I really don’t need to give you a long introduction as to why we all yearn for more time in our day. Those 24-hourly chunks fly past us, never to be seen again, and since thinking about that for more than a couple of (precious) seconds is just morbid, let’s move right along.
Having muddled, juggled and struggled with the time issue for years, I have finally found a few tactics that appear to work for me. They may not be a magic solution for you, but they just might spark your creative thinking around things you could try instead.
- Iron fewer things
Thanks to more forgiving fabrics, less formal workplaces and simply by choosing not to do it, I’m finding I can get away with ironing fewer and fewer items. Especially in winter, when so many tops and T-shirts are worn under something else, I’ve gained a few minutes each week by limiting what goes in the ironing pile. Last year I purchased a new duvet cover for the bed and was horrified by how it looked the first time it came through the wash. Having spent a fruitless hour trying to make it seem new again, I made a conscious decision not to worry about it. Learn to love a few wrinkles and go do something fun instead. And just think how smooth your face will look by comparison!
- Go to bed (and get up) thirty minutes earlier
If you’re a night owl, you should consider reversing this advice. But as a morning person, I’ve found I get more out of the day in the time between 6 and 6:30AM than I ever did between 9 and 9:30PM. Think about it, the last hour before bed, you’re probably slumped on the sofa watching TV anyway. Instead, create some time right after your morning shower and you’ll get a surprising amount done. I must admit, this is much easier in summer (with lighter mornings) than in winter time when snuggling under my warm, non-ironed bedding is far more appealing. But you’ll need to be religious about your bedtime or you’ll just feel lousy.
- Cull your list of chores
In her Change Your Life Challenge book, Brook Noel recommends making a schedule of housework that needs to be done, and how often you’ll do it. I decided to give it a try as I was always looking around the house feeling guilty about the infrequent tasks (like washing the windows) that never seemed to get done. Brook suggests you make your plan and if, after a while, you’re still battling to keep up, simply reduce the frequencies that you do things. Let’s say you vacuum the living room twice a week. Give yourself absolute permission to do it only once a week and see how much time you gain. And don’t feel guilty: if my memory serves me correctly, the Noel family does their dusting just once every six weeks. Gotta love that.
- Opt out of as many catalogs as possible
Many of the catalogs which used to arrive chez Struggler held practically no interest for me. However, like a moth to a flame, I found myself flipping through them, which was a horribly addictive waste of time, although I must admit I occasionally found something funny to blog about. About 2 months ago, though, I discovered Catalog Choice which is an easy, online, one-stop-shop for opting out of any catalogs you don’t want. Try it – it’s free and will benefit not only your time but the environment too.
- Cultivate an emergency hair style
Just as every woman needs a few emergency outfits up her sleeve, you also need an emergency hair style. A few lucky folk have hair that can wash and go; for me, the equivalent is to twist it back in a banana clip as soon as I’m out of the shower. The good news about doing this when it’s wet is my hair is far more inclined to behave (and not fall straight back out again) than if it were dry. The bad news is, especially in winter, it’s quite likely your hair won’t dry properly all day. So do remember to let it out when you’re back home again. And you probably shouldn’t try this if you live in a really cold climate – icy locks are rarely flattering and are probably a health danger too.
Have you tried any of these? What other time-stretching tips have you discovered?