Where Does the Time Go?

Time & Life Management

Where Does the Time Go?

How to Get It Back

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dear Juli,

I know that there are people who seem to have time to get things done, but that isn’t me. Any ideas you can offer to get even an extra hour a day would be wonderful. – Losing Time Daily

Dear Losing Time Daily,

Of course, to literally gain an hour a day, beyond the 24 we are all allocated, is not really an option (unless you happen to have a time machine). Since it is out of our control to add time, we must instead eliminate wasted time. This way you can essentially find time in your day that was previously frittered away. Here are three realistic tips you can use to reduce wasted time. These can ultimately increase productive time and give you far more than just an extra hour a day!

Plan Ahead.

Planning ahead, by preparing for the following day and writing your task list with top priorities first, has many benefits. Firstly, you will have less stress because if something is missing, needs to be confirmed, written, etc. you have time to do it before an unhappy consequence occurs. Secondly, when you plan in advance, you can schedule tasks in a logical order, thereby increasing your efficiency, shaving many minutes from the time taken to deal with items randomly. Thirdly, you will sleep more soundly. Stress is the leading culprit robbing Americans of sleep, according to the Better Sleep Council, and by planning ahead your stress level is reduced. Better sleep = more ability to concentrate the following day, and less wasted time.

Clear Clutter. That’s right.

The average American (according to a study conducted by a Boston Marketing firm) loses 55 minutes a day looking for things. So if you find yourself having to move multiple things in your search for something, clutter is part of the problem. (See my past three columns on dealing with clutter.) My first solution is to set a time every day to clear an area – just do 20-30 minutes a day and you will be amazed at how fast you can de-clutter.

Reduce computer/tech time.

If you spend many hours online surfing, checking out YouTube, and chatting for hours on Facebook, you are wasting time. Most people don’t even realize the inordinate amount of time they are spending on these activities. Instead of swearing-off recreational Internet activities entirely, set a timer for a reasonable and realistic amount of time, and walk away from your computer when the timer goes off.

For a week or so, monitor how you are spending your time. It is important to know where your time is going in order to determine what needs to be done to get it back.