I read an article the other day from Good Housekeeping magazine that really got me thinking. I get the Good Housekeeping email, and the title of this one was “How to Fit 25 Hours in a Day”. My first thought was – why in the world would you want to? Longer days? No thank you! My days are long enough as it is. When I clicked through to the actual article, the title of the article was “10 Ways to Free Up an Hour of Your Day”. Now that might be a little more useful.
It was, in fact, an article on time management. The tips were from Dorothy Breininger, author of Face Your Stuff or Stuff Your Face. Some of her tips are quite good. The first one was to batch your emails, texts and voice mails. They are a sneaking thief of your time. It’s not the actual responding to them that is the time waster, it’s the constant interruptions. It disrupts your train of thought, and you actually accomplish less. So estimate the number of times you check your devices during the day, and cut it in half. You’ll get more done. And more importantly, you will be more present to those you are with. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, we now have access to our voicemails and emails no matter where we are. Many of us have come to feel we must be constantly checking them, or we might miss something important. We have become slaves to our devices, often missing the really important things like a child’s excitement at seeing a bug climb up a flower because we heard the ding of a text message. If you have set times in your day to check and respond to all your messages, you will feel a lot less stressed in between.
Another good tip was to make a quick decision, and stick with it. Ms. Breininger says that she found people spend from 15 minutes to 2 hours a day second guessing their decisions. Yes, some decisions require careful research and thought, like where to go on vacation or whether to buy a new house. But many of us spend way o much time trying to make decisions on things like what to make for dinner, or whether we really want to go to a party or not. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management identifies indecision or procrastination of a decision as one of the primary reasons for disorganization and poor time management.
A very simple tip was to keep your dishwasher door open with the racks pulled out during dinner. Ask everyone as they clear their plates to put their dishes directly into the dishwasher, rather than piling them in the sink or on the counter. Now, this one I really like. Living in a household of “boys”, the dishes are a constant battle. It is a pet peeve of mine to have dishes piled up on the counter with the dishwasher sitting right there empty. Can no one open the door and check if it has room for more dishes except me? This is definitely something I will try. It would make life much more pleasant.
One tip in the article I simply cannot agree with. It was to set a timer in the bathroom. Limit your time in the shower, and you will have more time for other things. If the true purpose of having more time is to be able to do more of the things that we love to do and make us feel good, then why would we limit something that is so enjoyable? A long, steamy shower with no interruptions could be the key to sanity.
If you followed all the tips in the article you could potentially have an extra hour in your day. Here’s the question: If you had an extra hour every day, what would you do with it? Let me know in the comments!