6 Mind-Blowing Tips to Get Back 30 Hours a Week of Free Time
“Busyness is the new Ferrari.” Vee Somphon
What I’m about to say next will blow your mind.
Right now you are sitting on 30 hours of free time!
Skeptical? I was too when I first learned about it here. But this information came from “Father Time” himself, sociologist John Robinson. Robinson is a research professor at the University of Maryland whose focus of study is on the use of time. For three decades, he asked people to keep a time diary (journal) logging all the details of their day. His findings have sparked some lively debates, especially this claim:
As impossible as it may seem, we, and that includes women with children, have 30 hours of free time per week!!
The reason we don’t want to believe this is because busyness is the new Ferrari. Here is an excerpt from Slate magazine quoting another sociologist on the motive behind our busyness:
“It’s about showing status. People are competing about being busy…If you’re busy, you’re important. You’re leading a full and worthy life. [It’s] as if you don’t get to choose. I call it the nonchoice choice. Because people really do have a choice.”
Do you agree with this claim?
If this claim has no relevance for you, and you are simply crunched for time, read on for some time management tips.
Though I’m not about to keep a time diary, I decided to put Robinson’s findings to the test. I took up the challenge of trying to find 30 hours of free time. After experimenting for a month, I came up with the below time saving ideas. Try out a few and see how much time you save.
1. Make TV Watching Productive
According to a Nielsen study, Americans watch an average of five hours of television a day. If this is how you spend your leisure time, how about adding on something productive? Instead of watching the commercials, you can use the time to throw in a load of laundry and fold your clothes. If you manage to squeeze in three loads of wash, (30 minutes for each wash and dry cycle), you could be saving three hours a week. That makes you the most productive couch potato in your neighborhood! Time save: 3 hours
2. Maximize Wait Time
Monotonous errands such as taking my car in for an oil change, making a trip to the motor vehicle division, and dropping packages off at the post office, no longer fill me with dread. This is one of the few times where it is effective to multitask.
Because by now you have probably heard that multitasking lowers your IQ.
Increase your productivity by taking your laptop with you on errands to answer emails, return calls, schedule appointments or read a book. Time saved: 1-2 hours
3. Make it a No Brainer
If you ever find yourself dashing into the office and then realized, too late, that you’ve left the house wearing a pair of unmatched socks, or sporting black pants with a navy blazer, save yourself time by picking out the day’s outfit the night before.
This next tip may apply more to the ladies. You can avoid the “I don’t have anything to wear” trap where after an hour of trying on a dozen outfits, you are still not dressed, and your bedroom looks like it’s been hit by a tornado. Make this task into an evening routine and free up your mornings for more important things like sleep. Time saved: 15 minutes
4. Be a Cheating Cook
I can empathize with Pope Francis for having to cut down on pasta. Homemade pasta is my weakness, and when I make my own pasta sauce, it usually takes more than two hours. Now I cheat a little. I use (gasp) premade spaghetti sauce and doctor it up to give it a more homemade taste and added nutrition. Some affordable spaghetti sauces, like Bertolli, are of good quality and delicious right out of a jar. By adding sautéed onions, fresh green peppers, oregano, and tossing spaghetti with locally made olive oils, I didn’t sacrifice much on nutrition and taste. Now it takes me 30 minutes to prepare my favorite recipe versus two hours. Time saved: 1.5 hours
5. Group Your Errands by Destinations
If you live in a suburban area or a sprawling metro area like Phoenix where businesses are not condensed in one central location, a person can easily spend an hour driving from one destination to the next. To save time and money spent on fuel, try grouping your errands by neighboring destinations and mapping out the route in advance for greater efficiency. Time saved: 2 hours
6. OHIO as a State of Mind
At one point, I was receiving 200 emails per day. I used to feel overwhelmed and stressed out by them until I adopted a simple technique for managing them. It goes by the mnemonic OHIO – only handle it once. In addition to this technique, I blocked off certain times in the day to respond to e-mails rather than jumping on them in a Pavlovian manner.
Inspire others. Leave a time saving tip by commenting below.
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