I remember days gone by when I wished for more hours in my day… no matter how I tried to rearrange things, I just couldn’t find all the hours I needed to get everything done. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and spent, and my kids did not get to see me at my best on many occasions.
These days, my children are grown and I watch around me as more and more people are in the same predicament that I was – and are equally harried and stressed. For them and you, I present “3 Easy ways to create more hours in your day”.
1. Reduce your load…Stop doing things that do not really matter
While you may feel that everything you do during the day from paid work to laundry to helping with homework to driving to soccer practice to …. (100 other things!) are essential for you to do, I disagree. When I recall everything I did for so many people, I realize that they might have seemed essential (especially to me), but I know that there were things I did simply out of a sense of duty. One way to figure out what you can stop doing that does not really matter is to stop doing something and then see if anyone misses it.
For example, I call several friends many times before they return my calls (if they ever do). Once I stopped calling them (which I had done more for myself if the truth be known), some did not call me at all – I discovered that the “friends” do not miss me, and as a result, I can spend my time pursuing relationships that really matter.
For another example, tasks like dusting are one of the “mom” type duties that we often think must be done to avoid what others might think or say (such as a mother-in-law). But if you stop doing dusting or do it only 1/2 as often, the results may not be noticed. Voila! Time saved! Make a list of everything you do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and see if there is anything that is non-essential, immaterial or that you can cut back on the frequency with which you do them. You may be surprised to find out that there are things you do to satisfy your inner critic and no one else really cares. So, stop doing these things!
A friend once told me “You can come over to my house and even write your name in my dust, as long as you don’t date it!” I realized then that the process of dusting was less important than spending time with my children. I stopped dusting so often, and surprise, no one noticed!
2. Outsource what can be done more cheaply by someone else (and help another person in the process!)
Once you have pared down your list in #1., figure out what other things could be better done (from both a financial and emotional standpoint) by someone else. You can outsource and win just like the big corporations!
For example, if mowing the grass is on your list of “must do’s” and it takes you 2 hours to do it weekly, consider that a neighborhood teen may charge as little as $10. a week to mow your grass AND clean up the clippings! Are your two hours worth more than $10. (let alone the sweating and stress it may cause you?) If the answer is yes, do yourself a favor and give the teen a job to mow your lawn – you will both benefit. This single act gives you 2 hours to do something else!
If, however, you love to mow your lawn (I know people who do!), then find other tasks on your list where it might be more efficient to outsource the work to someone who wants and needs the work. You will both benefit and be happier!
3. Accept help when it is offered
Too often those of us who are self-reliant and independent “cut our noses to spite our face” by not accepting help when it is genuinely offered. Our misplaced sense of pride and feelings that we might “owe” someone who helps us – can actually work to our detriment!
When someone offers to aid you with something that would help you stretch your day, accept the help!
As I mentioned in a earlier post (The more you give, the more you … give) – the acts of giving and receiving are not coupled. So, if you feel that you would owe someone when they give to you, think about all the times that you give freely to others. It is about time that you allow others to give back – especially when they are not the same people who have received from you.
These are three easy steps to more hours and more happiness. Best of all, they come at little or no cost (especially when you factor in the price of your own heartbeats and hours you save!) Prioritize your time, follow the steps, and let me know what happens in your life.
Have a great weekend!