Bending Time: 5 Ways to Get More Out of Your Day

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me, the busiest part of the year has returned! Between gearing up for the IWP launch for 2019, helping my kids prepare and get back into the swing of a new school year, holiday prep and beyond… around this time of year, the days just seem to speed right along, and with that, naturally, comes just a little bit more stress.

This week on Episode 085 of Productivity Paradox, I’m talking about the idea of bending time as a way to cultivate a little bit more happiness over the course of the busy seasons of our lives as a way to significantly reduce the amount of stress we feel. So today, I want to talk that idea one step further and share some ways that you can get more out of your day when you’re feeling strapped for time and completely overwhelmed.

 

5 Ways to Get More Out of Your Day

 

1. Track Your Time –

Time has a habit of slipping away from us when we aren’t spending it with intention. So, in order to gain more control over our day (and to make the best of it), we need to first understand how we are spending it in the first place.

Remember, we all have 168 hours available to us every single week… and a lot can be achieved in that time if you take ownership of it and spend it on the important things!

Head on over to my interview with time management expert, Laura Vanderkam, on Episode 023 for a refresher on how to track your time so that you can learn how to be more effective in how you spend it in the future!

 

2. Create a Morning Routine –

These days everyone always seems to be on the move, right? We scramble to get out of bed and head off to work on time, we agonize over our tasks and constantly rush ourselves from one thing to the next… and far too often, we wind up coming home feeling like the entire day was a huge blur.

Instead of rushing right from the start each morning, create a routine that gives you time and space to wake up and get going. Not only will this alleviate some of the stress you feel right out of the gate, but a morning routine also allows you to slow down and to take care of your own priorities first.

 

3. Keep Tasks Manageable –

We tend to think about how long our tasks will take in the best-case scenario… We remember the one time we got something done super-fast, instead of the typical two hours longer than the best-case scenario, and this is where we lose control!

We find ourselves saddled with an unrealistic amount of work due to planning fallacy, which is an idea that I discuss in more depth on this week’s podcast episode.

When you underestimate how long something will take over and over again, you find yourself with an unbearable workload and not nearly enough time to complete it… And this only adds to the insurmountable level of stress that you feel each day. To combat this, it’s important that we add buffers to our time estimates.

These buffers should typically add one and a half times the amount of time you think a task will take, but this number can be adjusted depending on your tendency to fall victim to planning fallacy.

When we can make our important tasks manageable by correctly using time buffers, we then feel happier and more motivated to keep working on the task at hand!

 

4. Say NO More Often –

I know, you’ve heard me talk about this one a lot! But it definitely bears repeating.

One of the reasons that we feel so stressed is that we tend to take on more work than is necessary out of our desire to please others. Too often, we say yes when someone ask us if we can do something for them, when deep down we already know that we have too much on our plate to begin with.

We have to start saying NO more than YES. Don’t tell yourself the story that you can’t help it or that your relationship will suffer if you say no… Because you know what? Neither of these stories are true! You always have a choice of where you spend your time, and it’s important to recognize that choice in yourself whenever you are feeling stretched too thin.

The key here? Find tasks that energize you and motivate you and say yes to those instead! You’ll be a happier person with more memorable experiences to share in the end.

 

5. Schedule an Activity –

We get “one-more-thing-itis” toward the end of the work day and we often try to do just one more thing before we check out, which can easily overflow into personal time. To nip this habit in the bud, try scheduling something right after work, like an exercise class or time with a friend or family member.

Giving yourself a definitive endpoint to your work day or blocks of focused time will force you to quit when it’s time to quit… and will allow you a little more grace to cultivate happiness in your personal life.

What are some ideas that you have to get the most out of your day? Share your experiences in the comments below… And be sure to check out Episode 085 of Productivity Paradox where I’m talking all about cultivating happiness and boosting productivity by bending time!

 

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton