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Mindless tasks like streaming movies and scrolling social media are great ways to wind-down at the end of a long busy day. However, because screen time is easily accessible on all devices, the internet can easily slow down or hinder our productivity. How many times were you on your way to do something but you end up scrolling Facebook instead? I can relate. Anything that is a time-waster is an enemy to your productivity. Use these life hacks to save time during the day so you can have more time to relax later.
If you find yourself needing more time to in a day, it could be a sign that you aren’t properly managing the time you already have. We all have the same 24-hours in a day – what are you doing with your time? Ask yourself, What do I need to do more of? What do I need to do less of?
Time management is all about finding ways to save your energy and make the most of the time you already have. If you need more time, you must first determine your biggest time-wasters and eliminate those things from your day. Sometimes it’s not that you need more time, you may just need more energy to get everything done. Life hacks such as eating energy-boosting foods, going to bed earlier, and exercising are simple ways to gain more energy to have to help you get through the day.
With every additional child I give birth to, I am always looking for new life hacks to save time and energy. As a mom of three to a pre-teen, 1st grader, and toddler who doesn’t yet sleep through the night, I have tried every time management tip Google has to offer. Of all the advice I have accumulated over the years, I finally have found a few schedules and routines that work for our family. I have found that creating schedules have worked best for me to help keep everything in working order during the day.
Some people are spontaneous and like to wake up in the morning and just go with the flow. I am not that person. I am very organized and like everything planned and structured. Now that I am a mom, I understand that when it comes to having kids, nothing will ever go as planned. Nevertheless, I found that having lists and plans in place anyway works best for me. My planners help to keep me level-headed even when nothing is going right and chaos is happening all around me.
Here are the planners and notepads I use to keep my life in order:
- Day Designer 2020 Daily Life Planner
- Day Designer Weekly Planner
- Erin Condren Softbound Planner
- The Happy Planner me & my BIG ideas Classic Half Sheet Notebook
- Kate Spade Padfolio
To make the most of your time, you will have to try and find systems that work best for you. Here are my top 10 life hacks to save time that have worked for me.
10 Productive Life Hacks to Save Time During the Day
1. Make a checklist. The best way to see all that you have to do for the day is to create a checklist of your to-dos. Using a checklist will allow you to stay on task and maximize your productivity. Throughout the day, revisit your checklist when you have s free moment.
2. Batch your tasks together. After creating a checklist to determine all that you need to do during the day, examine your list to see if there are any tasks you can “batch” or complete at the same time. Batching tasks together can work for running errands, business tasks, and completing chores. For example, if three of your tasks are to:
- Load the dishwasher
- Sweep the kitchen floor
- Wipe off the kitchen countertops
you can easily batch those tasks together and complete them all in less than an hour. Other tasks I like to batch together:
- Packing the kid’s lunches while meal prepping for myself
- Going to the post office and the grocery store while I am out
- Checking my personal and work email while I am at the computer
3. Determine what matters. Many of us waste time doing petty chores and tasks that won’t matter by the end of the day. Determine your top 3 priorities for the day, and focus on completing those tasks first. If you need to go grocery shopping, make the grocery store your first stop before heading to the mall. Stop wasting time by accomplishing your most important tasks first and rewarding yourself with the fun things later.
4. Use the 2-minute rule. The 2-minute rule is one of my favorite ways to save time during the day. The premise is: instead of intending to do it later, if you can do something (like wiping the countertops or putting away laundry) in 2 minutes or less, do it now. Planning for later, then remembering it, then taking time to do it in the future will take far more energy than it would if you could just do it now and not have to think about it later.
5. Set timers and alarms. Have you ever found yourself drifting off into a daydream due to a lack of interest in the task at hand? It happens to me often. My favorite boredom hack? Set a timer to keep yourself on track. You are less likely to drift off into your thoughts if you have a limited amount of time to finish the job.
6. Schedule your breaks. This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip above. Throughout the take, schedule breaks and time to relax. Whether you deserve a 15-minute break or need a one-hour break, make time to stop working and doing chores to rest your brain. You are more likely to finish the task at hand when you know you have a scheduled break coming up. I like to give myself a 30-minute break after every 3-hour time block.
7. Change your availability. Have you ever been in the middle of an intense work or study session and someone you love interrupts you with a phone call, ruining your concentration? Believe it or not, talking on the phone, meeting up for coffee, and stopping in the middle of what you are doing to chat and hang out are great time-wasters. If it isn’t an emergency, make time to spend with your loved ones after you have completed your most important tasks for the day.
8. Prepare your meals in advance. My biggest time killer is cooking meals. Because we are constantly eating throughout the day, it can easily feel like you spend the majority of your day in the kitchen. The best way to save time with your food is to prepare your meals in advance. Use this cookbook for great meal prep recipes.
At the beginning of the week, determine the menu for each day of the week. Choose what meals you will prepare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Prepare as much in advance as possible, such as going to the grocery store every Sunday to grab everything you need to cook for the rest of the week.
9. Prepare your outfits the night before. Just as I plan my meals in advance, I also use Sunday to plan the clothes I intend to wear for the week. Because I work from home, my daily look is pretty simple and casual, so the process of choosing my clothes always takes 10 minutes or less. After I choose my outfits for the week, I then choose an outfit for each day of the week for each individual kid. Planning our outfits at the beginning of the week saves time and headaches when trying to get the kids ready for school. Check out this cute weekly clothes organizer to keep all the clothes in order.
10. Lighten your load. If you find yourself burned out at the end of each day, you may have too much on your plate? The quickest solution to too much responsibility? Take some things off of your plate. By delegating and tasks, you can free yourself up from the burden and get some help along the way. Use this family chore chart to remind your family members of their responsibilities.
Newsflash: you don’t have to be Superwoman all the time. Ask for help if you need it. Small tasks like washing the dishes and loading the dishwasher can be given to your kids. Ask your husband to finish up the last load of laundry. Hire a virtual assistant for those small tedious tasks for your business. You will be surprised how delegating a task or two can free up hours of your time. Give it a try.
I hope these tips help!