Some people consider unlimited data plans, weekend Netflix
binges or responsibly-sourced bling to be a precious commodity. For me, it is
time. As Charles Darwin once said, “a man who dares to waste one hour of time
has not discovered the value of life.” I was reminded about that recently while
visiting the campus of Cambridge University in the U.K. and spying the
intriguing, somewhat creepy Corpus
Donated to Corpus Christi College by alum Dr. John C Taylor,
the clock face is pure gold and atop it sits a metallic, grasshopper-like creature
called a “chronophage” – i.e., a time-eater, which sounds like the latest villain
in an Avengers movie. The message behind the device is that time passes and we
all die. Upbeat stuff, right? But when the tour guide told us the story, I
felt a positive jolt of awakening, a reminder to get things done now that
mattered the most. So, as I look at finishing a book project that is currently
50% complete while working a full-time job, making time for family and friends
and ensuring self-care is a daily priority, I started brainstorming ideas for claiming
more time. Here are six ways to add more time to your day:
Ahead. Each Sunday, I plan the work
week ahead, think about what I’ll need from the grocery store and tackle
household chores to ensure my productivity remains strong. I pick out my
workout clothes and office attire the night before. Most nights before leaving
work, I make a priority list of what to tackle first the next morning. These
proactive steps let me jump right in and make the most of the day ahead.
Wellness a Priority. Healthy
habits like exercise and eating better help improve your mental clarity, reduce
stress and jumpstart your effectiveness. Embracing wellness as your daily norm helps
you thrive and make the most of every minute. When you are operating on all cylinders,
the need for time-wasting activities (sorry, adorable cat and baby goat videos)
dissipates as you savor that clarity and general sense of well-being.
- Start saying
no. As brilliantly covered in this article by author and habits expert
James Clear, the ultimate productivity hack is saying no. After spending most
of my life trying to please others, I realized a year ago that my book project, which focuses on helping
people get unstuck and unleash their inner rock star, was my top personal priority
– and I needed to put a bubble around it to ensure that other, less-important opportunities
don’t take time away from it. That has meant turning down opportunities to serve
as a Board member for an amazing non-profit, decline a nomination for a prestigious
leadership program and scaling back on my social calendar. And while hard to do
at first, saying no now feels like I’m saying yes to myself.
decision fatigue. Worrying about a lot of little decisions depletes your
will power, causing decision fatigue.
Eliminating unimportant daily decisions helps you waste less time. It’s the reason
why Apple CEO Steve Jobs always wore a black turtleneck, jeans and white sneakers
while Martha Stewart has a green juice drink for breakfast every morning. They
saved their mental energy and time for more important tasks, increasing productivity.
- Become an
early riser. I wasn’t a natural morning person, but
chose to become one back in 1992 while building an exercise habit before work. There
are less distractions first thing in the morning – from people, technology or
whatever else might take you off your path. Plus, research
reported in this Harvard Business Review
article shows that people who rise early have been proven to be more
Down. Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Especially when we are wired to
our smart devices 24/7. But slowing
down to focus intently on the task at hand means you’ll do it well right off
the bat, instead of having to revisit it with additional time later.
How do you claim additional time for what matters most?