Have you ever felt like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done? That you feel overwhelmed by how much you have to do, and you don’t have enough hands to do it?
You’re not alone.
Time is one of our most precious resources, and it often feels like we never have enough of it. At our most stressed, it feels like time is working against us, and we have to race against it to keep up with life’s demands. But what if we could find ways to maximize our time to reduce the stress that the race ignites?
Prepare Meals Ahead of Time
One constant time consuming activity is cooking. We not only spend time thinking about what we want to eat, but we spend time preparing it, eating it, and cleaning up after it everyday. If you’re low on time and energy, meal planning may be the time saving strategy to bring more relaxation and comfort into your life. Not only does meal prep ensure that the larger quantities of meals can last a few days at a time, but it also lowers the time spent on deciding and preparing meals everyday. Time saving and preparation go hand in hand, so preparing meals ahead of time can help reduce stress and pressure.
Set Recurring Reminders
There are many things for us to remember at any given time. A useful hack to prevent forgetfulness is to set recurring reminders on your phone. Setting recurring reminders can be helpful to pay bills on time, remember to bring an important file to work, or even remind us of an upcoming birthday party. You can also set your reminder to go off a couple days before the actual deadline just in case you can’t get the task done right away. This hack can help avoid moments of panic and stress when we realize we’ve forgotten something important.
Limit Time on Social Media
Scrolling through social media not only takes up valuable time, but it is also a distraction. We’ve all found ourselves scrolling for what feels like five minutes but is actually half an hour. Putting time limits on how much time we spend on our social feeds is a good way to prevent endless scrolling while lowering stress. If you find that you can’t stick to time limits, turning off your phone notifications for a prescribed amount of time may be a better fit for you. For others, deleting your social media apps altogether from your phone might be just what you need to concentrate (to which you can redownload those apps after). Decide what you limit is and which strategy is most effective for you.
Plan Your Schedule a Week at a Time
When we create to-do lists, they sometimes lack defined deadlines and how they will get done. Using a physical planner or google calendar can help prioritize tasks that need to get done each week. One week at a time, we can set goals with deadlines in mind for what we’d like to accomplish that week. Then, we can break down those goals into smaller tasks throughout the week. It can also be helpful to record the time estimated to complete each task, so it not only keeps you on schedule, but it doesn’t overtake the other tasks on that week’s to-do list.
Prepare for Tomorrow’s Activities Tonight
Do you need time to wake up and prepare in the mornings? If so, a time saving hack to give you more time in the mornings is to prepare everything you need to start the day off right the night before. You can prepare your lunch, pack your gym bag, set out your outfit you’ll wear to work, or whatever else you need to start your day off without stress.
Touch it Once
Touch it once is a principle where an actionable task that takes no more than a couple minutes to finish is taken care of immediately. This principle can be particularly helpful for email. When we don’t reply to emails right away, they can be easily forgotten. After a while, our unanswered emails pile up. When we encounter a small task and touch it once, we ensure that we aren’t forgetting the small stuff.
Simplify Your Options
Lots of our time is devoted to making decisions. Even something as simple as what pen to use is a decision we make, and it takes time and consideration to decide. A time saving hack for making decisions is to simplify our options. When we simplify our options, they don’t require as much time and mental energy. Instead of deciding what pen to use, we can narrow down our options by reframing our question to have fewer options. Another way to simplify your options is to declutter your life. Paring down your things means having fewer options to be overwhelmed with.
Time Well Spent
While it always feels like we never have enough time to do everything we want to do, we can accomplish more while feeling less stress and pressure with effective planning and strategizing of our time.
Do what’s right for you and have self-compassion when your time gets eaten up some weeks more than others. We won’t always get it right, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just know that you have the tools and plenty of opportunities to get back on track and in control of your time.
Written by Eleni Zaptses
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