I don’t have the time!

HERE’S HOW TO FIND AN EXTRA HOUR EACH DAY TO read, write, doodle, think, or enjoy your hobby.

This is the single complaint I hear most often. Well, here’s some potential solutions.

Tip: It’s a smorgasbord, so you won’t like them all.

  1. Get up an hour earlier each morning. Or just on one day per week. Try it. There’s a good chance you’ll like it.
  2. Go to bed an hour later. Some people sleep their lives away. Don’t burn the candle at both ends on the same day.
  3. Study a time management book, or take a T/M course. You only need one idea to be ahead. Ask your librarian to suggest a popular book.
  4. Forego lunch. Use that hour to read or study or exercise. Bring a cut lunch.
  5. Prioritize your tasks. Get the difficult ones done early in the day while you’re fresh.
  6. Skip reading the daily newspaper one day. Or TV. And ignore all those sport pages.
  7. Let your spouse attend to the kids’ needs for one day.
  8. Don’t answer the phone at home. Let someone take your telephone messages.
  9. Close your office door. You’ll bypass the ‘drop-in’ interruptions.
  10. Ask yourself: ‘Is my hobby too labour-intensive? Is it sapping my energy for more important things?’
  11. When you go places, walk 25% faster. Make people scamper to keep up. This gives you extra energy because your whole being moves at a faster clip.
  12. Move closer to where you work. Avoid the daily commute. Better still, work at home.
  13. Use your car audio player to listen to talking books on long journeys. In two hours you can enjoy a novel, read by a skilled voice actor.
  14. Keep a bottle of water by your desk, so you don’t need the trip to the canteen.
  15. Instead of writing your reports, letters, dictate them.
  16. Better still, get a secretary to write the letters to your general instruction.
  17. Work 10% faster. Whatever you need to decide, make the decision faster. Don’t worry, you’ll still be right just as often as before.
  18. Delegate more. Shunt those time consuming jobs to someone else.
  19. Skip spending two hours preparing a meal. Go for simpler recipes.
  20. Better still, support your neighbourhood restaurant’s home delivery service.
  21. Convert all your tasks to a system. Be like McDonalds. Train junior staff to follow the systems you’ve installed.
  22. If you have a long journey, hire a driver. Use the journey time to read or study.
  23. Make time to relax. A few moments sharpening your axe means you’ll cut wood faster. Learn to say “No”.
  24. Use the lift. Not as healthy but it’s quicker.
  25. Skip alcohol and drugs. They fuddle your mind so you take longer to do things.
  26. Plan your activities. A few minutes pre-planning will save re-doing your mistakes.
  27. Drink plain water. This lubricates your body and mind better than tea or coffee.
  28. Put football matches on video. Watch them using the fast forward switch. Skip scrums and lineouts and you’ll save 30 minutes per game.
  29. Skip cricket or baseball on TV. Settle for the daily highlights.
  30. Reduce the number of meetings you call or attend. Ask “Do I have to be there?” Settle for the minutes or meeting summary.
  31. Make your diary work for you. Use it as a planning tool, not just a record of where you’ve been.
  32. Hire an assistant. By divesting yourself of the menial tasks, you’ll earn more money by doing what you’re BEST at.
  33. Employ more staff. The same principle applies to all your key people. Make decisions at the lowest possible level.
  34. Streamline your working clothes. Get them ready the night before.
  35. Take a shorter shower.
  36. Don’t waste time cooing and playing with your pets.
  37. Write an email to the relative who wants to chat for hours on the phone.
  38. Stay healthy. Being sick takes too much valuable time.
  39. Take vitamin supplements, especially if you work long hours.
  40. Ask executives to give you their reports ‘on one A4 page’. This forces brevity and saves people compiling or reading the longer version.
  41. Use the electrical gadgets which save your time.
  42. At home, trade your easy but labour-intensive duties, like walking the dog, for short dirty jobs, like cleaning the toilet.
  43. Stick to three meals per day, thus saving afternoon teas etc.
  44. Use couriers to pick up and deliver things you’d have done yourself. Use retailers who deliver.
  45. Employ a housekeeper, gardener, cook, driver.
  46. Employ a researcher to do the prep work on your reports.
  47. Get someone to sift your incoming calls. Only take the important ones.
  48. Hire consultants to do in a fraction of the time what you’d slave over for hours, like programming your computer.
  49. Meditate, use self-hypnosis or cat nap to recharge your batteries. Sir Winston Churchill napped extensively. The siesta has merit.
  50. Visualise all the extra things you’ll be able to ACHIEVE with 1-2-3-4 extra hours this week.

…and make the effort to apply some ideas from this list.

-Brian Morris