Everyday Inspiration, Living the Lessons

10 Simple Ways to Steal Back Time

Sneaky cutbacks are happening everywhere.  Your potato chip bag has gotten a little smaller…a few ounces less in your laundry detergent…it seems everything is getting smaller in tiny increments.  I’m not sure how they pulled it off, but I am certain that my days have been shaved of a few hours.   So finding time to exercise seems even more difficult.  Although I may never be able to prove the days are shrinking, I am fighting back this week by finding ways to capture extra time in my life.  Time I can use to exercise…eliminating all of my well-crafted excuses.

Here are 10 simple ways to steal a little time back from your to-do list and time thieves:

  • Take 15.  Each day set aside 15 minutes for yourself.   In that time, call or write a letter to one of your friends or loved ones that you seem to never have time for.  They matter.  Don’t forget to show them.
  • Just say “no”.  When working on a task and someone asks you to do something for them, just say NO.  Of course I don’t advise doing this with your boss or mother, but all the others need to fend for themselves.  You will be a lot happier if you take on one task at a time.
  • Don’t play favorites. If you only work on the things you like at first, you will be left with a miserable list that you never want to tackle. Instead, do one thing you like on the list and then choose one thing you don’t like next. By balancing them, your days have a better chance of ending on a positive note.
  • Leave work on time.  Instead of hanging around for 20 minutes organizing your desk and preparing for your next day, take that time for yourself and spend it any way you want to.  Starbucks, a hot bath, working out, reading, taking your dogs on a walk, sleep…whatever you want to do with that extra 100 minutes!
  • Let go.  We all have limitations and sometimes we just have to admit we can’t do it and be happy.  So…find a task on your list and give it away to someone else.  If you have money, it is easy to hire an assistant or a tutor for the kids, but not everyone can fit that into their budget.  Instead try bartering your skills for theirs.  For example, if you are a web designer offer to set up and maintain a website for a local lawn mowing business.  They get exposure, you get weekends free from yard work.
  • You have to want it.  If you want to make time for yourself, do it!  Carve out time from your day and fill it with the most important person…YOU.  By not respecting your time, you teach others to do the same.
  • Reality check.  When you make out you action items for the day or schedule appointments, be sure to be realistic.  Loading yourself down and taking back-to-back meetings leaves you drained and running all the time.  Instead, give yourself enough time.  This allows you to complete each task successful and ensures you will make each appointment on time and focused.
  • Don’t obsess. When something isn’t working and you have tried everything, it may be time to stop. Take a deep breath, step back and reassess the situation. If you can, find another solution that works instead of obsessing over it for days.
  • Get organized.  Every day people waste time searching for documents, shoes, a book, a box of cereal, etc.  Stop wasting your time and choose an area each week to get organized.  (Peter Walsh had some great ideas- Check out our recaps of his show)  PLUS, you will find yourself a lot less frustrated when you can reach over and grab exactly what you need in minutes.
  • Find the gratitude and lose the attitude.  I can’t tell you how many times I have sat next to a co-worker who spent their time complaining about the job they were being paid to do.  All of us have a to-do list.  You can either work it with an attitude and be miserable or tackle it with gratitude and enjoy life.  By doing this, you will see that you are far more productive!  It is your choice.

Sometimes it just takes a moment to be able to reprioritize and find time to make yourself stronger.   Hopefully these tips will help all of you take a little time back from time thieves.  If you still can’t seem to find the moments, there is one more thing you can do….chart your time for the next week and then look back to see where you start to make some adjustments.   Sometimes you have to step back to see the big picture.  Good luck and get moving!

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