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5 Easy Ways To Fit More Into Your Day

5 Easy Ways To Fit More Into Your Day

Our lives are now apparently busier than they have ever been. Surveys suggest that most of us feel under increasing pressure to fit more into our days. This survey even found that people felt too busy to take part in the survey! For some of us, work is the primary culprit. Now that working from home is so easy, employers expect us to work round the clock, and productivity is constantly monitored.

For others, it is social pressures that create a feeling of never getting enough done. Whether it’s physical or academic success, the achievements of those around us make us feel like we should be doing more. Social media platforms like Instagram have undoubtedly made this feeling worse.

Some people’s response to feeling so overwhelmed is to simply try to ignore it. I think a different approach is more rewarding. Instead of simply trying to pretend that the feeling of being over-stretched doesn’t exist, you should try to get more done in the limited time that you have.

That might sound easier said than done, but there are some very simple things you can do to immediately begin to get more out of your time. These things do not focus on one aspect of your life and change it in a dramatic way. Instead, they affect lots of different aspects of your life in a small way. On their own, the time saving will be moderate, when implemented together, they could save you hours of time every single day.

Listed below are 5 easy ways to fit more into your day.

1. Teach Yourself To Learn Faster

No, I am not telling you to avoid going to school. What I am talking about is a learning technique that is as old as recorded sound. But it is one which very few people actually seem to employ. I am referring of course to the practice of recording yourself speaking about a certain topic, and playing it back to yourself as you go about your day.

For example, imagine you are learning Japanese and you want to use this technique to learn faster. You would not doubt be listening to lessons, writing down phrases and sentences, and speaking along with prompts from the teacher.

learning efficiency

    You would then prepare a mock interaction using the new grammar structure or vocab you have learned that day. You would record yourself speaking this interaction out loud, save it as an MP3, and then store it on your iPod. You would then listen to it while you are doing something that doesn’t require a great deal of concentration, be it walking to work, waiting for a train, making dinner, shopping, or cleaning your house.

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    As your collection of self-spoken lessons grows, you would cycle through them in chronological order, over and over again, as you go about your mundane tasks.

    This does two things. First, it forces you to speak both sides of a conversation on a regular basis. Speaking is the most important part of learning a new language. Not getting enough practice speaking is why so many people struggle to get their language learning off the ground.

    Secondly, as you listen to yourself speak, you will be more inclined to listen to the words being spoken than you would if it was a podcast recorded by a stranger. Whether you are really paying attention or not, you will be listening to what is being said, refreshing your brain of conversations you first recorded weeks ago, thus solidifying them in memory.

    Some people even go as far as to play recordings of themselves speaking as they sleep. While I have my doubts about this method of learning, I believe that you should try to fit this method in however you can. Be careful though; not getting enough sleep will hurt your learning more than this technique will help it!

    2. Divide Your Time Into Chunks

    Many of you may not have heard of the ‘Pomodoro Technique’ before now, but it isn’t anything new. Successful people have been using it in various forms for a long time. Those of you who are easily distracted will find this trick particularly helpful. The technique is ludicrously simple but devastatingly effective.

    fit more into your day pomodoro technique

      Basically, you choose a unit of time to be your ‘working block’; 25 minutes is a standard starting point. You then set a timer for that amount of time, and work solidly until the timer runs out. You then take a short break, say 5 minutes, before starting the next cycle. After a designated number of cycles (usually around 3), you take a longer break.

      The beauty of timed working like this is that you eliminate the temptation to check your emails, make a cup of coffee, or talk to your colleagues. You know that you have a five minute break coming up, so it’s much easier to work solidly until then.

      This is more important now than it ever has been. Pretty much everybody now has the internet at their fingertips. It is so easy to take a quick 30 second break from work to check Facebook or Tinder. These 30 second breaks often grow into 30 minute hiatuses from work, so it’s important to minimize them.

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      The best thing about the Pomodoro Technique in my opinion is that you no longer measure work in the amount of time spent at the office or sat at your computer. Instead, you measure your productivity in the amount of time spent actually working. I have found this breeds an element of competitiveness. If you have a friend who also uses a timed working technique, you will naturally try to fit more Pomodoro blocks into your day than them.

      This also leaves you to actually enjoy your time spent not working without feeling guilty about not working. Few of us actually enjoy procrastination. We spend that time worrying about the work we have to do. When using the Pomodoro Technique, you can relax during your breaks, because you know that you are not actually supposed to be working during that time.

      Give the Pomodoro Technique a try yourself today and you will see just how much of a difference it makes.

      3. Banish Time-Consuming Cardio With HIIT

      How long do you spend each week in the gym trying to stay trim? If your main reason for spending hours every week pounding the pavements is to keep body fat at bay, then you could achieve the same results in a fraction of the time by employing high intensity interval training.

      High intensity interval training (HIIT) is where you alternate between a slow to moderate jog and bursts of all-out sprinting. A common tempo is 30 seconds of sprinting, followed by 2 minutes rest. This is repeated for how ever many iterations are desired, with four being pretty standard.

      You can play around with the time scales, but this would be a good place to start. As you get used to doing four 30 second sprints, you can either extend the number of cycles, extend the amount of time you need to sprint for, or reduce rest times.

      HIIT more efficient than jogging time spent training

        Studies have found that HIIT is significantly more effective at burning body fat than steady state cardio. Other studies have found that HIIT gets you in much better physical condition than jogging at a steady pace. Anyone who has done HIIT for a number of months will tell you that their fitness is far above what it was when they jogged almost every day.

        So, not only can you potentially save hours each week, but you can actually achieve better results! Since HIIT shreds body fat faster than steady state cardio, and since it seems to get you in much better condition than just running, you probably don’t need to do HIIT as often as you would normally jog.

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        Furthermore, your body probably won’t be able to take high intensity training as often as it can handle jogging; you will naturally need to take some days off, which translates to even more time saved each week. You can’t ask for much more than that, can you?

        Try swapping your daily jog with a 10 minute HIIT session three times per week and see how your body responds. In the vast majority of cases, time savings will be felt immediately, and changes in how your body looks might start to become apparent in as little as a few weeks.

        4. Tailor Your Diet To Your Goals

        I don’t need to tell you about the impact your diet can have on your day to day life. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to enhance physical or mental performance: your diet essentially sets the limits of what you are capable of. I am not overstating things here. By tweaking your diet in seemingly small but very precise ways, you can supercharge your performance at work, in the gym, at home studying, and even in your social life.

        Eggs source choline cognitive performance enhance focus

          For example, say you are looking to cut down the amount of time you spend studying. Instead of just studying for less time and letting your results suffer, you can try to sharpen your focus and get more done in the same amount of time. One way to do this is to optimize your diet for cognitive performance. Common tactics include consuming more oily fish for the DHA content, more eggs for the choline (a prerequisite for the formation of key neurotransmitters), and keeping carbohydrates low.

          If you are spending longer and longer in the gym trying to get rid of lingering body fat, then a subtle change to your diet could make a world of difference, allowing you to spend much less time in the gym.

          You can find plenty of professional, fat loss orientated diet plans out there. You will also be able to find plenty of information on particular substances and how they can help you speed up fat loss. By introducing things as simple as green tea and chili peppers, you could shave days off your fat loss timetable.

          These changes wont make a massive difference in the short term, of course. The instant benefits may be imperceptible, but over the course of a career, their cumulative effect can be profound.

          5. Cut Down Cooking Time With Intermittent Fasting

          Few things can make as big of an impact on your daily routine, and on your life, as intermittent fasting. You may not think of cooking and eating as being huge drains on your time.

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          Lots of you will really enjoy cooking, and will balk at the idea of cutting down on one of the things you enjoy most. If you lead a stressful life, cooking is without doubt a very effective way to unwind. But if you are desperate to fit more into your already very full day, then intermittent fasting could be for you.

          Put simply, intermittent fasting is when you only consume food during a specified eating ‘window’. Some people use an eight hour window, others simply consume one meal per day – it depends on the individual and their experience using such techniques. In any case, once the eating window is over, you only consume zero to low-calorie drinks: water, green tea, black coffee, and so on.

          I need to make this very clear: intermittent fasting is NOT a diet. You should aim to consume roughly the same amount of calories as you normally would. Intermittent fasting isn’t about how much you eat, it’s about when you eat it. No particular food group is banned, and you aren’t expected to cut back on any of the foods that you love.

          All you are required to do is restrict calorie intake to a narrower window than you are used to. This helps you fit more into your day in two ways. First, the obvious: you spend less time shopping for, cooking, and eating food. Secondly, some of the supposed health benefits of intermittent fasting help you make other areas of your life more efficient.

          For instance, it is well known in the fitness world that intermittent fasting can significantly accelerate fat loss. This means spending less time in the gym or out pounding the pavements.

          Intermittent fasting can also help improve sleep quality, meaning that you get much more out of fewer hours in bed. Basically, by not eating for hours before going to bed, you let your body’s normal growth hormone release cycle take action. This leads to a deeper sleep, as well as enhanced fat loss and muscle recovery. I have heard countless people saying that they wish they didn’t have to sleep so much; intermittent fasting can help you achieve that.

          Intermittent fasting is also known to help enhance cognitive performance. Many experts in this field think that periodic fasting can work wonders for your focus and attention span. While research is on-going, this is just another reason to give intermittent fasting a try.

          Fit More Into Your Day Today!

          This article is not supposed to be a definitive answer to the question of how to fit more into your day. If you do want to fit more into your day, then the best way to go about it is not, in my opinion, to take drastic measures.

          You shouldn’t completely ditch one portion of your life to free up room for another. If something makes you happy, you should still try to make room for it, whether it’s sports, studying, or spending time with friends. The healthiest way to fit more into your day is to make small, almost imperceptible changes to the various parts of your life in order to make them more efficient and less time consuming.

          The techniques I have presented here are things you can introduce today. On their own, each one might only make a small difference to how much you are able to get out of each day. But if you make changes across the board, you will find that you are able to get more and more out of your waking hours, which will either make you more productive or free up spare time for friends and family.

          Either way, don’t put it off or dismiss it as not important. Your time is the most valuable thing you have. Start getting the most out of it today!

          More by this author

          Eric Jackson

          Self-employed

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          Last Updated on September 18, 2020

          How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

          How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

          Time is a great leveler isn’t it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Even if you’re self-assured, the day may never feel quite long enough.

          Why is it that some people can be so much more productive and achieve so much more in a typical day, while others struggle to achieve anything apart from feeling time crunched and overwhelmed?

          Everyone I know and work with wants to make the best use of their time. They want to learn how to be more self-assured, happier, and work less—all while growing in their career.

          How effectively we use our time—and how we actually work in our business—can make a huge difference to the amount we accomplish in a day or week. It can also make us more focused and more confident.

          Do you want to have more thinking and creative time? Do you want to spend more time working on your business rather than working at or in your business? In this article, we’ll show you how.

          Get More Done by Gaining Confidence

          What if you had a strategy for making the best use of your time that brings you more joy and allows you to focus on the biggest activities and opportunities in your business? You may find the following outline below to be helpful:

          1. Create an Exciting Vision

          If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?

          You want to be more productive and spend more time getting the right stuff done. Well, you need to create a compelling and exciting vision of your future.

          What does this future look like? How will you feel when you get there?

          Creating a new vision, especially one that is a lot bigger than where you are right now, has a way of igniting your passion. It may be something that feels hard to achieve, but every step you take towards that bigger vision will certainly build your confidence.

          Create a vision board to feel more self-assured.

            Commitment to this vision, and accomplishing continual daily progress depends on your ability to look at any situation you’re faced with or currently in, feel self-assured, and see something bigger ahead.

            Also, when you know where you’re headed, you will instinctively start to see all the new opportunities and connections that will get you there.

            Make a vision map to get you started on the path to better productivity. This doesn’t have to be fully actualized, but you should know at least what direction you are heading.

            2. Build a Strategic Plan

            Once you have your future vision mapped out, the next step is to build a strategic plan to get you there.

            Your future vision may be for 3 years or 5 years, or you may choose a longer time frame. Any timeframe over 3 years may feel like a long way away.

            You may wonder how you are ever going to feel confident and motivated on this bigger future years from now when you feel as though you have so much to accomplish today.

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            The first step is to decide on some specific goals for the next 12 months. Don’t list too many or you may begin to feel overwhelmed.

            The magic number for me and my clients is usually five annual goals.

            These are big goals that will create massive change in your business and life and bridge your current situation to your bigger future; accomplishing these goals one by one will help to increase your confidence on a daily basis.

            3. Get on Goal Planning

            Get yourself a piece of blank paper and a pen and divide the paper into 4 columns: A, B, C, and D.

            Ask yourself the question: What is great in my business and life right now? Write these things down in Column A. This might be a couple of things, five things, ten things, whatever feels right to you.

            Then ask yourself: What things are happening right now that I don’t want in my future? Write these things down in Column B.

            This is your opportunity to take a step back and look at the things that are simply not working. You may list people that are bringing you down or projects that you don’t want to work on any more. Maybe you’ll include a service offering that’s going nowhere. It could be the people you’re working with, or it could be your pricing.

            Now, let’s look at your personal strengths. Write down everything that you’re great at in Column C.

            These could be things that you’re doing right now and having success with. It could also be things you know you’re awesome at but you’re not spending enough time on.

            Column D is for your biggest opportunities. Is there a new service/product you could offer your ideal customers? Is there a new innovation you could bring to market? Just take some time out and really think and list these things in Column D.

            Once you’ve analyzed everything you’ve written down, take some time to really think about what goals you want to set for your business and life in the next 12 months.

            4. Set Outcomes to Build Confidence

            You now have your goals, and you’ll feel self-assured and raring to go. They are written down and you’re committed to achieving them. You feel self-assured and motivated.

            But how do you ensure that you stay on the correct course to achieve these goals?

            Managing and juggling day-to-day projects can get in the way. Dealing with problems can get in the way. Staying on top of orders, managing cash flow, and handling day-to-day stuff can move your ship off course.

            You want to be productive and achieve your goals, but you also need to ensure the day and week runs smoothly.

            One way to ensure this happens is to set 90 Day Outcome Goals; within those Outcome Goals, put some specific process goals that need to be undertaken.

            Let’s say you want to get 10 more speaking jobs in the next 90 days, and you know that you typically convert 50% of opportunities.

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            Therefore, your process goal needs to be to have 20 conversations in the next 90 Days to deliver the 10 new pieces of work. You will then work out who you can have those conversations with.

            It’s smart to overshoot, so you will more easily hit your target. This is a clear plan to work through because with every win, your confidence will grow.

            5. Completely Commit to Your Success

            If you are not truly committed to achieving your goals, then chances are that you won’t reach them.

            Motivation can only take you so far. It is the intentional commitment[1] and emotional investment in your future success that will move you forward.

            Think back to any time that you really committed to achieving something. There must have been a reason you actually achieved what you set out to achieve. What motivated you?

            Were you fully invested? Why did it matter? Did you have to be really courageous to achieve it?

            How did it feel when you achieved it? What difference did it make?

            When have you felt truly self-assured? When you are committed to something, then you are propelled into action. Your mindset is focused, and your body follows; you want to get it done.

            And, when you do get it done, your confidence goes through the roof. You feel a level of certainty in achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.

            6. Focus on Your Strengths

            To feel self-assured and build up the confidence needed to achieve our biggest goals, we need to focus on our strengths.

            What are you best at? What are your unique skills? You want to spend as much time as you can working in the areas that you’re great at.

            Multiply your strengths. These areas are where you add the biggest value. They often bring you the biggest amount of joy, and you feel more and more confident when you are using your unique skills.

            If you think there is a specific capability you need to learn or be better at, spend more focused time in that area.

            Many of us want to do it all. We want to be good at everything. We want to offer a lot of services. But, in reality, there are some very specific things we are great at; nobody is good at everything!

            Spending more time adding value in the areas where you excel can create breakthrough results and boost confidence.

            7. Embrace the Present

            Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the future or worrying about the past that we forget the present moment[2].

            Are you spending most of your day reacting to things, or have you taken the time to think about what your perfect day looks like?

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            We all have the opportunity to create rather than react, to decide what we do with our day. All of our future success can be created in the present moment if we just take a step back and take action.

            Sometimes, doing it now is more important than doing it perfectly. There are hidden opportunities in every moment. We need to make sure we don’t miss them if we want to feel self-assured.

            8. Calm the Whirlwind

            The day-to-day life in business and life can be hard, which leads us to feel less self-assured.

            Your mind may be full to bursting with all of the things you feel you have to do. The phrase “I don’t have time” has almost become an instant reaction by so many people when new opportunities are presented.

            There is a whirlwind happening inside our minds.

            Appointments, notifications, tasks, phone calls, errands, cash flow, staffing issues, networking, marketing all can clutter up our timeline. The sheer volume of things we feel we should do creates procrastination, stopping us from pursuing the projects and people that matter.

            Many of us feel we have to do everything within our business.

            Rather than simplifying things and doing less, we do more. We work longer, which creates a lack of energy and focus. Because of this, we lose clarity on our biggest opportunities. If you feel this way, take some well-deserved time off.

            Look at where you’re spending your time. How much of your time is being spent moving your ideas forward?

            In the next 90 days, if you could delegate or outsource more daily tasks and spend more time focusing on where you add the biggest value, what difference would it make?

            Calm the whirlwind by slowing down and doing less.

            Focus on areas that you add the biggest amount of value. By doing this, your energy levels will increase, your confidence will grow and you will have more success.

            9. Take More Time off

            This may seem counterintuitive, but taking more time off to recharge and refocus can pay huge dividends.

            If you are constantly fighting fires and caught up in the myriad of different activities that you have to do each day, then how can you move your business forward?

            You may be being pulled in difference directions without any focused time on your biggest projects. If that’s the case, then it’s almost impossible to gain any real momentum in moving your business forward and hitting your goals.

            The best way to get off that treadmill is to take more creative time out of the business.

            Could you realistically take one day off per month to work on your business? If you could, what would you do with this time?

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            Just imagine no distractions, only focused time on the strategic development and growth of your business.

            Every day off per month could have a different focus: New product innovation; Thinking about your biggest clients; Improving operations.

            Add to this a quarterly review to check in with your goals progress, and this could have a dramatic effect on where you spend your valuable time.

            10. Celebrate Wins

            Sometimes you just want to get through the day, right?

            You have so much to do. There are so many things on your task list that you just complete what you can and then start another day. But what would happen if, at the end of each day, you took some time out to look at what you’ve accomplished?

            Celebrating success keeps you motivated and helps you become more self-assured. It is not just another day. It’s a day that included things that should be celebrated.

            If you’re struggling to feel motivated, try celebrating a couple of wins each day.

            Celebrating success combined with the gratitude you have for achieving those wins will boost your confidence and inspire you for the next day.

            11. Give Yourself More Space

            When was the last time you gave yourself time to think?

            Within the hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to give yourself a little bit of space and time to just think[3].

            Imagine giving yourself just an hour a day to just let your mind wander or think about a specific thing.

            If you think about it, we can all free up an hour a day for something without really losing any efficiency or really impacting our business.

            In fact, that hour could be transformational for your business and life.

            A new idea for a product could form, or an idea for adding value to your existing clients could materialize. Perhaps you could do a check in to your ideal future and your goals. You could decide that you want to take your business in a new direction.

            Try this: Just sit alone for an hour with a notebook and let it be your creative thinking time. See what happens.

            Final Thoughts

            Ultimately, being self-assured happens when you have a clear direction.

            This, coupled with having clear goals and working in your unique skill-set, gives you the biggest opportunity to be more productive and get more of the right things done.

            The old mantra that “less is more” is right on the money. By giving yourself more time to work on your goals, you will inevitably increase your confidence; at this point, your ideal future can be anything you want it to be.

            More on How to Be Self-Assured

            Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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