What could you do with an extra hour a day? A lot. Surprise, you already have an extra hour waiting for you, you just have to refine your daily process and go claim it. Here are six ways to make that hour yours...
Create morning and evening rituals
Rituals are not only soothing for your brain (especially in the morning and evening when you are ramping up or calming down from your day), they save time by allowing you to accomplish a set schedule of tasks quickly and efficiently. Because you do the same tasks everyday, you should refine your process until it's as smooth as possible. Then repeat.
Invest time making a schedule
Making a schedule may seem like a waste of time since you're not actually accomplishing anything besides writing down all your to-dos, but it's actually the opposite. You might not realize how much time you waste simply because you're not accountable to anyone or anything. A schedule will keep you focused and moving forward throughout the day. Simply knowing you have only a finite amount of time to get through an activity will keep you from dawdling.
Bundle types of tasks
It takes time to get ready to do any task, so set up your schedule so that similar tasks are grouped together. Don't jump back and forth between different kinds of activities. For example, if you need to do some online banking, return some emails and research a new mattress, give yourself a bundle of computer time. If you have laundry to do, vacuum and load the dishwasher while you're waiting for your load to finish. Getting in the right mode for each type of task you're doing takes time, so bundling them cuts way down on transition time.
Set a timer to limit your "time sucks"
If you know you lose track of time when you're on Facebook or online shopping, you don't have to banish those activities completely, just be more mindful. Allow yourself a set amount of time and regulate it with an alarm. No longer will you suddenly realize you've accidentally fallen down an hours-long internet spiral.
When you're deep in concentration, an interruption takes up even more time than just the duration of the phone call or delivery. Interruptions also waste all the time that it takes you to get re-focused and back to where you were in your process. Set your phone to silent, ignore the door, and do everything you need to in order to carve out a chunk of quality time to accomplish your task.
Powering through your list isn't the smart way to go. Periodic breaks help you accomplish more, not less. After a break, your body and mind are refocused and ready to keep up a faster, more efficient pace. Sitting at your desk all tired and groggy won't help you move faster, so take a break already! Hint: work breaks into your schedule so you don't forget. No excuses.
The only thing left to do is decide what fun ways you're going to use your extra hour!
How do you scrounge up extra time every day, and what do you do with it?