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10 Ways to Find More Hours in Your Day



We all wish we had just a bit more time.

Just think what you could do with an extra hour or two each day: you could finally stick to an exercise routine, or spring-clean the house, or write your novel, or learn the guitar, or get a new qualification.

I can’t magically make all your days 25 hours long. But I can help you find more hours in your day for the things that really matter.

  1. Get Out of Bed Earlier
    If you normally get up at 7.30am, try getting up at 7am. That half-hour might not sound like much — but it could be time that you use to meditate, to exercise, to read that book you’ve been meaning to finish, or simply to get your day off to a calm and organized start.

The first hour or half-hour of the day is often a great chance to work on something important, before other demands crowd in on you. And if you need your beauty sleep? Just get to bed half an hour earlier.

Use your commuting time for something useful. If you drive, you could listen to audio books. If you take the bus or train, you could read a book rather than grabbing a free newspaper. And if your workplace is quite close by, you could try walking or cycling to work — this builds exercise into the natural rhythm of your day.

If you work like this, you’ll usually save time: the urgent tasks will still get done, and you won’t spend hours procrastinating over the important ones.

Keep your inbox closed when you’re working, and only open it when you’re ready to spend 30 minutes or so dealing with emails. It’s much more efficient to batch-process your emails than to keep popping in and out of your inbox to deal with individual ones.

When you’ve got a big task to focus on, let your calls go to voicemail. If you have an office door, close it. If you work in a cubicle, wear headphones: having them on makes it less likely that people will try to strike up a conversation (you don’t have to listen to anything through them).

When you’re working, work. If your concentration is slipping, take a proper break: go and get a glass of water, or stretch your legs a bit. And if you’re facing a difficult task, try breaking it into small steps or stages so that it’s easier to tackle.

In some jobs, it is difficult to get away on time (if all your colleagues work late, you might feel obliged to do the same). But if you’re staying because you only ever seem to get any work done in a mad dash at the end of the day, then your working habits need to change.

Your partner, housemates, or kids can pitch in and help out. Even if you just free up 20 or 30 minutes every evening, you’ll have a bit of extra time to spend on something important to you.

If you don’t have much time to cook during the week, try making extra portions at the weekend so that you can freeze some. That way, you’ve got an almost-instant meal (and one that’s probably healthier and cheaper than a restaurant meal, too).

You might also want to have at least a couple of TV-free evenings; a great chance to read a good book, or to work on a project around the house.

Do you have any great tips for finding more hours in the day? Does one of the above ideas work well for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments…

Written on 3/20/2012 by Ali Luke. Ali is a writer of fiction and non-fiction and a writing coach. She blogs about writing on her site,, and has a free ebook “How to Find Time For Your Writing” available when you join her writing newsletter here. Photo Credit: ~twon~
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