Gain Back Your Hour

save-time-with-online-meetingsDaylight Savings Time occurred over the weekend and I have to admit, I feel a bit robbed. Like a precious hour of my time was snatched without my say-so. It’s as though someone tapped me on the shoulder, warned me that someone was coming to steal money out of my account, and then acted as though I was supposed to be ok with it simply because I had been warned.

My saving grace is the reminder that time is relative. The passage of it changes based on circumstances, meaning it can either fly by or virtually stand still. When you get right down to it, the time on the clock is pretty irrelevant *I murmured to myself while rocking back and forth in my bed this morning*. The time we actually exist in is all mental and controllable. It is managed by you, and once you realize this, you can start to expand upon the hours in any given day. Try these:

Plan Ahead

How much of your time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations, or actions on a daily basis? If an activity is deemed important to your overall success, time should be designated for it. To-do lists work but they can quickly get out of hard and grow to be quite unmanageable. Use your calendar to schedule appointments with yourself and block out time for high-priority brainstorming, actions, etc. Be disciplined in this routine.

Utilize The Wait

If you go anywhere where there’s wait time (doctor’s office, mechanic, the DMV, etc.), bring along your laptop or utilize your smartphone. Catch up on missed emails, work assignments, or even pay bills. The point is, don’t let time get gobbled up without getting something accomplished, whether it be personal or professional.

Take 5 Minutes

Prior to a meeting or business call, take 5 minutes to narrow down what needs to be said and what result(s) you want to achieve. Concentrating on a goal can keep the meeting focused, efficient, and save a lot of time.

Ignore the Noise

The ringing of phones, the beeps and dings of email messages, text messages, meeting invites, and Skype calls – they are never ending. However, there is no need to jump at every noise. Practice ignoring calls and emails for periods of time while you finish out important tasks. It’s ok to be heads down on projects. Instead of constantly getting sidetracked, try scheduling a time to answer emails and phone calls; say 8am, 11am, 2pm, and 4pm. That way people get a response in a timely manner but things have still been fully accomplished on your end in the interim.

Adjust Your Schedule

Instead of working all day and staying up late to get some much needed personal time in, try adjusting to being a morning person. Get up at 5am instead of 7am and exercise, read, and make breakfast before getting into your morning routine. Starting your day in a productive and relaxed space can go a long way.