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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 December 10, 2019

          How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

          How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

          It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

          So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

          1. Find Your Good Reasons

          Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

          You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

          If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

          Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

          Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

          • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
          • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
          • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
          • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

          2. Make It Fun

          When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

          Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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          Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

          They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

          Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

          A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

          • How can I enjoy this task?
          • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
          • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

          As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

          Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

          However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

          3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

          When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

          You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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          That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

          If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

          Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

          My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

          4. Recognize Your Progress

          Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

          We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

          Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

          Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

          For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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          You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

          Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

          For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

          5. Reward Yourself

          This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

          Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

          Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

          For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

          For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

          For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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          Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

          The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

          Mix and Match

          Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

          Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

          Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

          Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

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          Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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