How to Create More Time Each Week (And It’s Easier Than You Think)

I most commonly hear "There isn't enough time in the day..." Despite my best efforts to create a 25 hour day, I think we're stuck with the standard clock. Don't be discouraged! Build these habits, and you'll find an extra 3-4 hours per week!!!

Schedule a grocery delivery service

My friend Matt S. jokingly (and not jokingly) recently advised hiring someone to do everything for you if you want to create more time. Hard to argue with this! While you should be strategic and hire a professional if you have the budget and/or need (ie, an accountant), let’s assume you’re willing to create more time without spending extra money first….with one exception: Scheduling a grocery delivery service. I mention this tip first for a good reason. It’s the easiest to begin today, and you’ll quickly benefit from the time it creates in your schedule. Typically, I spend 15 minutes driving to Trader Joes or Whole Foods, 20-60 minutes shopping, and 15 minutes driving home for a total range of 50-90 minutes each week. That’s nearly 4-6 hours per month spent on the shopping activity (which isn’t a big deal if you enjoy the experience)!

By signing up with Instacart, a grocery delivery service for Whole Foods, Costco, Jewel, and more, you can reduce this amount of time to 40 minutes per month. I save a list of staples that I renew weekly while adding new favorites and recipe ingredients for the week. Also, I can schedule same day delivery at times. Of course, it comes at a cost. An annual membership is $149, and you probably will tip $5 each week. Are you willing to pay $33 per month for at least 4 hours? If so, you may want to rethink your shopping approach (especially if it also saves you money from buying nonessential extras during your trip or eating out when you’re out of groceries).

Minimize repeat offenses

A great deal of our time is lost by the wasted efforts we make daily. Essentially, you’re a repeat offender by hitting snooze again, running to the dryer for 5 consecutive days, and looking for your car keys. What a waste of your valuable time! Here is the list of the most common repeat offenses and how to eliminate the habit:

- Snoozing: Eliminate this time wasting habit and create an average of 20 minutes of REM sleep instead. That’s right…I’m not telling you to get out of bed the first alarm. Stay in bed! You deserve and, probably, need it. On average most people snooze 2-3 times. Unconsciously you have a set time to wake up in your mind and will snooze until you get there. Quit disrupting your REM sleep!!! You plan to stay in bed anyways. Increasing the amount of quality REM sleep will make you more productive and efficient throughout your workday (leaving more time for enjoyment).

- Placing the contents of your pocket anywhere: Place your keys, wallet, phone, and/or purse/workbag in the same spot when returning home…no ifs, ands, or buts! How much time have you wasted in a frantic hurry because you mindlessly placed the contents of your pockets across your home? No further explanation needed.

- Running to your other drawer, the dryer: Only complete full loads of laundry and remove them from the dryer in one trip (quit running back and forth from the dryer for one pair of isn't a drawer). Bonus time saver: Wash all of your clothes in cold water to eliminate multiple small loads. Yes, your clothes will still be clean without warm water.

- Leaving the kitchen cabinet in the dishwasher: How much time do you waste looking for kitchenware every time you need something? Empty the dishwasher when it's complete and eliminate the number of locations you need to look to find your favorite coffee cup from Grandma. Bonus time saver: Place all of your dirty dishes inside after the initial rinse in the sink instead of rinsing the dishes, placing them in the sink, and then eventually placing them in the dishwasher. Cut out the middle man. You’re trying to grasp as much as time as possible!

Create a new storage system

I have wasted too much time in my life searching for things in the abyss of my storage. It should never take more than 5 minutes to find anything I need. With this being said, my storage is organized in the following way: Boxes are divided by 3 access categories-Relics, Annual, and Daily. The relics (keepsakes) are tucked in the back corner while the annual and daily boxes are placed in accessible locations with a clear list of items pasted on the front. Bonus time saver: Paste a map or list of boxes and its contents on the wall as a quick reference. Super bonus time saver: Donate, sell, or throw out anything that you DON’T use. Translation: Don’t save anything that you won’t use in the next month with certainty unless they’re holiday decorations or keepsakes.

Reduce mail

How much time have you spent moving piles of mail to different spots while also looking for specific pieces? Maybe 5 minutes a week? 20 minutes a month? 240 minutes (4 hours) a year? Wait...I forgot the 30 minutes per month you spend organizing a mail pile that really is 75% unnecessary....which is 6 hours per year. Wouldn't you like a 10 hour day this week to do nothing or to binge watch the show Breaking Bad...again. Sign up for ‘Do not mail’ lists and choose paperless statements for your utilities, credit card bills, bank paperwork, and other bills. As soon as you return home, discard the pieces of mail that you don't need and archive the rest. Do not leave any mail out. If you must, place it in a review file in your drawer.

Reduce email

I've been successfully keeping my email inbox around 105 emails since 2012 and you should do the same. If you're like the old me you probably have 3000 emails. Create a new account and make it the forwarding address for your new account. "But Michael, I can just search for what I need in my account with the right keywords...I don't need to delete anything or change accounts." Perhaps. It will still cost you valuable time, though. Whether you type in an email address or a specific topic, you'll still waste energy and time sifting through the new list of emails that pop up. Yes, it takes less time than rifling through your inbox but it is still very inefficient. Instead, decide when you open each and every email to delete, archive, or star it. If you must star it for future correspondence, don't let sit in your inbox for longer than 7 days. Once you respond, either delete or archive it.

Rethink your dirty and clean clothes approach

I'm well aware that most people don't like to organize their clothes. I think there's a great benefit to color coding your hanging clothes but I know you most likely won't do it (even though it reduces decision fatigue and time). Here are a few rules that can eliminate wasted time trying to figure out what's clean and dirty on your floor and also make finding an outfit easier.

- I've already discussed the advantages of placing things in the same spot. No need to rehash. I fully recognize how busy you are, and I know that you don’t have time to organize your drawers and closet. Why not find one designated spot where you can throw your clothes though (instead of scattering them across the room)? The corner of a closet is ideal. Too busy to open your closet door? Than place the hamper in the corner of the bedroom to catch your Michael Jordan shots. Just be sure to do laundry when it fills up.

- Organize your clothes on hangers or in drawers by categories. While most people already apply this to their drawers (ie sock and underwear drawer), their hanging clothes are usually a mess. Since you're taking the time to hang your clothes anyway, why not place them in one of the following distinct sections: pants, skirts, dresses, short sleeve, long sleeve, and suits. How nice would it be to quickly examine your supply of pants all in one section? Certainly, it will be less time than rifling through each and every item on the rack when you’re in a rush.

More random thoughts from busy professionals and parents

- "Routine routine routine. Making weekly meal plans and shopping lists on the weekends, picking and ironing my kids clothes for the week on Sunday. Having a regular breakfast routine: oatmeal on Mondays, pancakes on Saturday, etc." - Amanda M.

- "We use organizers in the boys’ closets and lay clothes out for the entire week, especially socks (ugh, trying to find matching socks before school is the worst) and underwear. We have a huge central calendar, and everyone is assigned a different color. I make double batches of our favorite meals and freeze one for the following week." - Kelly G.

- "It's really all about organization. I have calendar reminders for everything including changing air filters in the AC, oil changes, etc... These small maintenance items will save you a ton of time (and money) down the road." - Dan S.

- "Lunches made the night before, all clothes set out for the morning, everything is written on the home calendar and typed into phone calendars. School Bags gone through minute kids get home, things signed and sent back when you get them." - Gen S.

- "Dry erase calendar for the entire family. Keep in the foyer by the door. Easy to maintain schedules for everyone. Work around others with time." - Joey P.

Photo Credit:
Lifeadvancer .com–Is the key to stress management really controlling the clock?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
How to Create More Time Each Week (And It’s Easier Than You Think)
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