When you’re running a house, raising a family, kicking ass at work, carving out time for your family and friends, trying to eat healthily and making sure you get some exercise, it can feel a little impossible to find time to work on yourself. But if you’ve got big career ambitions you’re desperate to achieve, the only way to achieve them is to find more time. So, are you ready to achieve your goals more quickly? Here are 8 ways to free up more time each day.
Prioritise your activities to achieve your goals more quickly
It’s human nature to focus on doing the tasks we enjoy or those that are absolute emergencies. Everything else tends to get added to the ‘tomorrow’ pile. However, as the song goes, ‘tomorrow is always a day away’. The best way to make sure you have time to work on the goals that matter to you (and therefore achieve those goals more quickly) is to make a list of the activities you have to do each day and prioritise them according to importance. Spending hours at the pub or shopping may be fun, but is it more important to you than your career goals? No? Then make these activities a lower priority.
Batch essential, but never-ending daily tasks
There’s no escaping the fact that we have to eat, do laundry and clean the house. However, there’s a smart way to do these activities. Move away from the practice of doing these things as they arise, and batch them instead. So, rather than cooking all your meals from scratch every day, you could batch cook three large meals on a Sunday afternoon, split them into individual portions and freeze them, so they are ready to be eaten with little fuss each day.
Limit your social media use
It’s so easy to log onto Facebook or Instagram with the aim of ‘quickly checking in’ and emerge hours later. If you’re prone to mindless scrolling, try apps like Moment or Freedom. They lock you out of your social media accounts for a specified amount of time each day, allowing you to free up the time you need to achieve your goals more quickly.
Another effective way of minimising the time you waste on social media is to simply turn off your notifications and set aside 30 minutes at the start and end of each day to check into your accounts.
At The Ambition Plan, we’re firm believers that when you try and do more than one thing at once, you end up doing everything badly. The end result? You can spend twice as long on a task when you multitask compared to doing it alone. If you always try to do 10 things at once, pay close attention to this habit. When you catch yourself doing multiple tasks at the same time, ask yourself which is most important and then focus fully on finishing that task before moving on to the next.
Do your weekly shop online
Hands up if it takes you at least an hour to do the weekly shop, 20 minutes to get to the shop, 20 minutes to get back and another hour to unpack your shopping and recover from the trauma of dodging the crowds. When you do the maths, you probably waste 3 hours doing the weekly food shop. Claw back this time by doing your shopping online.
Ditch your energy-draining friends
This is a contentious point, but we all have those one-sided friendships: the ones that suck all of your time and energy. And the more you give, the more the friend takes. We’re not saying you need to stop speaking to that friend in entirety (unless you know that’s for the best), but if you are time poor, it’s worth minimising the amount of time you dedicate to that friendship. You’ll also be doing your friend a favour in the long run as (s)he will have to learn to be more self-sufficient when you stop giving so much of your time and attention.
Stop saying yes to everything
If you’re a people pleaser who can’t say no out of a fear of disappointing others or missing out, it’s likely that you’re wasting hours of your precious time on things you don’t want or need to do, each week. But how do you stop saying yes when you’ve done so for so long? Think of it like pulling off a plaster. Get in the habit of saying ‘I’d love to, but not this time’ the second someone asks you to do something you really don’t want to do. Avoid the temptation to justify yourself, apologise or start lying as doing so will pull you into a conversation that leaves you feeling guilty and more likely to say yes.
Tidy your environment
Are you prone to misplacing things? If so, you may spend hours each week searching for things and this is seriously damaging your productivity. While some people have a tendency to lose things regardless of how tidy their surroundings are, most of us misplace our keys, phones, purses etc, when we’re operating in a cluttered space. Set aside a little time at the start of each week to clean up your bedroom, study, office, car or anywhere else you regularly lose your valuables and watch how much time you suddenly free up.
Did we miss any must-try time-saving strategies that help you to achieve your goals more quickly? Share them in the comments below.
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