While 2020 definitely freed up a lot of time on our calendars, it didn’t necessarily help us spend that time better. There are so many simple tweaks you can make to take back an hour (or more) each day in 2021. Pick one or more from the list below!
1. Eliminate Time Wasters
Whether it’s deciding what you’re going to wear that day or what you’re going to eat for breakfast, you can do a little bit of work the night before to get some time back. Lay out your next day’s outfit or prepare your smoothie the night before. You’ll cut down on decision fatigue and have fewer speed bumps in your day.
2. Embrace Routine
No one says you need to dress like Steve Jobs and wear the same thing every day. Just keep in mind that the world’s most successful people have routines: routines help you stay on track and accomplish what’s important to you.
3. Use a Calendar
Think of a calendar as a place to catch everything you need to do. It gives you a lineup of what’s going to happen in a given day as well as a preview of the weeks/months ahead. Pro tip: look over and set up your calendar on Sunday evenings.
4. Don’t Multitask
You may have heard the term “switching costs” before. It refers to the significant loss of efficiency you experience when changing from one type of task to another. Those losses multiply when you multitask. Embrace single-tasking.
5. Consider Time Blocking and Batching
If you understand the problems of switching costs, a way to lean in to single-tasking is to time block or batch. This might mean setting aside a particular time to do emails, go through social media, or do deep work. You’ll make so much more progress if you can leverage your brain’s love of doing the same types of tasks over and over.
6. Have a Set Place for Things
Where’s my keys/dog leash/glasses? If you have a set place where these things go, not only will you have a place to put them whenever you’re done using them, you’ll also have the most likely spot for said items should you misplace them.
7. Do the Big Task(s) First
The reality is that outside of work we probably only have 1-3 “big tasks” we need to accomplish in any given day, but we spend a fair amount of time avoiding them! Jump in and deal with those tasks as early in the day as possible. You’ll feel great once they are handled and you’ll have momentum for the rest of your day.
8. Curb Your Social Media
It’s important to realize that the smart people who help build and maintain these platforms are not paid to help you save your time, but to keep you on their platforms indefinitely. We’ve all been caught doing the infinite scroll. Set time limits to prevent those scroll sessions from running too long.
9. Stop Worrying
The truth is that worrying not only doesn’t accomplish anything, it’s been shown to cause stress than can lead to health problems. That time spent worrying could be so much better spent elsewhere.
10. Block Out Personal Time
The term “pay yourself first” works for personal time too! Remember that all of the things that you deal with on a daily basis ultimately tie back to living your life. Make sure to set aside some personal time for yourself every day. No one else will!
What will you do with your saved time?
This content originally appeared in our Open Calendar Club Newsletter.