5 Simple Steps to Harness More Time

The Passage of Time
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Toni Verdú Carbó via Compfight

Know how to live the time that is given you. Dario Fo

Time is a luxury!

Each of us only has 86400 seconds or 1440 minutes or 24 hours per day and they go by quickly, so you surely don’t want to waste any of them!

I have been alive for 58637778573 Seconds or 977296310 Minutes or 16288272 Hours, WOW! So when I think back, did I use my time the best way I could?  Probably not, but I can start now.  After all I probably still have 1,937,735,166 seconds left to live, I shouldn’t be wasting it.

By maximizing your efficiency, you can complete every item on your to-do list with time to spare!

Follow these suggestions to help you get more done in less time:

Organization

1. Organization. Organization is the key to successful time management.  I “try” to always be organized so that any point I can quickly move from one task to another, without having to stop to “get the stuff.”

Before you start a task take a few moments to get everything arranged, whether small or large, and create a time-saving game plan. Lay out all of your supplies; know exactly where you’ll start and where you want to finish.

  • Checklist: Create a checklist and check it twice. When laying out your supplies, place them in the order that they’ll be used. In doing so, you’re able to shave a few seconds off of your project time whenever you reach for supplies.
  • Milestones: Even if you don’t have supplies, you can still benefit from a checklist. Create milestones. If you’re checking the milestones off as scheduled, you’ll know that you’re on the right track. If you’re checking them later than scheduled, it’s time to speed things up.  I love being able to check things off, it helps me feel that I am successfully moving through all my tasks.

There are many strategies that can assist you with organizing your life and your life plan/vision, this can really create clarity and propel you further ahead.  Take a look at some ideas from Katie Tallo over at Momentum Gathering on Get Organized and Get on with Your Life.

Single Focus

2. Chunking and Single Focus. If you have a time consuming task to take on, rather than dreading the hours of work that are ahead, chunks.  Group all similar tasks together and then work within a specific time period. Working in spurts of 25 minutes, with a five-minute break in between, still allows you 50 minutes of work time without feeling worked to the bone.

  • It’s important to focus solely on the task at hand while working in spurts. If you take even a two-minute break, you’ve lost two minutes of work time and increased your break time by 20%.
  • Concentrate on the one task at hand. If you’re preparing for a presentation for work, the only things that you should be doing throughout your 25 minutes is writing or studying. No using the restroom, changing the song, no checking emails or twitter, or helping your co-worker – just writing.

Jonathan Mead from IlluminatedMind.net wrote a great guest post over at ZenHabits.net on 10 Ways to Use Laser Sharp Focus to Get More Done.

Energize

3. Energize. In order to be efficient, it’s necessary to start the day off on the right foot. First, get a good night’s rest and eat a healthy breakfast.

  • Wake up early: You’ll find that you’re more energized after breakfast at 7:00am rather than 11:00am. Plus, you’ll add extra hours to your day, which allows you to cross off tasks on your to-do list even sooner. Then, the rest of the day is yours!
  • Exercise:  Just 15 minutes of physical activity in the morning, whether it is a walk around the block or a quick spin on your exercise bike will get the blood pumping to your brain and get your firing on all cylinders.

Check out Steph from StephRiceFitness.com, she has an awesome Forest Bodyweight Workout that you can do anywhere.

Distractions

4. Eliminate all distractions. Distractions are a part of life and everyone’s schedule is susceptible. Rather than trying to fight them off, eliminate them completely.

  • Offline tasks: Turn off the computer, place your cell phone on silent, and unplug the television and all other things that are known to be a distraction to you. In doing so, you’ll be less likely to channel surf, catch up on your Facebook friends, or chat away when your friend calls.
  • Online Tasks: If you need to get something done on the computer in a timely fashion, block the websites that are known distractions by using LeechBlock, a Firefox plugin. This plugin allows you to restrict your visitation to the websites of your choosing.

One of my favourite ways to eliminate distractions is to spend time each day in meditation. Mary Jaksch from GoodLifeZen.com has an awesome article on How to Meditate: 10 Important Tips.

Time Saving Systems

5. Invest in time-saving assets. The final, and possibly most important step, is to invest in items or services which permanently shave minutes off of your day. It may be more money upfront, but you can potentially shave hours of chores off of your to-do list each week.

  • Gadgets: Invest in an automatic floor cleaner to automatically clean the floors each week. Also, a lawn mowing service, purchasing a dishwasher, and opting for carpooling are additional strategies that can shave time off of your to-do list.  I just bought a newer, more efficient dishwasher on the weekend, it makes me very happy, not to have to rinse or re-wash the dishes!
  • Delegate: Invest in a service to do the job for you, maybe it is a maid service to clean once a week or maybe it is a VA that monitors your emails and customer service requests.  This allows you to focus on the aspect you are expert at and allows you to finish your tasks better and faster.

Just get Started

Honestly I believe that starting is 95% of the battle.  Once you get organized and spend a chunk of focused time on your task, it has a habit of taking much less time than you thought it would.   And I have ALWAYS found that it is much more enjoyable than you thought.  How often have you procrastinated a task, just because you thought it was going to be hard or awful?   me?  lots!

Here is another little secret I bet that you didn’t know…. the more often you start tasks the easier it is and the faster you will become at completing them! How cool is that :-)

What other tips or strategies do you to Get more done with Less time?   Leave a comment below, we would love to hear about it.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Hey, Lori, you have some great ideas here!
    My favorite tip to get more things done is to use rewards. I tell myself that I can have __________ after I’m done with a task. The blank might be filled in with playing with the dog, checking my email, having a snack, or something else I really enjoy.
    Without a carrot dangling in front of me, I get very distracted and time slips right on by!
    Bobbi Emel´s last blog post ..5 lessons on peace and mindfulness from a Samurai warrior

    • Lori Lynn says

      Definitely exercise clears the mind and gives you so much energy you can just power through your list of tasks!

  2. says

    Hi Lori,
    I didn’t think I’d ever compliment someone on the headers within their blog but…I really like yours! The design of this site is so nice and welcoming (and the content is pretty groovy too). This article reminds me a bit of one I wrote about how to become an efficiency machine but, not that we’re comparing here, you did it much better than I did. I liked this one a lot.
    Take care,
    Joel
    Joel Zaslofsky – Enlightened Resource Management´s last blog post ..The 72 Hour Continuous Creation Challenge Recap (With a Special Announcement)

  3. says

    Great tips here Lori – and I really appreciate the links too.
    I’ve finally started putting the focused ‘Pomodoro’ sessions to work and I’m amazed at how much more I can get done if I make that commitment not to take a break for just 25 minutes! But you’ve reminded me I really do need to turn off the phone in addition to shutting down email and social media. Those family texts coming in can be so distracting! They can wait for 25 minutes!
    I’m a big believer in getting the blood going with exercise to get those synapses firing even better. I’m off to check out Stephs’s forest workout!

    • Lori Lynn says

      Pomodoro technique sounds awesome!

      haha yes, my kids text me all the time, which I prefer over the phone, but it is always when you are trying to get stuff done!

  4. says

    Thank you for the wonderful tips…I find that I’ve been wasting a lot of time doing…??? I’m not sure, so I am going to onto my gmail account and set up a schedule. The big aha reminder for me here was that time is so very precious!

    • Lori Lynn says

      Time is not as infinite as our possibilities… so we shouldn’t be wasting it that is for sure! But there is time for fun as well as work. I think that big thing is to do everything with purpose. You can set aside time to purposefully do nothing :-) if that is what you really want. I do that often with my partner.

  5. says

    Hi Lori!

    Love this post. I think the most crucial for me is #3 – Energize. If I don’t start the day off right with some movement and a good, balanced breakfast, the rest of my day is shot. It’s amazing, really, what a difference it can make! When I’ve done that, my focus is stellar, I get good writing done, and I feel productive.

    Thanks for the time-creating tips! :)
    Peace,
    K

  6. says

    Dear Lori Lynn,

    This article of yours is absolutely great… well worth the investment of my time reading it!

    I particularly resonated with the time-savings game plan; I simply love the idea!

    For my part, being a voracious reader, I have found that taking 60 minutes in the morning before starting my work day works wonders for me. Not only does it set a positive tone for my day, but my productivity gets usually compounded a thousandfold.

    In happiness and joy,
    Chantal
    Chantal Beaupre´s last blog post ..Practicing Prayer and Meditation to Relieve Anxiety

    • Lori Lynn says

      That is perfect! I think reading is just like meditating! Most importantly you found something that works for you.

    • Lori Lynn says

      :-) I had such a beautiful drive yesterday, amazing sunsets, it was breathe taking and totally re-charged me

      sometimes it is so easy, we don’t even think to do it…

  7. says

    Great article, Lori. It is amazing how busy one person can get these days and these tips are fantastic. My tip is echoed in your post: Leave the tv off. It’s a huge time waster and you get so much more time in your day without it. I only watch a few hours a week. (No exaggeration.) There are so many tasks to get done, when you break it down into hours and minutes as you did (wow!) then you realize the importance of the time we have left. Meditation is key; a quiet mind thinks more efficiently and thus saves time. Thank you.
    Lee Jenna Tyler´s last blog post ..Fear of NaNoWriMo? Here are a few tips to calm the nerves.

    • says

      :) yeah that is pretty big, I agree only a few hours a week or as a treat. I record all my shows so I can focus on the important things, but I still have them for down time.

      You do need to make sure you have some down time in amongst all that other stuff.

  8. says

    You really make it seem really easy with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be really something which I think I’d by no means understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely vast for me.

    I’m taking a look forward to your next post, I’ll try to get
    the hang of it!
    how to talk to a girls´s last blog post ..how to talk to a girls

  9. says

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of
    content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?
    http://arnul69a.buzznet.com/user/journal/18107146/updates-elements-meeting-women/´s last blog post ..http://arnul69a.buzznet.com/user/journal/18107146/updates-elements-meeting-women/

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