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Time. There’s just never enough. Or is there?

Most of us claim to be time poor, yet we seldomly evaluate our daily routine and schedule to identify opportunities for improvement. After all, that would take time, wouldn’t it?

Entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” It’s true! There are steps we can all take to maximize our efficiency and make time for the things that truly count.

Let’s look at five ways to reclaim our time.

1. Identify Your Time Wasters

Similar to tracking spending when you’re attempting to rein in your budget, keeping a log of how you spend your day can be beneficial in identifying time wasters. You can do it the old school way by tracking time on a piece of paper or download one of the many apps to run on your computer to do the hard work for you. Either way, the results may shock you. The 10 minutes you spend combing through your email may actually be closer to 45 minutes. This will give you a good breakdown of where your time is really spent.

2. Shut It Down

If you are active on social media, the flashing notification light on your smartphone may be sucking you in more often than you think. Social media participation is habitual, especially when it’s so accessible. It’s not always healthy – it can cause psychological issues for some users, including anxiety and depression. Even if your brain is OK with it, you’re probably spending too much time on a daily basis refreshing your Facebook newsfeed. Uninstall your apps and give yourself a few weeks to settle in to a new routine. You’ll be surprised how much time this can free up.

3. Maximize the Gaps

No matter the structure of your day, chances are there is gap time that can be utilized. Maybe you’ve got an hour-long commute, 20-minute breaks between meetings, or you spend every Tuesday night sitting in the dance studio lobby while your kid is in class. These small snippets of time can add up to several hours a day. Too often we spend gap time checking our smartphones, but now that you’ve uninstalled your social apps, consider carrying a book with you at all times. You can easily crush a chapter while waiting to see the doctor. You can also dedicate that time to brainstorming (carry a notepad or use your favorite device) or digesting longer work documents. It may sound crazy, but this time is also good for a quick check-in – use the time to really focus on being present instead of coasting on autopilot.

4. Be Mindful About Meetings

Meetings can be incredibly productive and beneficial, but they can also be a huge time waster as well, especially if they’re not being effectively run. Opt for email or conference calls when possible, and if there is a way to minimize meeting time, seize it. Otherwise, take some tips from the pros. Googlers use countdown clocks in meetings, displayed in a location where everyone in attendance can see. Richard Branson conducts most of his meetings while standing – not only is it better for your health, standing in one spot can get uncomfortable after awhile, reminding everyone they need to wrap things up.

5. Power of Prioritization

Though there is always some time to be maximized in a day, it can come down to choice. Would you rather do Task A or Task B? Knowing when to handle things yourself and knowing when to outsource is invaluable. Knowing when to let something go is also important. Perhaps there is another staff member who could take on more, or you could bring in a third-party company to complete a project. But it’s not just in the workplace. Is there room in your personal budget to hire a housekeeper, freeing up your time to spend with your spouse or dedicate to self care? Sometimes getting a good night’s sleep is more beneficial than folding four loads of laundry.

Most importantly, once you’ve started implementing changes to make the most of your time, don’t fall back on old habits. Don’t be afraid to conduct a time study every few months, especially if your workload or life has seasonal peaks. Keeping on top of your schedule doesn’t have to be a struggle if you’re mindful and you stay on top of it.


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