We wake up early. We hurry through the day, seldom noticing the rising and setting of the sun. Before we know it, we’re up far too late, and we still have more to do. Our world moves quickly. It can be a challenge to keep up with our lives, much less to enjoy them.
Most days, we find ourselves long on to-do lists and short on time. Meanwhile, our lives are slipping away from us. As Dr. Seuss famously asked, “How did it get so late so soon?”
Thankfully, there are a few clever ways to invest our time that will pay back in much larger quantities.
Take 15 minutes to learn one of the techniques below, and enjoy the hours of time it will save you in the future.
1. Look into Improving Your Average.
Most of us concentrate on improving our peak performance – our fastest running time, greatest number of website hits, or highest video game score. According to Dr. Stan Beecham, we would be wise to shift our focus. Instead, look to ways of improving your average, everyday performance. This change of mindset will help you to make progress much more quickly and effectively. Learn more about how to achieve this mental realignment here.
2. Learn to Use “Time Blocks.”
Minimize distraction by committing to single-tasking important projects. For example, you may block off one hour to write an essay for school, a half hour in which to address a family problem, and another two hour block in which to watch your child’s soccer game. This allows you to stay mindful with your present task. You will be able to write your essay much more effectively when you are not stopping to brainstorm solutions to other issues in your life.
3. Employ this Speed-Reading Trick.
Many of us already use Audiobooks to increase our reading time. They allow us to listen to books in places that don’t usually lend themselves to reading, like during driving or cooking time. Did you know that you can do this much more quickly? Many Audiobook apps have a feature that allows the book to be read at triple speed. It will take your brain a few minutes to adjust, but once it does you will be absorbing new knowledge that much more quickly.
4. The Pomodoro Technique
promises to increase productivity, decrease burnout, and ease work-life balance. It is structured in a way that can improve time management for any person, regardless of task or personality type. The underlying philosophy is that we can harness the power of each minute by working with the clock, rather than against it. This simple system involves the prioritization of tasks, frequent breaks, and the use of manageable 25-minute time blocks. Learn how to use this method by clicking here.
5. Implement a Prioritization System.
Long to-do lists can become overwhelming. This is especially true when everything feels important. For this reason, it can be beneficial to categorize tasks even more specifically. Besides the simple measure of importance, identify long-term versus short-term benefits and relative urgency. You will have a better idea of where to start when you can clearly see the tasks that need to be done now, as opposed to those that can wait for later.
6. Learn to Meditate.
Meditation has proven benefits to the body, mind, and soul. In fact, recent research has demonstrated that meditation changes the physical structure of the brain in a way that preserves its longevity. Meditation does not just improve our quality of life. It actually gives us back more lucid time in our later years. Put together a personal practice that feels relaxing to you and incorporates easily into your day. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.
7. Implement a Personal Planning System.
Sometimes, saving hours from our week is a simple matter of organization. Most of us recognize the value of a good planner or calendar. However, few people use these tools in a way that works for them personally. Don’t buy into somebody else’s organizational system. Instead, find one that feels organic to you. Plan out your day, week, and month in a way that feels natural, and commit to updating your plan as you go. Ensure that your schedule reflects not only your responsibilities, but also your personal priorities. For example, exercise and family time should be represented just like work meetings and dental appointments. Commit five minutes each day to this until it becomes a habit.
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life,” wrote Charles Darwin. Are you using your time to the best of your ability? How would your life change if you took 15 minutes today to adopt one of these habits?