Time is our most elusive resource.
Unlike money or even health, once it’s gone, there’s no reclaiming it. These days, I find that time is more elusive than usual. I have long workdays and have to squeeze in personal time between assignments. With the economy in recession, I find it much harder to turn down work when I know there is no promise of what the next week will bring.
To get all this work completed in time and without sacrificing quality, I have to find ways to make the most of the 24 hours I have in a day. If you work from home, you might also struggle with this more than others. Whether the urge to take a nap, the kids screaming in the living room or the desire to do nothing is your kryptonite, these tips can help.
1. Make a To-Do List
I’ve been using to-do lists to organize my life since high school. There was a time when even date night and social appointments needed to be added to my to-do list or risk being forgotten. Knowing exactly what you need to get done every day or week makes it so much easier to keep up.
I keep my to-do list for work on an excel spreadsheet. This allows me to track exactly what assignments I need to work on for the day. I also track the total word count, the pay for the assignment and what the hourly rate works out to. When I complete an item on the list, I change the color of the cell and move on to the next.
If you don’t need to track as much information as I do, then consider using a whiteboard or even a piece of paper. Some people have also had great success with using apps, but I find apps to feel a little less involved and, therefore, not as satisfying.
2. Track Work Information
As I alluded to in the point above, I track a lot of information. Here is some additional things my spreadsheet can tell me:
- Average hourly pay for the quarter
- Average amount of time spent on each project
- What projects pay well or poorly
- How far I am from my bi-weekly goal
I don’t record this information manually. My spreadsheet has formulas that do that for me. These formulas rely on data I enter anyway to keep track of invoices. If spreadsheets are not your thing, productivity apps can help with this too. Using this data helps me make decisions about what projects to take on and how much time to budget for them.
3. Start Early
When I was in college, procrastination and my name could never be used in the same sentence. I did my end-of-semester projects within the first month or so and spent the rest of the semester coasting my way to A grades. Meanwhile, other students scrambled to get their work done. These days, I find that fighting procrastination requires a bit more effort.
If you know you’re prone to procrastination, then you’ve already identified the main thief of time from your day. The problem is that when we procrastinate, we rarely do anything productive. We’re stalling.
No matter how much you stall though, if you start early enough, you can get things done. The trick is starting with a task you dread less than others. Once you get your foot through the door, the rest follows more easily.
4. Take Breaks
Working long hours can do wonders for your own business and someone else’s, but it won’t do wonders for you. Always schedule breaks. One of the reasons my full workday is so long is that I schedule long breaks in-between my assignments.
Right now, most of my clients are law firms. On occasion, I might get something in human resources or medicine, but primarily, I write for lawyers. This is extremely technical and it fries my brain cells. It’s one thing to sound like an attorney when you’re an attorney and another thing to sound like one when you’re a business school graduate.
Subsequently, my meal breaks are about an hour and a half long on average. During these breaks, I don’t just eat. I talk to friends, listen to music, read and fall down internet rabbit holes. These brain breaks keep me sane. For the past three weeks, I’ve also been taking two days off for the first time since … well … maybe before I left Jamaica.
Are you struggling to keep track of your days as it flies by you? Or, has COVID-19 made it feel as if your days last longer than they should? Share your time management woes with me in the comments below!
25 thoughts on “4 Easy Ways to Make More Time Magically Appear in Your Day”
I try to make to-do lists, but then I lose them. Time is my most precious resource, and I cherish the time I get to spend on myself.
Haha, I hate when that happens. I try to put mine on whiteboards, notebooks or use an app. Google also has Google Keeps, which is nice.
I need a whiteboard but have no wall space because #rvlife is just like that🙄
You can probably get a tiny one from the dollar store and stick it to the bathroom door of the fridge. I had a magnetic one I used to use from there.
My fridge door is crying out for a whiteboard now #thisiswhyiloveyou
Haha, you’re welcome! ☺️
Thanks for sharing!
just wing it!!
Haha, unfortunately I can’t wing qualifying for a mortgage on self employed income. 😅 That takes planning!
But point taken. I definitely need to stop planning so much. It’s a hard addiction to break when there’s nothing else to do about the future because we can’t go anywhere to advance it.
I should have been checking into my Vegas hotel today and my phone won’t stop sending me reminders. 😭
nothing really wrong with planning, but sometimes too much planning you miss out on fun and life in general.
google assistant can be really annoying sometimes. lol
Very true! That’s why I’m trying to get a better hold of it while still accepting that it’s necessary when you’re heading out into the unknown.
Turns out Google Assistant was right this time. The hotel failed to cancel my trip and was charging me for every day I was supposed to be there. Currently getting it resolved!
Your mind is amazing.
Thanks, Jim! ☺️
Thanks for reminding me about the organizing thing…I remember 3 years ago I decided to use the calendar features on my phones, because I kept forgetting about my plans and events with friends and myself! And recently, I did so again! Lol. Although I have important events logged, I forgot to log those little stuff…Start a post or check in with a friend (I have terrible memory).
Starting early and taking breaks has been saving what is left of my sanity over the past 3 weeks. Juggling my final exams and assessments and going through the COVID-19 blues, hasn’t been the easiest thing!! But, by starting early and taking breaks, I realise that I not only produce A grade quality easier, but I also remain consistent with my assignments and am less turnt off by them.
Thanks for this reminder! 😀
You’re welcome! Thanks for dropping by! ☺️
I’ve been trying to live my life more intentionally overall. I have a 100% flexible schedule and when I have no plans set in stone, I barely get anything done and take all day to do it. When I plan, I finish early and have the last hour or two of the night to relax, play games or workout. Sometimes I finish so early, I have half the day left.
So, it turns out Jamaican schools are right. Discipline is the path to freedom and success. 🤣 Also, good luck with wrapping up your exams!
Yup, it seems the waking up early at 4-6AM did us well in the end. I’ll be sure to stop by more often; I get so side tracked by everything I don’t read the new posts!
Thanks for the well wishes re the exams! 🙂
Looking forward to seeing you more often! I get side tracked by Twitter fairly often and then don’t spend nearly as much time as I should on here. I’m working on that. 😅
My routines are pretty basic because I’m not required to be on a time schedule. Even if we weren’t under quarantine, my time goes by on at a normal pace.
Procrastination has plagued me for sometime and I decided to do something about it. There was a project I’ve been hemming and hawing around with for over two years or more. Another blogger buddy and fellow DiYer wrote about using goggle’s timer to keep on track for completing task. The light bulb went off.
I started using that method to clear my emails. That moved me on to writing an introduction to my on going projects relating to some of my DiY projects. Then I graduated to using a Steven Covey tracker I used when I worked. That way each day I could write down what I worked on and how much time I spent on my specified task.
That lead to me purging my computer room/office/multipurpose room. I figured one week. That turned into a three week project.
I use paper to track what I’m doing. Keeps me focused and not get distracted from my tasks.
I’m glad to hear that tracking your time is working for you too. I also use my phone tracker to check time. I basically think of it as clocking in and out.
I used productivity apps instead of my spreadsheet waaaaaay back when, but I find i actually prefer the spreadsheet because it’s free and a lot less complicated!
Yeah. I guess I’m old school. I like writing stuff down. One down side, how to keep your worksheets contained. So I decided to use an old fashioned notebook. Lol.
I tried that and then kept going through notebooks! 😅 I do that now for future plans. I’m on notebook number three!