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6 Tips to Get More Time on Your Side

6 Tips to Get More Time on Your Side


    While it’s true that we all have the same amount of time in each day, there are ways we can better use the time we have to make it feel like we have more of it. That’s why others are able to get more out of their day than others.

    But there’s no reason why we all can’t have the appearance of more hours and minutes in our day. It just takes implementing a few simple tips each and every day to see that it happens. Here are 6 tips that you cna use to get more time out of your day – and get more time on your side as a result.

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    1. Check email less

    Email is one of the greatest time sucks that we have coming at us every day of the week. If we treated it more like the mail it was meant to replace (snail mail) and not like a command or an order, we’d be able to save tons of time sticking to the task at hand and not diverting our attention to our inboxes.

    Create a rule for yourself – and everyone that corresponds with you via email – that you are going to limit the amount of times you check email per day. Be ruthless about it. If someone really needs to get a hold of you, there’s always instant messaging or the telephone. Set some standards to live by with your email management and you’ll find you’ll more hours to live with in the end.

    2. Plan the night before

    Take some time the night before – or even at the end of your work day – to map out what you plan to do the next day. Doing this will accomplish two things:

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    • It will remove the mental clutter from your head so you can leave all of your work for the day behind until the following day.
    • It will allow you to come in the next day and know exactly where to start; no more slow starts to the day…just action.

    3. Don’t fight your body clock

    If you’re an early riser, great. If you’re a night owl, that’s fine. Just don’t try to change that unless you absolutely have to for reasons that can’t be avoided.

    Night owls and early risers are equally productive; they just produce the results at different times of the day. For example, I’m writing this piece at nearly midnight, just as my creative juices are beginning to wind down for the night. Other writers may have already gone to bed well before this time and are up at the crack of dawn to tackle their next work. I’ve tried to fight my body clock more times than I’d like to recall – and it isn’t worth the battle. go with the flow on this one – you’ll be better off for it and so will your work.

    4. Eat less and eat well – but eat more frequently

    Breakfast, lunch and dinner are key meals to have every day, but they aren’t enough if you want to keep the energy going. You need to eat a little bit less during those pre-ordained meals and at 2-3 more eating periods during your day.

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    Of course, you need to eat well. Try to limit your sugar and caffeine intake. I have found that a small amount of almonds and some cucumber at the ready always makes for a good snack to keep me going. Don’t sacrifice your health for more time – because doing that will have the opposite effect.

    5. Stay hydrated

    Drink plenty of water. Keep a water bottle nearby and try to drink water that isn’t ice cold – the body has an easier time dealing with it that way.

    Tea is also great if you need a break from the mundane. But remember to limit the caffeine intake – some teas are chock full of the stuff.

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    6. Do the hard work up front

    Get the tough stuff out of the way early on. Whether that’s setting up a system so that you can be more productive or whether it is a task that is going to take more mental and physical energy to complete, do those things off the top.

    Setting up an app like Evernote, Hazel or whatever task manager you choose takes some doing in the beginning, but if you spend the time doing the hard work up front it will pay off in spades over the long haul.

    Conclusion

    These 6 tips may seem simple enough, but they are not so simple to maintain. But if you keep at it and keep your eyes on the prize – which is more time for you to do what you really want – then you’ll find that sticking to them is time well spent.

    (Photo credit: Man Turning Back Clock with Finger via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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