How To Get More Time Out Of Your Day
By the year 2025, 75% of the world’s workforce will be made up of Millennials – those born between early 1980 and early 2000. According to a recent survey, Millennials rank a good work-life balance as their top priority, and we can see why: we find constantly that we have less of our own time, what with work taking up ever more of our lives in our quest to do well in our jobs, a lot of the time to the expense of our social life, relationships and happiness overall. Since having a good work-life balance is such a pressing matter, here are nine ways to loosen up your schedule during the average working day to give yourself more time for you to do what you want to.
1. Get regular sleep
I know it may seem really boring, but a good, regimented night’s sleep can do wonders. This doesn’t mean we should all be tucked up in bed by nine o’clock, but you can party hard Friday and Saturday night, just make sure you are going to bed at a reasonable time Sunday through Thursday, even if it means you are not working late on something. An early start and a good night’s sleep will make you more productive, as we are typically more alert and productive in the mornings, allowing to get through your work at a quicker pace and free up more time.
2. Know how to say ‘no’
Don’t give you or anyone you answer to unrealistic expectations of how much you can get done, and don’t let wanting to deliver on those expectations take over your personal life. It is perfectly fine to refuse work if it means your work is not impacting on your mental health. When you try to do too much, we almost always overstretch ourselves, and what we end up producing is mediocre. If you pace yourself you’ll get through more than if you try to do everything all at once, making you more productive and your life less crowded.
3. Focus just on work
When you are at work, it is very easy to get distracted by social media, or someone contacting you on a personal level. Equally, when you are out of work, messages from colleagues, problems in the office can bleed into your home life, in turn swamping you. Try to keep the two worlds separate in a disciplined way to avoid one taking over the other.
4. Pack your bag the night before
It’s a small thing, but incredible useful to free up more time. Before you go to bed, pack your bag ready to go for the next day. This means in the morning you are in less of a rush to get all the things you need together, and can enjoy having breakfast and preparing for the day at a more leisurely pace.
5. Prepare meals in advance
As well as packing your bag the night before, if you eat packed lunches prepare these in advance so you are not rushing to get it sorted in the morning, or, worse, forgetting altogether and having to get fast food. Furthermore, we all hate getting home knackered from a long day at work and then having to cook. Again, it’s very tempting to resort to an unhealthy ready meal or takeaway in that moment, so rather than cooking daily, prepare the week’s food on a Sunday and freeze the portions so its already there for when you get home.
6. Set a definite end to the working day
Whilst many people purport to work a 9-to-5, on many days this can creep up to being a 9-to-6 or a 9-to-7 and so on depending on your workload. Of course, you won’t be able to stick a definitive end to the day every day, especially when things are hectic, but for a normal working day set yourself a reasonable time to stop working. And, more importantly, keep to it! This will free up precious hours every week.
7. Procrastination is a sin
We can normally do what we do in the average day in a few hours. But, we are not robots and need to take breaks. That said, we have all fallen foul of attempting to work but failing to produce anything, leaving us in a limbo state of feeling as if we are working, but we are simply wasting time. If you feel like your work is encroaching on your personal time, set aside a few hours of intense productivity to get that niggling work out of the way. Attacking your work with a positive mind set can get it done a lot quicker.
8. Take time to be with others
There’s no point to having more time on your hands if you don’t use it wisely. Talking to colleagues face-to-face at work can get things done at a lot speedier pace than waiting for a memo or email to come back. Equally, in your down time meet up with friends and family and have quality, happiness-filled time.
9. Know how to switch off properly
If you leave your work for the evening and you are still thinking about it, you can’t fully enjoy the time you actually have away from it. This won’t save you any more time in the day, but will allow you to appreciate the time you do have. When you close that door or leave that building, imagine that you are closing a mental door or leaving the job in your head.