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.
©Shellie R. Warren/2018
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