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10 Bona Fide Hacks To Add More Time To Your Day

Life & Travel

I'm pretty sure we can all agree that one of the worst things someone can do is waste our time. Yet, isn't it ironic that if most of us sat and thought about who wastes our time the most, it would probably be ourselves? (Ouch and amen!)


I don't know about you, but not a week goes by that I'm not either wondering where my 24 hours went or wishing that I could add four more hours to at least one of my days. Usually, it's because I don't plan out my day the day before, or I'm doing stuff that is totally unnecessary.

It's funny how life works and what it will teach you. I say that because the more I'm learning to value myself, the more I'm also learning to value my time. With that, I've discovered a few hacks along the way that have literally given me a couple of hours back.

1. Cook for the Week (on the Weekends)

You've probably told yourself that you're gonna do this and just never did. But trust me—if you cook on the weekends while you're binge-watching one of your favorite shows, not only will it save you time during the week but it's healthier. Just think about it—you won't be wasting money on fattening fast food, which means cooking for the week also saves you money too!

2. Go to Bed (or Wake Up) 30 Minutes Earlier

How is going to bed or waking up earlier gonna save you time? It's all in how you look at it.

If you've been wanting to read a book, going to bed earlier can help you to knock some chapters out. If you've been saying you're gonna run more, getting up earlier means that you can get 20 minutes of cardio in before hopping in the shower.

3. Shower the Night Before

If you're slightly OCD, this tip probably won't work for you. But for everyone else, aside from the fact that showering the night before can save you an extra 15 minutes or so in the morning, did you know that it can be better for your skin and health too?

Not only does showering at night improve your quality of sleep, but cleansing your pores before bedtime can help your skin to rejuvenate itself while you rest. Plus, your pores will be closed by morning, which decreases the chances of getting an infection or catching a cold.

4. Tie Your Sides Down with Shea Butter and a Scarf

Whether you run out of edge control or you simply need a little more reinforcement for the hairstyle you want to rock, dab a little shea butter on your baby hairs, then tie a scarf around your head. Shea butter is one of the most "slept-on" ways to keep your edges laid. It's so good that you won't have to waste 10 extra minutes trying to get your hair under control.

5. Download Waze

Even if you get out of the house 20 minutes earlier on most mornings, that doesn't always mean that you're gonna miss a wreck on the road. If you're trying to impress your boss by not only getting to work on time but getting there earlier, download a traffic navigation app like Waze. You'll get up-to-date info on car accidents, traffic, and weather so that you can bypass all the (potential) drama on the road.

6. Check Your Email (No More Than Three Times a Day)

You're not gonna wanna hear it, but you need to. It's been proven that we spend (or is it waste?) almost three hours a day on email alone.

Listen, whatever is in your inbox, it's going to be there whenever you get around to checking it. You can save a world of time by disciplining yourself to wait until arriving at work before you check it at all. Then only look at it again during lunch and right before leaving in the evening. Unless you're waiting for something work-related that's time-sensitive, of course.

7. Turn Your Notifications Off

Surely you didn't think I was gonna let social media slide. Although I personally don't use it (nope, no social media accounts at all), I know that makes me an enigma. Meanwhile, guess how much time you're (probably) spending/wasting on it? HALF THE DAY (check out article US Adults Now Spend Nearly Half a Day Interacting with Media for reference).

Remember when your mom used to say, "Do you know how much you can get done in the two hours you're sitting in front of the television?" Replace that with "Do you know how much you're not getting done because you're always on someone's Instagram Story?" Just sayin'.

8. Do the Hardest Tasks—First

Procrastination sucks. Mostly because it encourages us to avoid making the most of our time. That said, whatever project you've got that you've been putting off because of all the work that's involved in it? Do yourself a favor and do it first. If you always make it a point (and practice) to do the hardest things before everything else by the time you get to the easy stuff, you'll literally be able to fly right through those tasks—and the rest of your day.

9. Leave Work ON TIME

One of the most challenging things about having a salaried job is you can easily stay at work 2-3 hours after the time you're scheduled to go home. But while you're still sitting at your desk, just think about all the errands you can run or how much of your house you can clean.

Moral to the story—unless you have to be at work past your clock-out time…don't be.

10.  Schedule Your "Electronics" Time

One more thing. Any (reputable) interior designer will tell you that bedrooms are for sex and sleep. If you're not getting much of either, know that it's because you've got your laptop on your bed and your smartphone on your lap.

I'll put it to you this way: That's a surefire way to jack up your quality time with your significant other, your quality of sleep, and a few moments for you to paint your nails. So instead of electronics, just read a book or write in a journal.

I'm willing to bet some good money that if you implemented all or even some of these changes, you would get back a couple of hours of your life, easily. It's a reminder that most of the time, we don't need more time in the day; we simply need to stop wasting the time that we already have.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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