Lost Time

4 Effective Ways to Reclaim Your Lost Time

Time is our most valued asset. Our most precious resource.

Many people claim that they are overworked, over-stressed, and incredibly pressed for time. While I don’t know if that’s necessarily true or not, I can say that time is something that’s always on everybody’s mind.

In the personal development world, we often think of time as something we “spend,” and when we want to grab more time for an activity, time is something we then “create.” But is that really true? The fact is that you can never really create any more time than what you’ve been given. You can free up time. But you can never truly create more of it.

In this post, I want to explain four easy tips to help you find more time to do the activities you love. Let’s get to it!

1. Take an entire day off for relaxation.

The first tip I have might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but it’s worked wonders for me.

When you’re feeling as if you have too much on your plate, one of the best things you could ever do is clear everything off of your plate. Just let all nonessential responsibilities slide to the side for the day. True, something urgent might pop up, and you probably won’t be able to be relinquished of all of your responsibilities, but a day of relaxation can seriously free up your mind.

Instead of stressing out and trying to find little ways to cut corners here and there to free up time, take a day off just to let your mind think and relax. When the next day rolls around, see if you can spot any ways to more efficiently and productively schedule your time. By taking a day off, you gain an outsider’s perspective into your time management dilemma. You can take a step back, clear your mind, and tackle your challenges with a fresh perspective.

2. Swap time given to one activity with to another activity.

Fairly simple, right? Choose one activity that you do that really doesn’t need to be done, and replace it with a better activity.

Instead of watching TV for an hour, go build your online business. Instead of idly reading cheap romance novels that don’t have much inherent value, go connect with your family members and friends. With this method, you’re taking large chunks of time already devoted to certain activities and reassigning that time to something else.

3. Be consciously aware of what you’re doing.

Everybody’s been in those tricky situations where they’re pressed to meet a deadline and the project they’re working on isn’t quite done yet. Whether it be for school or work, you know the dreadful feeling of the clock ticking faster and faster as the deadline quickly approaches.

What happens to your productivity in these situations? It naturally shoots up like a rocket. When suddenly nothing else matters but the project that’s due in two hours, you somehow magically manage to get it completed. Why do you think this is? It’s because you were consciously aware of what you were doing. When you don’t have time to waste on anything, you become acutely aware of the time.

What if you lived your life like this, just for a day? For one day, don’t just go through your daily motions. Be totally aware of how you’re spending your time. Keep a clock by you at all times and notice what you’re spending your time on. Are you going to be speeding up certain tasks and taking your time with other ones? How is your time going to be managed if you completely realize that there’s only a certain amount of minutes in a day?

4. Trim the fat off of what you’re already doing.

Do you really need an hour to do a task that you know you can complete within 45 minutes? Go though all of the tasks you do, estimate the time it takes you to complete all of those tasks, and see if you can snip away extra minutes. Try doing hour tasks in 45 minutes; try doing 30 minute tasks in 20 minutes.

Some tasks will naturally take too long if you give yourself too much time, such as writing a new blog entry or cleaning up your house. Most of the time, it doesn’t take long at all for people to get into the flow of things, so they mindlessly procrastinate because they’ve given themselves so much time towards completion. Don’t let this happen to you! Force yourself to get your work done in less time, and then assign those minutes to something else worthwhile. Make a schedule and document the true value of time that needs to be dedicated to each task. If you’ve figured you can do something in 30 minutes, and you’ve laid out that plan for yourself, it is far easier to get it done within that allotted time.

Getting things done in a thought out, timely matter, will end up generating a lot more free time to spend on the things you really love doing. Not only will you accomplish more, but getting to the point and getting things done you will also free up your mind, so you are not distracted by all of the things you haven’t yet accomplished and you will be able to put your full energy into every moment.

What are some of your suggestions for reclaiming and reassigning your lost time?

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Matt is a guest blogger for PickTheBrain.com and  is the founder of Refocused Living – a personal development blog dedicated to genuinely helping people out through all aspects of self-improvement.

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