Would you like to get more free time in your days?
(ok, you’re right, that was a totally unnecessary question!)
The truth is, no matter how much free time we have at our disposal, we like to have more of it.
Even if you’re passionate about the work you do and completely love your job, at the end of a day I’m sure you’d also like to enjoy some other things in life on a daily basis, too.
Like, read a book, go for a walk, get together with friends or family, pamper yourself a bit (massage anyone?)…
Because – let’s face it – if the rest of life happens only when you’re on vacation, you can be pretty sure you’re not living the lifestyle you wish for yourself.
Yet, days seem to pass in a blink of an eye, and before you know it, it’s time to wrap everything up and go to bed.
So how can we get more free time?
(and still manage to accomplish the tasks)
Here are some strategies on how you can achieve it.
Time-gaining strategy #1 – Focus on what’s important
If you want to be busy day-in and day-out, you can always find some work to do.
But, that’s not why we’re here.
So how to make sure we’re doing the right job without cluttering ourselves with unnecessary tasks along the way?
Depending on what your end goal is, discover the most important task you should be working on in that day – and then go for it and do it.
Imagine you only have 2 hours in a day to do the work.
And if you don’t manage to do it, you will suffer severe consequences.
(of course, that’s not the real case, but just go with it, because this kind of thinking will give you a clearer perspective on the work in front of you)
With such a mindset in place, ask yourself: “What is the ONE thing I should do right now which would make the biggest impact?”.
The answer to this question is the thing you should be working on for that day.
And don’t forget to focus only on that task until it’s completed!
(pssst… a pomodoro method is perfect for this purpose)
If you’re a planner person, make sure to mark the task you should be working on in your planner, so you’d know what is your non-negotiable for the day.
This approach goes for anything you do.
It’s not applicable only to your job duties, but it can also be used for household tasks, your commitments to other family members, or any other obligation you may have.
Is it REALLY important to dust today or can it wait a day or two?
Do you have to search and buy the t-shirt for your kid/spouse/yourself this very day or not?
Would the world end if you decide not to cook for one day?
(well, what do you know! It won’t!)
As you can see, this is also one way how you can cut down your to-do list (massively), while making sure you’re still doing the right things.
The result – the most meaningful work done without sacrificing free time.
So, remember this question and let it be your guide – if you could do only one thing in a day, what would it be?
Time-gaining strategy #2 – Simplify
Yes, my friend.
If you’re planning to be a superhero and have the time to do some pretty epic things, you first must learn how to simplify.
Life can be complicated – but only if we let it.
The alternative is easy – simplify whatever and wherever you can.
And no, don’t confuse simplifying with being sloppy.
(because it’s not the same!)
Instead of keeping extensive, time-consuming workflows, find a way to simplify them while still maintaining the end result on the same level.
(or at least as close to it as it can be)
Remove some step in the process, or replace it with an easier option.
Is it really necessary to think about one sentence in this blog post for 15 minutes until I make it “perfect”?
(I am aware this will never win a Nobel prize for literature, plus – does perfection even exist? So why should I waste any more time than necessary?)
Should you really prepare a meal for 2-3 hours each day?
(note I’ve said A meal)
Find recipes for fast preparing meals instead.
Use a crockpot or an oven more often…
Keep all such things in mind when making a meal plan.
(to tell you the truth, I’m so NOT the person to go to when it comes to anything about food. I don’t know why, but the kitchen and I are in a quiet dispute since… forever! However, I hope this example served its purpose and you do get my point. 😉 )
Some carpets can be vacuumed easier and faster than others. While having no carpet at all makes vacuuming a piece of cake!
(can’t wait for my kids to grow up and stop sitting and playing on the floor. I’ll get rid of every carpet I have without a second thought then! 😀 )
So think about ways how you can simplify your everyday tasks.
Not only you’ll get the job done easier, but you’ll also get more free time at your disposal.
Time-gaining strategy #3 – Delegate/engage others
You are not obligated to do everything by yourself.
Now repeat it, but change the pronoun:
“I am not obligated to do everything by myself.”
Keep repeating this to yourself until you DO something about it. 🙂
And what can you do about it?
Start with your nearest surroundings.
Ok, not every task can be given to anybody.
It would be hilarious to ask your toddler to take some images of your product for its promotional campaign.
(right? or you have one incredible toddler by your side…)
But you can teach your toddler to be as independent as possible, so you don’t have to be interrupted from the work you do, to – let’s say – dress him/her up or feed him/her.
(those little interruptions can be real productivity-killers because after each one you lose some time to refocus and pick up where you left off)
There are plenty of household tasks which you can delegate to members of your family.
(and free up your time as a result of it)
Even if you’re living alone, you can get help with household chores by paying someone to do them for you.
(if not on a regular basis then at least from time to time)
This can also be applied to your job duties – the ones which don’t rely exclusively on you.
If nobody in your surroundings is capable (or willing) to lift some weight off your shoulders, you can outsource a wide variety of tasks through sites such as Freelancer (if you sign up through this link you’ll receive 20$ on opening your new account and verifying your payment method on their site), Upwork or Fiverr.
For example, some website owners don’t have the time, skills, or just don’t want to create Pinterest graphics by themselves.
On the other hand – I love and enjoy doing it, and that’s why I’m offering custom Pinterest graphics as a service.
And – pow, bam!
That’s another way how you can instantly gain some free time for yourself!
Time-gaining strategy #4 – Organize recurring tasks
Do you know what activities take the most of your time?
I’ll tell you even without knowing your job, duties, or schedule.
(no, I’m not clairvoyant – although it probably would be an interesting capability to have 😉 – I just gave this matter a good thought )
Those tasks which repeat themselves on a daily level (or are pretty close to it) are those who take the most time in our lives – even though they might not take as much to get them done.
This might sound counterintuitive but think about it.
If you’re faced with a long task ahead of you, but it’s the one which you’ll do now and maybe never again in your entire life (or once in every couple of years), even though it will take you quite some time to accomplish it, in the long run, you’re not losing much time on it.
On the other hand, regular daily tasks – even though they might seem insignificant and quick to finish – do add up.
In the end, they turn out to be way more time-consuming than the tasks mentioned above.
Therefore, make a list of tasks which you do on a daily level, and then think of the ways how you can organize them better to free up your time.
If every day you create content for social media and then publish it on the spot, consider dedicating one day in a month only for social media content creation which will go live in the next month (or even in months ahead).
(with so many of them out there, you’ll have to spend some time in the beginning to check them out and decide which one works for you the best. However, once you pick your favorite, it will make your social media life so much easier.)
Or use what’s already at your disposal – like an option to schedule a post directly on the Facebook platform or use Tweetdeck for Twitter.
On the other hand, when I think about recurring work, in my mind, it’s almost a synonym for household tasks.
(such as everything involving mealtime, or keeping up with children’s homework)
So, for instance, if every day you’re going grocery shopping, you can organize yourself to do it once or twice a week and save some time that way.
(unless you’re walking all the way to the store and back and are using this household task as a 2-in-1 option to get some exercise as well. Yeah, you could say you’re multitasking this way)
Since grocery shopping will not be as frequent on your agenda (at least not in this example – whether you’ll actually apply this in your life is totally up to you 🙂 ), it is important not to forget what you need to buy.
Therefore, it’s the best to create a weekly -or monthly- meal plan which will help your shopping list to be so much easier and faster to make.
(without forgetting something along the way)
It will also save you from buying the items you don’t need and will, therefore, save you some money as well.
The bottom line – find out what tasks you’re doing every day and develop ways how you can organize yourself to accomplish them more effectively.
What are your strategies to get more free time in a day?
Do you have some favorite tool or tip you’d like to share with the world?
(please, do enlighten all readers! any and all tips on this matter are more than welcome! 🙂 )
Cheers to freeing up time for the fun side of life! 😉