Want more free time in your day? Here are 21 smart ways to create more time and have a successful and productive day…
How can you create more time in your day?
Looking to create more time in your day? Never feel like you have enough hours in the day to get through everything you want to do? Always feel like you blink and your evenings and weekends are over before you’ve even had time to press pause and actually r-e-l-a-x? Well, I hear you.
According to the famous saying, we all have the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce, right? Well, I’m just going to push back on that a little bit. That’s all very well and good, but a lot of the time it doesn’t feel like that, AT ALL. Along with juggling a full-time job, a side hustle, trying to keep my flat on the right side of acceptable when it comes to cleanliness, having a social life, and getting a few workout sessions in during the week, I definitely don’t have a whole lot of time to play around with.
And the thing is… there’s no real sign of it letting up. This is just life. Unless I become a millionaire and I can outsource all the jobs I don’t want to do (cleaning is first on the list FYI) this is what life is going to look like for the foreseeable future. So with that in mind, I’ve put a few strategies in place to create more time in my day. By squeezing the juice out of every single moment in my day I manage to make sure I still have time to relax, unwind and reset in the evening. Want to find out how you can do the same? Here are 21 quick-fire tips for how YOU can create more time in your day!
21 ways to create more time in your day
1) Wake up early
It’s not rocket science I know, but the earlier you wake up, the more time you have to do everything you want to do. I get up at the same time each day during the week and even at the weekend I tend to wake up at around the same. However, I do lie in bed for a good hour before getting up and going for a run. It may sound a bit lazy but for me, it’s a nice way to rest and recharge from the busyness of the week… it means I’m still getting up at an early enough time to make the most of the day. I’ve now got to the point that I actually hate sleeping in because it means my day goes all out of kilter!
Want to read more about my morning routine? Read it here.
2) Ditch the gym
One thing I’ve found during the course of this year is that there are much more time efficient ways to exercise than going to the gym. All that hanging about before classes, getting changed, travelling there and back… you’re looking at a good couple of hours. Not to mention the monthly fees! I think that if you want to create more time in your day it’s worth thinking about quitting the gym and working out in a more time-efficient way.
Now I prefer to just shove on my trainers and get out the door for a run, or do a YouTube workout video in my spare room. I find that your workout is just as effective as any exercise class you’d do on the gym and I sweat like nothing else! I’ve even invested in some new weights to make sure I’m really making the most of my workouts so it’s bye bye to the gym for me!
3) Take showers
Another statement of the obvious, but who’s got time for baths these days? Not me, at least not on a regular basis. You might catch me in there if I’m on holiday and fancy a little bit of self-indulgence, but for the part they’re just far too much of a faff. You can give yourself a pat on the back as showers are much more economical and better on the environment anyways.
4) Create more time by shopping online
Save time by shopping online. I used to waste so much time at the weekend, popping down to the shops to wander around Zara, Primark and H&M in town. Sometimes I would find something I’d like, and other times I would try on a lot of items and then come home empty handed. And then by the time I got home I was so tired from all the rushing around I didn’t want to do anything else for the rest of the day. Since lockdown I’ve fully converted to online shopping. It’s so much more time efficient and most places make it pretty easy to return items that you change your mind about these days. So long, high street shopping.
5) Order repeat deliveries on Amazon
Do you get sick of having to ‘pop out’ to the shops to stock up on your day to day essentials that you’ve run out of, like conditioner or dishwasher tablets or soya milk so on? So did I, and that’s why I decided not to do it anymore. If you have an Amazon Prime account you can set up regular deliveries of all your favourite essential items so you don’t ever have to worry about running out of them again. Ta da, I instantly have more time in my day for focusing on other stuff.
6) Finish work on time
Be strict when it comes to finishing work on time. A lot of us are still working from home at the moment, and that can sometimes mean that the lines between your work life and home life can become blurred. However, I don’t think it pays to work overtime – and there’s a ton of studies and articles out there which support that. Fun fact: you’re not actually more productive when you work late. So don’t feel guilty about clicking shut your laptop and prioritising a healthy work life balance – it’s better for your mental health.
7) Have a low maintenance hairstyle
As someone who really isn’t the biggest fan of going to the hairdresser, having a low-maintenance hairstyle will save you so much time AND money. I used to get my hair bleached a really light blonde shade but it meant that I was in the salon every six weeks or so to get my roots done and it got very boring very fast. I now have a grown-out balayage style which means I can go for months without really needing my roots done, which also means more spare time for me! I do still have a fringe, which still needs fairly regular trims, but I’m just not prepared to let that go just yet. One step at a time, right?
8) Get your brows and lashes done
You might not be into this sort of frivolous thing but if you want to create more time in your day I would seriously consider trying out these two beauty treatments. They’ll also make you look and feel amazing – a great bonus!
I usually get my brows tinted and waxed and get some semi-permanent eyelash extensions done before I go on holiday and it makes such a difference. The last time I had them done was just before I went on holiday to India and they were an absolute lifesaver. Why? Because they saved me so much time in the morning when I’d usually be frantically drawing on my brows and applying at least two coats of mascara. We had so many early starts on the trip – so many I lost count – and so just knowing that had my brows and lashes ready to go meant I was able to grab a few more precious moments of shut-eye every morning. Trust me, they were so worth it for that alone.
9) Create more time by multi-tasking
If you’re anything like me there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do, and that’s when multi-tasking is essential. On a Sunday I like to have a chilled afternoon on the sofa with a cheesy movie, but I also have blog tasks to complete, so I tend to create and schedule pins while I’m watching the movie. On a Saturday morning when I have to clean the house I listen to a podcast at the same time, which makes it more bearable while also meaning that I get a chance to catch up on my favourite podcasts. These are just a couple of examples, but they mean I get through my boring tasks while also getting a bit of enjoyment at the same time.
10) Leave the FOMO at the door
Let me tell you a story about living in Scotland. Once you’re over a certain age in Scotland (probably around 30) you’ll find that you get to the end of the weekend and your social media feeds are jammed up with people who have bagged munroes, cycled 100 miles, or gone on a 40 mile hike from one end of the country to the other. Or something to that effect. I alway used to look at these pictures and be like, huh, all I’ve done is pottered around the house and done not very much at all. It used to make me feel a bit bummed to be honest, like I wasn’t achieving enough with my weekends.
However, the thing is, when I do fill up my weekends with lots of activities I often come to the end of them and wish that I’d had more time to do nothing at home. The moral of the story is this: you do you. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. If you want your free time to be about reading books, snuggling up on the sofa and drinking hot cups of tea by the fire that’s perfectly OK. Definitely don’t not leave time for that because you think you should have something more ‘worthy’ to post on social media.
11) Use your ‘dead’ time
One thing I’ve learned recently is that if you want to have more time at the end of the day to relax and unwind then you need to use your dead time throughout the rest of the day. What I mean by dead time is those ten minutes before you start work when you’d just be scrolling on Instagram or those 20 minutes at lunchtime before you have to go back to work. You gotta squeeze the juice out of those minutes as much as you possibly can, and that means creating your pins, doing your life admin, scheduling tweets etc. All those little moments really add up over the course of the day.
12) Automate as much as you can
As far as I’m concerned you should be automating as much of your life admin as you possibly can, because 1) it’s a boring thing to do anyway and 2) it’ll save you so much time over the course of the day or week. Set up standing orders for all your regular payments to come out of your account every month and it’ll mean that you don’t even have to think about it. It also won’t come as a surprise when money comes out your account, right?
13) Learn how to delegate
It’s time to flex those delegation muscles! If you always end up working overtime because you don’t want to pass over any tasks to your colleagues or you end up taking on more than the lion’s share of domestic duties at home because you think for some reason that it’s all your responsibility then it’s time to s-t-o-p. Don’t make a martyr or yourself. Share the load and get those boring domestic drudgery tasks done together. Not only will it take half the time but it’ll been a teensy bit less tedious if you do it as a team. Teamwork makes the dreamwork and all that!
14) Just do those five-minute tasks
I have a rule for myself when it comes to my to-do list, and it’s this: if I know a task is going to take less than five minutes to complete then I can’t add it to my to-do list – I just have to do it. I know I can be pretty good at procrastinating when I put my mind to it, as are most people, and sometimes it feels like you can spend more time faffing around and building up to a task than actually just doing it. Nowadays I try to push on instead. What is the expression? You have to eat that frog!
15) Create more time by batch cooking
I’m not the chef in our house – the lies with my boyfriend, for which I’m eternally grateful as I’m really not a fan of cooking. I’d quite happily live off toast and cereal tbh. However, when I do cook I like to make sure that I make enough food for at least one other meal, but preferably two or even three. As far as I’m concerned, cooking is such a long and messy business (all that chopping takes forever, right?) so if you can get as many meals out of your work as possible then it’s a much more efficient use of your time.
16) Be a little bit selfish
I’m putting it out there: it’s OK to be a little bit selfish from time to time. If you never have time for yourself because you spend all your time running around after other people then that’s a problem. If you’re the kind of person who’d go on a three hour round trip just to meet a someone for coffee, or you somehow always end up dedicating half your evenings to your friend’s latest mega drama, or you just always put yourself and your own needs bottom of the pile, then you probably need to hear this. It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to say you’re busy or that you just don’t have time or that you just don’t want to. You’re important and it’s totally reasonable to spend time on you!
17) Have all the apps
I’m not the biggest tech person in the world but boy does technology make your life easier a lot of the time. From having online banking to the WordPress app to the Netflix app, I know I can do things much more quickly than if I had to switch on my laptop. Even things like having the Deliveroo app make your life so much easier when you’re ordering a takeaway on a Friday night. I would also highly recommend having an app for the relevant airline when you travel (whenever we can all do that again) as it saves faffing around with paper boarding passes at the airport.
18) Make peace with a bit of mess
Are you the kind of person that gets a bit twitchy if the dirty dishes sit in the sink all night and don’t get washed up? Or maybe you don’t like having that little red notification on your emails, so you spend lots of time going through your inbox and reading and deleting emails every day? My advice? Make peace with it. The world isn’t going to end because you have a little bit of clutter in your house and, likewise, your phone won’t implode because of a few undeleted emails. If you really must do it then I would suggest penciling in some time once a week and bulk deleting them then.
19) Create more time by stopping scrolling
Hands down the biggest waste of your time is sitting in your pocket or on your desk right now – or maybe you’re even reading this on it. That’s right, it’s your phone. Quelle surprise! If you’re anything like me you’re always horrified when you get that little notification at the end of each week which tells you how many hours you’ve spent online each day of the week. It’s always SO much. I always find myself thinking about all the productive things I could have done with that time if I hadn’t been so busy scrolling through stupid shit on the internet. Of course we all do it, but you can be smart about it. Leave your downstairs, have it out of reach, or just make more of an effort to only use it intentionally – not for mindless scrolling.
20) Don’t watch ad breaks
Whenever I find myself watching ad breaks (or commercials) I just get really irritated because it’s such a waste of time. Think what you could do with all those five minute slots if you added them all up together, right? You have two choices here: you can either just avoid live TV altogether and just watch everything on Netflix and Amazon, where you can skip most of the adverts, or you can make sure you do something to use the time productively during the ad break. That could be hanging up your washing, creating pins, or doing a five minute workout – it’s entirely up to you!
21) Go to bed earlier
This might not be true for everyone, however, I know when I don’t sleep very well the night before or I go to bed late I’m not productive AT ALL the next day. Even the smallest task takes much longer than I want it to, and that means you don’t get through half as much as you’d like. So my advice is to have a set routine and go to bed at the same time each night.