11+1 time-saving hacks for hot mess people

Follow your passions. We hear that nowadays everywhere, right? You have one life, live it at the fullest. Reach your full potential. I was definitely getting a ticket for this passion-train when in addition to my already existing full-time job, I signed one of a non-predictable amount of hours contract, just to see, if there are any other doors opening up in that direction. In the direction where my passions are. There might be, there might not be, and the only way to figure it out to take the chance. And since I still need the security of a regularly received paycheck, I had no choice but keeping one foot on the safe track meanwhile doing some insecure steps towards my dreams.

Meanwhile trying to do my best in the old and in the new place at the same, I had to face the fact that my things on my to-do list still did not become done by themselves. The piles of dishes did not disappear, laundry did not do itself, not even the dog walked himself. The most obvious solution was to stay up a bit longer and/or wake up an hour earlier to be able to finish up all my tasks. No need to say, ridiculously soon I found myself underperforming in all possible areas of my responsibilities. I understood that I cannot squeeze any more achievements in the days with saving time by shortening my periods of dormancy. I need for a good sleep, a well-rested mind and body, and I must find spare moments from elsewhere.

I decided to collect and organize my thoughts and knowledge about time management in the day to day life and time as a phenomenon in a more wide scale, to figure out how to utilize my time in a more effective way.

The consciousness of time is the most significant distinguishing feature, which separates humans from the animal. Being aware of our own mortality is probably one of the most powerful drives which pushed us forward and forward in history. Knowing that we have just a limited amount of time in this world gives us the anxious desire to make it count. (This is the pressure which leads humankind inventing probably the most far-reaching influential innovation ever, the tool for being able to preserve knowledge, writing.)
60-70-80 years to operate with sounds a good chunk of time, but if we look closer and think of how much of that we spend with unavoidable things like our childhood, asleep, work etc, what we see is we have maybe just 10-20 years to fill with meaningful things, goals to achieve.

The question is how do you want to fill that time. Watching Netflix and scrolling on your phone or maybe something bigger, something more inspiring than that? I don’t know how do you picture your own life, If you feel comfortable with the first option, it is also fine. Personally, I definitely don’t want to die before creating something enduring, leave something substantial behind for the future.

For achieving goals keeping yourself in control is essential. Being organized and consequent is the key to efficiency in time management.

I collected a few practical manners to consider picking up. Some of them I have been following already some time ago, some of them I just got my hands on, some others I am still struggling with.

Adapting some of these might save a few hours for you also here and there. If they can help you manage your own tasks, it already worth my efforts to put down these lines here.

So here are some tips:

  1. Routines. Routines make everything easier.
    Start a good morning routine. Any obvious this sounds, it’s true, this shall already start from the night before with a night of proper sleep because you would like to have a healthy biorhythm. I am a full promoter of the ‘well-slept mind is a good mind’ theory, and no time spent with needed sleeping is a waste of time. Take shower or not, have breakfast or not, full English or cereals, do whichever floats your boat, but take the time and the self reflexion to learn which kind of routines work the best for you and stick to them. Every day. Because you don’t need to spend time anymore making decisions.
  2. Lists. A list of your to-dos will help you to keep yourself on the check, what you have and haven’t done so far from the tasks. Nothing feels as satisfying at the end of the day as seeing all your points on the list marked as done.
  3. Prioritize. Put your tasks from your list into categories as follows.
    Important and urgent: these are the ones you want to do for first. These are the ones, you need to focus on.
    Important but not urgent: If you are not finishing them right away, give them a specific deadline and stick to it.
    Urgent but not important: try to delegate these tasks. If it’s not possible, spend a few time with them, as possible.
    Not urgent and not important: Do them later or skip them completely, if you can.
  4. Focus. There are some tasks, which do need your full attention. Separate yourself, turn off the wifi, mute your phone, make it sure you are creating uninterruptable atmosphere. Set your goals and a specific time limit. Such as ‘I am going to finish this article in an hour, no matter what’. Or you can follow the billionaires’ productivity hack, and break your time down into 5-15 minutes increments. Chose whichever works the best for you, but be strict about it and keep yourself in check.
  5. Multitasking. There are some things that need your full attention, we just talked about those. But some others do not need a close focus, and from them to get done multitasking will be your best friend. You are able to do boring, routine tasks and still finishing up something important meanwhile. You can write blog posts in the silent hours of work. You can make notes in your telephone on public transportation on the way home, preparing to do list or get some stuff done online, like paying bills or reserving an appointment to the hairdresser, ordering dinner, etc. You can have a facetime call with your long time seen loved on while ironing, listening to audiobooks while cleaning your home and so on.
  6. Stop using social media. I know, it sounds crazy. Nowadays being online is unavoidable, everyone has a few or more social media accounts, and I guess, no one would take me seriously if I would suggest you to cut off completely. But at least delete the applications from your phone. Or maximize the time for yourself, what you can spend with scrolling and stalking. We all know the feeling, when we feel tired after a long day, and say, ‘I’ll just quickly check my phone, before I go to sleep’, and we end up staying up late, staring a the bright screen for hours, checking status updates and pictures of people whom we haven’t met since high school, and maybe wouldn’t even say hi if we would meet on the street. That is a pure waste of time. Don’t do that. If you really want to, you can go and check Facebook every once in a few days, to see if there are birthdays/events/whatever comes up. The fear of missing out will fade away more and more with time, eventually – hopefully -, it will disappear completely. And last but not least, you are going to experience a decreased level of anxiety. Removing yourself from the scope of the fake perfectness of social media is one of the best things you can do to your mental health, for sure.
  7. Do not watch tv. This one doesn’t even need further explanation.
  8. Stop killing time. Stop window shopping. Stop browsing in online stores. Stop going to shopping malls just to see, if they have anything nice there. Firstly because they always going to have something nice, and second, you’ll end up buying stuff what you didn’t have any intention to buy originally. This way you not just save time, but money also.
  9. Learn to say no. Learn how to say no for things, you don’t want to do, and learn how not to feel guilty about it. If you don’t want to spend money on going to a fancy restaurant, because you can’t afford it, just say no. You have the right to say no. If you don’t want to spend your evening in a work team building event, because you have something more appealing to do, or just because simply you don’t want to, just say no. Respect yourself, and don’t spend your resources – let it be time or money – on things, which do not cause any good for you, just because of social pressure.
  10. Declutter your friends’ list. And I don’t mean it just in the online space. You should not put too much time and/or energy into relationships where the other person is not willing to put about the same amount of his/hers. I am not saying, that you should kitchen scale your human relationships, all I am saying is that you should not make sacrifices for someone who would not do the same thing for you. Don’t waste your time on worthless people.
  11. Excersize. The regular physical activity has beneficial effects not just on the overall fitness level, but also the general energy level of the body. Nothing is as energizing as an early morning run/workout followed up by a nice shower. The body is going to be pumped up for the rest of the day, the blood flow is refreshed, and not to mention the generating happiness hormones, which will boost up also the mood. With a healthy body and mind, every assignment seems to be easier to puzzle out.

+1 Allow yourself free time. Socialize, play board games with family, go out and enjoy a pint with friends, appreciate your loved ones by spending some quality time together with them.
But let yourself also be alone, when you are actually not doing anything but refilling your wells. This can be a long sleep, a hot bubble bath or wondering in nature, whatever. Just make it sure, you are switching off from work mode.

Time is the most precious thing in life what one can have, and the moment when one realizes it and start to live life accordingly, the way of thinking about time will change for the good.
When you start filling up the empty moments of waiting or killing time with quality activities, you will see, what a massive difference it makes to instead of being on the phone and scrolling social media aimlessly, reading or listening to something informative. In no time you can finish a book, acquire a new skill, imbibe more knowledge.
When you develop the attitude of being thrifty with time and start using your sources in a smarter way, you will see how much spare moments you actually have, how much potential there actually is in you. The more you achieve, the more you start craving for self-improvement.
As the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.

I hope you’ll find this useful, and please let me know your opinion, experiences and time-management hacks in the comment section.

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