But I think it has to be. Somewhere along the way, we all went a bit mad! There’s never enough time… we’re too busy to think or feel… we eat while we’re doing something else… we rush around from place to place…
It’s exhausting, and we’re tired.
But we wear it like a badge of honour. The less time you have, the more successful you must be, right? Right…?!
For me, the less time I have, the more stressed I feel – and the more snappy, irritated, on the edge, and not myself I feel. Any of that sound familiar?
So I’m going to be brutal with you. Let’s find some ways, right now, that we can add some more time into your week – into one week. These can be practices – and then whatever works for you or you like, you can keep. Or you can chuck it if it doesn’t work.
So here are my suggestions for how to add more time into a week. Try one of these (or more), for a week, and see what the result is:
1. Stop watching TV and movies for a whole week.
See how much more time you have. Even at the weekends. I’m serious. That episode can wait til next week. You say movies chill you out and help you unwind – but if you’re so busy and stressed, I think more time will help you, rather than being slumped in front of the TV for three hours. Or am I wrong?
2. Cook microwave meals for one week…
…or make all your dinners for the week at the weekend. It’s only for one week – it won’t kill you. But it will free up some time for something else. Or at the very, VERY least, do a meal plan for the whole week with some simple dinners, and get all the ingredients in advance, so you know what you’re cooking in advance and you can keep it quick.
3. Pay someone to do your chores for you.
Just for one week. You don’t have to suddenly start living like a millionaire, paying someone to cut your toenails. Think about something that would free up some more time for you – cleaning, babysitting, washing up, washing the car, gardening, doing your paperwork…? Whatever is your time-drainer. Try it for one week.
4. Get up ten or fifteen minutes earlier.
A-ha, I know what you’re going to say. Geez, I don’t get enough sleep already! I need all the sleep I can get! Really – those ten minutes are going to cause major meltdown in your life? For one week? Ten minutes a day means over an hour “extra” per week. And you can always get up ten minutes later the week after if you want, to make up for it 🙂 Or go to bed ten minutes earlier.
5. Use your commute wisely (if you have one).
Listen to audiobooks or comedy podcasts, read, take a quiz, watch a TED talk – anything that you want to do that you don’t have time for right now. Try to add something productive to your commute, rather than just sleeping, reading the paper, or watching YouTube videos. You can give them a miss them for one week. Or if you have a long commute, see if you can work from home for one week! Make up an excuse if necessary. This is your life, and you should have some control over it. If your boss freaks out, remind them that the hour and half you spend commuting could be spent working instead… 😉
6. Give up reading or watching the news or magazines.
For a whole week. The main things will filter through to you anyway (and you’ll start to notice that it’s only bad news you hear, anyway).
7. Take a walk around the block at lunch, even if it’s just for five or ten minutes.
It will freshen you up and give you more energy for the afternoon. Or it will provide a space for some creative ideas. Either way, it’s a win.
8. Cancel ALL your engagements for one week.
Yep, drastic huh? But I thought you wanted more time? So for one week: no social clubs, no going out, no evening activities, no family get-togethers, no duties. Push everything back one week. Did anyone die? It’s easier than you think to free up evenings. You just say no (sometimes you have to say it firmly 🙂 ) And if you have work events every single evening, I don’t think this is the post for you (i.e., there is better info for you out there than in this post!)
9. Leave the office on time every day.
Tell your boss you are taking a course or class. You can make up a course (even better if it’s to do with work productivity!), say it’s online, or you could do a short course. The idea is not to replace working with another time-consumer. The idea is to get out that office at five on the dot, to have your evening free for yourself. Or, just leave on time every day for one week! Set an alarm. Tell some colleagues you trust (they will help you with your escape plan – trust me 🙂 ) Sometimes we convince ourselves that things have to be done right away. Most of the time, they don’t. You might do that task tomorrow morning in half the time, when you’re refreshed.
10. Start streamlining some of your weekly processes.
Obviously I don’t know how your household operates. But anything that moves you from “crazy and stressed”, to “busy but handling it” is a good thing. So whether it’s a dinner plan for the week/month, getting some storage boxes and tidying things up a bit, or having things ready to go in the morning – do anything you can to make life a little easier for yourself. If this isn’t your thing, most people have a super organized friend. Have them round and get some systems in place. It doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful.
What have I missed?
What else does your week consist of, that you could remove (or reduce) for a trial period?
The idea, of course, is not to remove everything you love doing, so you’re miserable.
It’s to figure out what you really want in your week, and what you didn’t realize you could get rid of.
And the most important thing is to use the free time you’ve created wisely!
In whatever way is best for you.
For some people, this might be as simple as catching up on sleep. For others it might be planning or organizing their life, or getting their finances in order. Or all the odd jobs you’ve been putting off that have been dragging you down.
Make it worthwhile, and have some fun with it.
Good luck! 🙂