Eliminate Simple Time Wasters to Find That Extra Hour in Each Day

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The elusive “extra hour” every one wishes were in each day is actually quite within our grasp to find… not always, but on a regular basis.  Obviously, you won’t really gain an extra hour on the clock, but you can easily reclaim the hours you’ve been wasting and put them to better use.

First, write a list of all the time wasters you encounter each day and each week (as some may not be daily.)  Then highlight all the ones you have full control of.  For example getting stuck in traffic during your morning commute isn’t fully in your control, but leaving late for work each day which leads you to contend with heavier traffic than if you left earlier is within your full control to change. Identifying the problems is a crucial step. When you know what the problem is, it’s easier to rectify.

For me, I found that social Media outlets can easily suck hours out of my day, particularly Facebook (catching up with friends) and Pinterest (oogling at craft and baking ideas.)  Other things like deciding what to wear in the morning for both my children and I, having nothing planned for dinner, reading emails and watching television late at night are also big time drainers.

Each of these simple time “problems,” to some extent, can be eliminated, but rather than giving up essentials (like getting dressed properly and checking email for important communications) or giving up pleasurable activities (like gawking at Pinterest photos,) I’ve found that the key to correcting and reclaiming large pockets of time from these wasters is to set limits and to use a little proactive planning.

Measures like setting a timer to a set amount of time for surfing Pinterest or logging out each time you use Facebook can help keep control of how much time you spend on each.  Setting aside a specific, limited time of day can help, too, such as viewing Pinterest only while having your morning coffee when you know you only have fifteen minutes before you have to leave.

Setting a timer on your television each night for a set amount of time (to coincide with the end of a program) is very helpful in ensuring you have enough rest and that you don’t get trapped into watching the next program.

Planning what to wear the evening before is one of the most helpful ways to reclaim time wasted on deciding what to wear.  Other time savers are color-coding your closet and allowing children to have more input in their daily clothing selections.

Scheduling time to check email is an equally effective planning solution.  Rather than checking constantly and getting bogged down each time, pen time in your calendar or set a specific time of day to address emails and make it a habit.

In fact, keeping a schedule on a calendar (format of your choice) is a highly effective way to help keep many time wasters under control, such as scrambling last minute shopping for or finding items or finding out that you’ve over-committed your time.  Schedule all the things that are important to you such as exercise and even schedule time to read or relax.  If you stick to it, you’ll suddenly find that you have fit in everything you wanted to do for the week without having to search for that extra hour.

With a little ingenuity, you can easily curb simple time wasters throughout the day by finding ways to set limits and use planning techniques to reduce time spent on non-essentials.  Try a variety of methods until you find which one works best for you.

What simple steps will you take to save time today?

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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    • Grace Hodgin
    • January 25, 2013

    I think establishing times to do the things you like are great ideas. No reason why that wouldn’t work for everyone.

    • Pam
    • January 26, 2013

    I like the idea of penciling in a certain amount of time. I find my time getting sucked up by emails and stuff too. I need to manage it better.

    • Crystal Threeprncs
    • January 26, 2013

    Oh, I SO need work on managing my time better. Its become a real struggle.

    • Melanie a/k/a Crazy Mom
    • January 27, 2013

    I sooo need this.. I struggle with my time management; what a great post with wonderful tips.. thanks for sharing.

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