There’s no time! Man, if I had a dollar for every time I have said that, I would be running for president instead of Donald Trump. Time is the one thing we need on our side the most, yet never seems to be.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as buying time. We can’t have a little extra taken out of our paycheck each week and get two extra hours added to our day. Even daylight savings time, spring forward, fall back, doesn’t give us more time. It just makes it get dark later or earlier.
So how do you hack it? How can you have more time in your day every day?
Hack #1: Set your alarm earlier, but give yourself permission to snooze.
I love the snooze button. It’s my best friend in the morning. Hitting it (or rather, sliding it on my phone) brings a satisfying feeling of “ahhh…. back to blissful sleep” or “I really hope I can pick up where I left off in that dream. It was getting steamy.”
Here’s the hack. Set your alarm for an hour and a half before it would normally be set. Wait, don’t stop reading yet. Hang in with me. Give yourself permission to hit the button for UP TO AN HOUR. On days where you want to hit it, you’ll still buy 30 minutes on your day. On days where you feel like you want to hop in the shower or wake up hungry, you can show yourself a little love with an hour and 30 minutes more than you would normally have in your morning.
Hack #2: Check traffic.
This isn’t such a big deal in smaller towns. (I got completely spoiled when I moved to Carson City, Nevada.) But, if you are dealing with the 405 in Los Angeles like I used to, you know that traffic sucks a lot of time from your day.
Here’s the hack. Side streets. Download the app, Beat the Traffic or a similar traffic app that shows you alternate routes to where you are going. I saved up to 20 minutes a day taking PCH over the 405. When I got to work early, I would get coffee, make myself breakfast, and settle in versus rushing to my desk and practically breaking a heel to avoid being late.
Hack #3: Order in advance.
How many times have you been sitting in a restaurant, waiting for the waiter and then waiting for your meal to be prepared? It can take a good 20 to 30 minutes out of your lunch time.
Here’s the hack. Pick up the phone and order your meal in advance from restaurants. It may seem odd, but if you find the menu online and order, you can either pick up and go or choose to have your meal there without the wait. In lieu of this, you can look at the menu online and know what you want to order. This will save 10 minutes in the time it takes you to decide and your waiter to return. As soon as the drink order is taken you can put in your food order too.
Hack #4: Run errands at lunch.
The time I have for lunch is limited. So there’s always a sense of urgency around getting out and getting back.
Here’s the hack. Tap into that sense of urgency to get things done at lunch. Make a list of what you need to accomplish. Then, rank them in order of least time to complete to most. At lunch, challenge yourself to get through as many as you can. What I thought would be hours worth of errands ended up being 30 minutes worth because I wasn’t browsing at the stores I went to, or getting distracted (squirrel) by something else.
Hack #5: Cut down on screen time.
I am a self-professed screen addict. If my face isn’t in my phone, its on a computer, or television, or movie screen.
Here’s the hack. Write down what screens you stick your face in. Then, write down an estimate of how much time you think you spend with your face stuck in said screen. The one with the highest number is your first hack. For me, it’s my cell phone. (Yes, I realize the irony that some of you are reading this on your phones.) It’s important not to have an all or nothing attitude with this. If you look at your phone in bed, try a morning without it. If you look at your phone while commuting (public transportation, looking at your phone while driving or riding a bike is just a no-go) try ONE DAY without it. At the end of your experiment, look at what you did, how much time you saved, and look at other screens to see if you can cut back there. The time savings is ENORMOUS with this one. I started watching only the TV shows I like and I ended up saving eight hours a week of mindless TV watching.
I’d love to hear how some of these hacks have worked for you. Or, let me know if you have time hacks of your own that give you more time in the day. If you have an idea for a hack, I’d like to hear from you too. Just comment below.
Happy life hacking!