6 Ways to Add an Extra Hour to Your Day

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(Photo: iStock)

Time management is a growing issue in almost everyone’s life as there’s just never enough hours in the day to tend to all our tasks. Considering there are no such things as 25-hour clocks or even eight days in a week, productivity is hard to achieve consistently enough to get it all done.

While the 24-hour workday is here to stay, we can all benefit from dynamic habits that could help streamline our daily processes more effectively. It might seem hard to imagine, but there are actual ways to create the life you want with the hours you have available. It just takes some skill and attention!

Start the pre-planning process.
A lot of us wait until the morning to figure out what we’re going to do for the day, but if you end up waiting until the day of to make plans, the day will not go in your favor at all. In her book, Time Management from the Inside Out, New York Times best-selling author, Julie Morgenstern says that if you don’t plan ahead, you don’t create much distance to make real decisions during the day.

Plan and review your schedule the night before to give yourself a head start on implementing strategies rather than improvising. Work on lunches and dinner the night before, along with choosing what to wear to work — that way don’t waste time making such decisions come morning.

Keep a track of your day.
While dream and vision boards are great helps to planning your life, look into organizers or apps that can remind you stay on track throughout the day. Not only can this help in setting up your day, but by writing down what you think the day might be like, you leave room for things that naturally happen. To truly find where you can gain an extra hour, keep a record of everything you do from the time you wake up until you go to bed just to see where certain hours need improvement. These visual representations can help us prevent the minutes from sliding away.

Create online limits.
Let’s talk distractions. With devices and browsers constantly notifying us with news, we can’t help but be pulled away from important work to read about something that matters to us or simply spiral down a world of delicious Pinterest recipes. The next thing you know, you lose half an hour doing nothing. It’s important to set online limits for yourself because social media is one of the biggest time guzzlers ever.

When we login, it’s usually because we’re bored or feeling overwhelmed by certain tasks. Do yourself a favor and log out of all your networks, use the incognito browser on Chrome, or disconnect from the internet. Be attentive and deliberate when setting limits because these things can steal energy, concentration, and brainpower.

Check your emails later.
There’s a saying that states a full inbox denotes a busy, hard-working person or someone truly loved. While that might be the case for many of us, checking emails takes time away from what's most important to us. Instead of focusing on our responsibilities, we choose to look at what others require from us — and this is distracting. When we check emails first thing in the morning, we strain our minds with the needs of others, which can divert us from our to-do lists. Begin your day with you in control, not the other way around.

Do not overovercommit.
We’re the type of Womanista who loves helping others, but it’s important to stop overcommitting to things we really don’t have time for. Sure, it’s hard to say “No” to certain work or social events, but come up with a smart exit line that respects your time and theirs. Whether it's "I'd love to but have to check my schedule" or "I'd love to help out, but my schedule is full at the moment," this empowers the situation and presents your own respect for time and others.

Plan “me” time.
Between all this planning and searching for an extra hour, it can be hard to designate a little “me” time. Don’t ever leave yourself out of the plan. “Me” time should be the first thing you schedule because it’s all about your energy. Find out what recharges you and schedule that into your day. If it’s an activity like walking, biking, or even just talking to a friend for a couple of minutes, write it down because whatever positive "me" time gives you fuel, it will help you stay focused for the day.