5 Ways to Get More Time in Your Day

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.

And if you do manage to implement some of these, you’ll have enough spare minutes in your day to go read the other tips at Works for Me Wednesday or Feature Yourself Friday. :)

  1. 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!

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  5. 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?

Clocks shown, top to bottom:
Z Gallerie, Overstock, SooP Design, Gumps, John Lewis.

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29 Responses to 5 Ways to Get More Time in Your Day

  1. The Shiny Pebble says:

    Since I had my son about one and a half years ago, I have been cultivating my emergency hair style. I guess keeping a toddler entertained or he will scream his lungs out can be considered an emergency.

  2. Gwen says:

    I don't iron my stuff and Art does his own so that saves me a lot of time. (Also a lot of cussing and burned things, including appendages)

    I have culled my blog feeds because I realized that was eating a HUGE chunk of my time. I felt awful doing it, but it was killing my productivity.

    What has really helped me out the past couple of months is something that I learned from you. If all else fails, make a spreadsheet! I know have my 'cleaning', book review, and other work schedules on spreadsheets. Thanks for showing me the light.

    Off to check out that book. Lord knows I can't pass up a book!

  3. Gwen says:

    That was supposed to read, now I have my …… Too bad that spell check can't read my mind. That would save lots of time as well.

  4. Simply Luxurious says:

    Great ideas! Am a fan of going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. I feel I can get so much more accomplished in the morning.
    Great post!

  5. Vix says:

    Alas, any way I've saved time is completely negated by online reading!

    Though getting my closet under control does save me a lot of time I previously wasted wondering what I could possibly wear. And I wouldn't have gotten there without wasting so much time online, so it's CLEARLY the circle of life at work.

    I should try going to bed earlier. AGAIN. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Marie@PoutyPinkPrincess says:

    I NEVER iron! However, I do go through wrinkle releaser like crazy! It's the best stuff ever! AND thank goodness for ponytales…sadly my hair is in one 24/7!

  7. Isabella & Max Rooms says:

    Yes, the first paragraph started to make me sad! But, on to the bright side, early early morning is the absolute best time for me to get things done. So, on that note I need to get off the computer and get myself to bed!

  8. Isabella & Max Rooms says:

    Yes, the first paragraph started to make me sad! But, on to the bright side, early early morning is the absolute best time for me to get things done. So, on that note I need to get off the computer and get myself to bed!

  9. Kari says:

    I only iron when I can't avoid it – even with woven shirts, I prefer to steam or, better yet, do the "poor man's steaming", meaning that I hang a slightly damp woven shirt in the bathroom while I shower. The steam and humidity actually takes the wrinkles out quite well.

    I can't wear ponytails – even when my hair was long enough, I looked awful with one. I don't have much of an emergency hairstyle except for "dry shampoo" when I have no time to shower. I prefer not to use it, though.

  10. Adrianna says:

    My emergency hair do is the ballet bun. It's not even an emergency anymore:o( It's an everyday do. But waking up 30 minutes early is great. I feel like I get more things done sooner and feel more relaxed and not rushed.

  11. Elle says:

    great tips, i never thought of catalogs wasting my time but those along with "just browsing" online definitely eat up a good chunk of my life…

  12. SoCal FruGal says:

    I TOTALLY agree with #2 & #5. Do 'em both all the time. Not dusting for 6 weeks? I would die of allergy attacks LOL

  13. Faux Fuchsia says:

    Long time reader my 1st comment! I never run out of time because I get up early and go to bed late, plsu I embrace KNITS that don't need ironing and can action a low admin hairdo! Plus sometimes I don't dust. Hey presto, I'm not Time Poor. I am deeply suspicious of childless time poor people…Love the blog xxxx

  14. pk @ Room Remix says:

    These are all great tips! I didn't know about the site for opting out of magazines that you don't want, so thanks for sharing it. I'll be making use of that in the future. I, like you, also find I'm much more productive in the morning. Emergency hair style… I'm working on it. I'm TRYING to grow my hair out right now so I have a few more options, like flipping it up in a pony, when I need them. Really hate the process though, I must admit. Have threated to chop it off more than once already. :-)

  15. Tausha says:

    great tips! I so agree that we should all iron less! Maybe we could make that a worldwide campaign.
    I have to tell you one of my favorite time saving tricks. I got a shark hand held steamer for christmas and I am in LOVE with this thing. It has a tool for steaming clothes and such. I used it to steam my duvet after I pulled it out of storage-it worked like a dream! It also works great on my husbands shirts!

  16. Me says:

    All excellent suggestions…especially when stuck with…

  17. 'Becca says:

    I totally agree about not ironing! In fact, I only get out the iron once or twice a year–there's probably much more you could leave unironed.

    I have longish hair, and I like to French-braid just the front part so it's off my face and there's a small braid hanging down the back. This takes only 5 minutes and, if done on wet hair, will stay in for 2 days so that on the second day, I only need to smooth the loose strands before running out the door!

    Giving up the snooze alarm for Lent two years ago helped me (mostly) break that time-wasting habit.

  18. Honeybunches of Roses says:

    I love the watches you displayed…and very good points!

  19. Lovely Scribbles says:

    You always have a pocket-full of great tips! I'm with you – early to bed, early to rise, and I can always count on a "fairly" productive day that way. I do like the idea of the chores list and alloting frequency to those less-than-desirable duties.

    As far as my hair, I actually let it air dry on my commute to work, and sneak in the bathroom at the office to give it a quick curl or throw it in a pony tail. Works for me!

  20. Marija says:

    These are terrific suggestions. I think people underestimate the amount of time magazines and catalogs take up! Read a few blogs in between business calls and you're sure to get all the important dish out of a mag! Marija

  21. Cristin says:

    I wear a pony-tail a lot… guess that would me my emergency hair style. And rarely do I iron.

    Great post!


  22. too Blessed to Stress says:

    I actually reall enjoy ironing – cloth napkains. Thats about it :)

    Thanks for sharing your beans and toast idea. Never heard of it, but I think it sounds good! Hubby would love being able to take his meal and head out the door.

    Thanks for entering the giveaway!

    ~ Emily N. from "too Blessed to Stress"

  23. Shelley says:

    Great post as usual. Sadly, my biggest time waster is crusing the net. If I want to be productive, I have to turn off the computer. We sacked the window washers when it got up to £40 a month…but the windows just down't get done much, particularly not over the winter.

  24. Amanda says:

    I could definitely benefit from going to bed & getting up earlier. I think I'm going to call in FlyLady today to help me manage my time better. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  25. Pat Harris says:

    Am going to have to go back and read all your entries now that I've found you!! Cannot wait! Love your blog.

    Thanks for visiting junkblossoms. Hope you'll come back soon.

  26. Diana says:

    These are some useful tips – thanks for telling us about catalog choice. I already rarely ever iron, so that helps a lot. I can't really get up any earlier than I already do, because right now I get up at 5:30 and get to work at 7:30. One day, I'd like to work at a job that starts a little later.

  27. Struggler says:

    Well, it seems we're all faced with the same challenge of blog/online time eating up our day!

    Faux Fuchsia, lovely to hear from you. As a childless, time-poor person, I am deeply suspicious of myself until I remember I'm training for a marathon and studying for a real estate license, as well as doing the house/job/husband gig :)

    PK, try to hang in there with your hair, you're probably at the worst stage! I have to admit though, in winter I do wish I had short hair, as all that wet cold stuff around my shoulders each morning drives me crackers.

    Tausha, the hand-held steamer sounds fab – I can think of lots of uses for that. But Kari's "poor man" method is pretty nifty too.

    Becca, in a haze of Pottery Barn love, I bought an alarm clock without a snooze button. As you can imagine, my mornings are either wildly efficient or a total disaster, depending on whether or not I roll out of bed on time!

    Shelley, we had owned our house about 2 years before we washed the windows. I know, I know, shameful…

  28. Rachelle says:

    Great list!

    Thanks for linking up :)

  29. Penelope says:

    This is such a great post! I stumbled it for you…thanks for the tips!

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