen to or watch your local evening news, then consider subscribing only to the Sunday edition of your local newspaper. Do you receive four different travel-related or hobby-related magazines? Determine which one or two of them gives you the most-relevant coverage and get rid of the others. You can always get targeted information from the library or off the World Wide Web when you really need it.
- Schedule with the doctor, dentist, vet, or automobile technician for the first appointment in the day.
For example, at home I fill the dish washing tub (no, I don’t have an automatic dishwasher) with hot water and soap and put in the dishes to let them soak. While they are soaking I load the first load of laundry into the washing machine and start the machine. I probably took the box of things-that-go-to-the-basement downstairs with me enroute to the laundry room and distributed items along the path to the machines. I pull new paper towel and toiler paper packages from the pantry enroute to upstairs and put them in their respective cabinets. On the way back to the kitchen I turn on the desktop computer to allow it to go through its startup routine (which takes many minutes). I pick up the portable phone on the way back to the sink and make a phone call with the phone tucked under my neck while I begin washing dishes (I’m thinking of getting a headphone set for the phone to make this task easier). You get the drift. There are things that can be done at the same time, especially with automation and machines that run on their own once you start them or set them on timers.
- Establish a process to handle the mail through one complete cycle.
- Answer E-mail messages that have questions asked of you by highlighting the questions, selecting “reply”
- Business meetings are more likely to end on time when they are held just before lunch and just before quitting time.
Those evening civic and social meetings are a bit more difficult to control but can be effectively controlled with a few tricks. Begin the meeting at 7:00PM. This allows those who need to ferry a sitter or wait for their partner to get home from rush-hour traffic to arrive. Brain cells usually deteriorate after 9:00PM so the meeting will most-likely end at 9:00PM. Following good meeting facilitation techniques also helps keep meetings limited to only when they are needed and within specified time frames.
- Get a doggie bag. Bring home what you do not eat in one restaurant sitting. You will save food preparation time when you plan to eat left-overs.
Now, back to the premise at the beginning of this article … if we only had ten extra minutes we could do something for ourselves.
Follow one or more of these solutions and you will find more than those ten minutes in your day to do something else. Make sure that something else is something f or yourself. What that something else could be is the subject of a different article!