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Categories > Mental and Emotional Health > Self-improvement

Short on time? You may have more than you think
Borrowers who practice responsible

Time. If only you had more of it, you could get around to all those things you promised you’d do…well, if only you had more time. Exercise, make nutritious meals, floss—and just get a taste of pressure-free living.

The truth is, you probably have more time than you think. To find out, write down everything you do in a typical day, from preparing coffee, to opening mail, to (and here’s a big one) watching TV. Make note of how you feel, too: irritated, energetic, happy. Repeat the process on a weekend day, too. Then analyze your notes, looking for patterns. Are you devoting high-energy time to low-energy activities? Is the phone a distraction?

Now that you have a better idea about where your time goes, what might you do differently? Here are some tips:

Make the most of your time by…

  • Prioritizing. Jot down the week’s tasks in order of importance. Can any of them be dropped? Can any of them be handled by a family member or a colleague?
  • Using your peak-performance hours to work on a demanding task.
  • Gathering all the resources you need to complete a project before you start it, whether it be baking a cake or balancing your checkbook. And make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to tackle it.
  • Anticipating times when you’ll be kept waiting. Take a book along. Write a letter. Knit. Turn a potentially frustrating situation into a constructive one.
  • Eating balanced meals and getting adequate rest. This will give you the energy you need to operate at your peak.

Build more time by…

  • Delegating effectively. Choose a willing, qualified person, give instructions and then…let go.
  • Turning off the TV. Are you watching three hours of TV a night? That’s 21 hours a week! Enough said.
  • Getting up early. Try setting the alarm an hour early for a few days, and use the time as you wish. Read, exercise, straighten up or get a head start on work. If you decide to make it a permanent habit, go to bed a bit earlier.

Get rid of distractions by…

  • Letting others know that you do not want to be disturbed. Close your door, retreat to your private space or leave, if need be!
  • Limiting your phone conversations. Don’t be rude, of course. Just tell the other party that you’re on deadline and ask when it might be a good time for you to call back. Some people find it helpful to set a timer when they get a call.