Imagine having more time. An extra hour a day, or even a week would be enough to fit some of the things that you’ve always wanted to do, or been putting off. Imagine if you could find a few hours a week. You could actually make a start on a new Bible study plan, an exercise regime, or the pursuit of a dream that you thought wouldn’t happen.
In yesterdays post – Bad Excuses People Make: I Don’t Have Time! – I suggested that for most people lack of time is just an excuse. For most of us it’s a lack of motivation, determination or imagination that’s actually holding us back.
Obviously we all have just 24 hours a day and I can’t miraculously add hours to your day. What I can do is help to highlight areas of unused or even misused time. In doing this, my aim is to help you rethink how you use your time.
Here’s 10 ways to find more time;
1. Wake-up earlier.
Most people I know would read this and groan. They lack the motivation to get out of bed any earlier than they have to. This type of thinking isn’t extra-ordinary and won’t achieve anything extra.
A lot of people struggle to find time for reading or meditating on the word of God. Implement this point and you’ve just started your day strong and prioritising the most important things first. No need to make time as an excuse any more.
2. Cut something out.
If you’re already maxed out and you’re still not achieving the things you feel God would have you doing with you life, then maybe it’s time to cut something out. Take a look at the activities you’re investing your time into and then priorities them. Once you’ve got them in order of importance take an eraser to anything that’s not completely essential. This may not be an easy task, but with the determination we talked about yesterday it’s completely doable. This will definitely create more time for you to allocate to other activities.
3. Use your travel time.
Most people have some travel each day in getting to and from work. It may only be a few minutes but more likely it adds up to a good number of hours every day. If you organise yourself you can utilise this time for all sorts of activities.
For example; Choosing to take a train or bus can add possibilities to the mix. Instead of mindlessly sitting and zoning out, get proactive. You could read a book, or write a book, read a blog, or write a blog. Listen to a lecture, or write a speech. The possibilities for your commute are endless if you imagine what the time could be used for.
If on the other hand, you live close to your work place then the most obvious way to use your ‘commute’ is to walk, run or ride instead of driving. Now instead of having to fit exercise in you’ve created a place and space for it in your day.
4. Use a calendar and to-do list.
If you don’t use a Calendar and To-do List then you’re probably wasting at least some time. By organising and prioritising your schedule you’ll realise your wasting time by being inefficient. Determine to use every hour of the day effectively by creating and sticking to a routine.
With some effort you’ll soon discover that you had more time than you thought. Where did the extra hours come from? They came from the wasted space in between your daily activities. You’ll end up procrastinating less and achieving much more within the allocated time frame.
5. Create a routine for email and social media.
It’s easy to allow email and social media to eat into your time without even realising it. People get addicted to checking email, Twitter, or Facebook and end up getting distracted from other more important things. Don’t fall into this trap. Never allow email or social media to rule your schedule.
For most people, email can wait a few hours so turn off auto checking on your software and manually check email 3 times a day, at set times. Do it first thing in the morning, to clear out anything that’s come in over night, after lunch and again at the end of the day.
Over a period you’ll find that in the discipline of doing this you’ll be more efficient, waste less time and create time after hours for the things you want to do.
6. Change your routine.
If your evening routine consists of cooking dinner then slouching in front of the television for hours on end, then it’s time to change your routine. Reduce TV consumption and you’ll salvage hours for other activities.
The same can be said of computer games, or internet activity. Ask yourself if you’re wasting time or investing it. Perhaps all you need is some determination and perhaps motivation and you can reclaim these hours every week.
I’m not suggesting you cut out all your leisure activities. I am saying that if you claim that you have no time to achieve great things you may not have considered the time you spend on activities that aren’t completely essential.
Instead of cutting these activities out completely choose a set day of the week as a TV, Game or Internet free day. It’s amazing what you can achieve with one free night every week.
7. Have shorter conversations.
This may sound like a strange suggestion and I realise that it will depend a lot on your personality. But for some people determination to use less time on chatter will help find time in the day.
Some conversations need to be had. Some need to be long and cover a lot of details. But others, with attention to it, could be reduced or even eliminated.
For most people this won’t apply, but I know more than a few people who would benefit greatly from the time that would gain from intentionally speaking less.
8. Do your work at work.
You may think this suggestion is crazy too, but I know of people who waste their days at work and end up having to catch up in the evenings. This doesn’t just apply to work, people do this across the scope of life. Instead of doing the activity that should be done at any given moment, they allow other people, distraction, or procrastination to lead them down the wrong track. Lack of procrastination will not only eat away at your days, if not addressed, will consume your life.
9. Learn to say no!
Saying no is difficult for most people. It’s probably because deep inside each of us there is the desire to be liked. When you say no to someone, you run the risk of the person becoming offended. Realistically though, saying no to an invite to the movies, or to dinner, or a football match is not going to create a huge rift in a relationship. But, by saying no to some of the extra’s you’re asked to do, you’re sure to find extra time.
You may be the only person in your world able to do the things you do, but the likelihood is, your not. Many of the things you do, whether at work or home could be done by someone else.
There are countless reason why people don’t delegate. Let’s be honest, sometimes you don’t delegate because it’s easier to do the job yourself. When you delegate, you run the risk of having to re-do it. But, if you get into a habit of delegating the right things to the right people then the result will be more time on your hands.
If your motivated, determined and you use your imagination, there are hundreds of ways you can find time. These are just 10 simple suggestions. If you diligently and thoughtfully work through your schedule, you’re sure to be able to create blocks of time to invest in other activities.
The bottom line, don’t use lack of time as an excuse. Instead rethink how your going to use the time you’ve been given.
I’m sure you have other great tips or suggestions for finding more time. What works for you? Add your ideas and comments below.