I’ve found that, over the years, traditional work schedules have gone by the wayside. Things like weekends off and nine-to-five workdays are a thing of the past. There are times that this flexibility is a blessing, but it does mean that I have to stay on top of both my work and personal schedule. Which is why I’ve started to incorporate more time hacks into my life.
Start introducing time hacks into your own life by first taking a closer look at your daily activities to determine how your time is spent. Consider using a daily activity log to evaluate your current schedule. With a few “off the beaten path” changes I’ve discovered, you too can get that stuffed schedule under control again.
Listed below are a series of time hacks I took to better organize my schedule. You may embrace them all or pick out a couple that resonate with you. Either way, you’ll gain more time in your schedule by incorporating a few of these time hacks into your daily routine.
1. Keep Up That Pandemic Simplicity
Let’s start with something that is easy to overlook: the pandemic brought a certain sense of simplicity to our lives. Don’t get me wrong. The event itself was a horrible thing. But as far as scheduling goes, for a lot of us, life got a bit cleaner.
Social activity was at a minimum, and even things like shopping were done via drop-offs or curbside pickups. Over the course of life in quarantine, I’ve found that, whenever things lighten up, my reaction is to revert to old habits like in-person shopping and relentless social schedules. It’s a tendency that I’m resisting now.
See, it turns out that the simplicity induced by the pandemic is helpful for normal life, too. Work schedules are easier to manage without an added hour or two for commuting. Grocery shopping is a breeze with curbside pick up. I can even “eat out” at a moment’s notice by having Grubhub deliver my food or if I do not want to risk my health by going to a pharmacy and waiting for prescriptions, I can get my medication delivered to my doorstep with  same-day delivery via a company like Medly’s digital pharmacy.
I shared this tip with my grandparents, who are constantly refilling their prescriptions, so that they could stay safe as well. Pandemic or not, maintain those simple lifelines where you can. The time that they save is significant.
2. Create a Master Calendar
Calendars are awesome. They help me keep track of my daily schedule. I remember events that absolutely would have slipped off of my radar if they weren’t there, ensconced on my little calendar app. You can even set up calendar alerts or reminders to help keep you on schedule.
I’ve gone with the mainstream option by utilizing Google’s popular multi-platform calendar. It integrates into so many devices and gadgets. But in reality, any calendar app can do. The point is, if you want your schedule to make any sense, you need a calendar.
But that’s not really a “time hack,” is it? If you want to take your act to the next level, you should go beyond a personal calendar. You need to integrate a “master calendar” for your tribe. Whether that’s a spouse, children, or friends, if you cohabitate with others, get a calendar set up for you all to share. That way, you can include events that impact everyone involved in a central location for all to see.
3. Embrace the Rule of One
Multitasking feels great. But I have some tough love to share with you: that productive feeling is a fallacy. It’s actually more of a time suck rather than a time hack. In fact, one of the best ways to reduce your productivity is to take on too many things at once.
Enter the “Rule of One.”
This is the uncomplicated idea that, in order to remain productive over the long term, you should plan to only accomplish one substantive thing each day. Start the day by picking a single significant thing that you want to check off your list by the end of the day.
By focusing on a single thing for each 24-hour period, you can maintain forward momentum. You can also embrace a genuine sense of productivity as you complete real-world items on a daily basis.
4. Review Your Entertainment …Regularly
When things are crazy, it’s easy to slide into unhealthy entertainment habits. When I finish a long day, all I want to do is binge on a comedy like “The Office” or “Modern Family.” These are great shows with real entertainment value, but when I mindlessly consume them as a bottomless escape from my reality, it doesn’t help matters much.
On the contrary, binging television, gaming at all hours of the night, going out to clubs, eating junk food, or any other entertainment activity can be destructive. The problem isn’t what you’re doing so much as why you’re doing it.
If you want to restore your schedule, consider what you’re getting out of each entertainment activity. Use the Japanese model of simplicity and minimalism as an inspiration to remove time-sucking activities from your life — even technically “fun” ones.
If you’re like me, you’ll find that the entertainment you do continue to engage in has a new level of satisfaction. Oh, and you’ll free up more of your schedule, too.
Letting Go to Regain Control
If there’s one thing that I’ve discovered about scheduling over the years, it’s that a firmer grip never wins out. In fact, getting more intense about a crazy schedule tends to play out a bit like squeezing a bar of soap.
Instead, I’ve learned to look for subtle yet effective ways to make a difference. Incorporating things like simplicity, master calendars, and the Rule of One can have a huge impact on your schedule. It did for me.
Featured photo credit: De an Sun via unsplash.com
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