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Motivation Articles  ›  Picking Yourself Back Up

9 Ways to Get More Out of Your Day

Time to Ignore the Hourglass

-- By Life Coach Mary Guarino, Ph.D
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Do you always feel pressed for time? If so, you are certainly not alone. Last October, millions of Americans participated in the first annual “Take Back Your Time Day,” a project of the Center for Religion, Ethics and Social Policy at Cornell University. The idea arose as a way to make the public aware of the “epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine” in our society.

Lack of time can be detrimental to our physical, emotional and spiritual health. When we are pressed for time, we tend to exercise less, eat foods for their convenience rather than their nutritional value, have less time to interact with our families and friends, and spend little, if any time, on self-development and spiritual growth.

Here are some simple ways you can begin to take back some of your time:
  • Set aside a certain amount of time each day just to do what you want to do. How about 1 hour each day? If that’s not “possible,” start with smaller increments of time, say 15 minutes, and work your way up.
  • Doing part of something is better than doing nothing. Even if you can’t complete a task or a project, it is better to take a small “chunk” out of it rather than letting the whole thing slide until later. If you absolutely “hate” working in that manner, then just make sure you set aside a specific time to complete the entire task or project.
  • Learn to say “No.” This isn’t always easy, but it can make a world of difference. Even if you don’t want to say “No” completely, try to set limits around how much you will do and when.
  • Bundle your tasks. Save up non-urgent errands so that you can do those that are logistically close to one another.
  • Delegate. How much is your time worth? It may be worth the cost of hiring someone to do things like mow your lawn, clean your house, AND you will be purchasing the precious commodity of time. It’s more than okay to ask for help.
  • Do the yucky stuff first. Take care of the tasks that you dislike so that you don’t waste precious mental time ruminating about not having done them!
  • Are the things you feel you “have” to do really necessary? It can be easy to get caught up in the details to the detriment of the big picture.
  • Take an honest look at the activities and people in your life that are “energy drainers.” Do they need to be part of your life? What would happen if you eliminated or reduced your time spent on/with them?
  • And, most importantly, set aside time each week to do something special. Make sure that, no matter how busy you are, you take time to play. Spending time with friends, outdoors, at the movies, whatever makes you happy, is essential in helping you be the most focused and effective you can be with your time.
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About The Author

Mary Guarino, Ph.D. Mary Guarino, Ph.D.
Mary Guarino is a life coach who helps people evaluate and improve their lives and relationships. She holds a doctorate in lifespan developmental psychology and a coaching certificate from the Institute for Life Coaching.

Member Comments

  • KITTY-HUT78
    I have lived in America all my life and they are the biggest procrastinators in the whole world. Many times, consumers/ customer can't get anything done due to inefficiency. You can go on for years and dealing with the same issue/problem with motor vehicles and other government agencies and corporation not to mention family and friends. - 5/18/2014 12:22:11 PM
  • I am going to allow myself at least 30 minutes every evening to go for a walk (weather permitting)! - 4/27/2014 4:19:19 PM
  • Turn off the electronics. - 11/24/2013 2:30:25 PM
  • I felt validated by this article because I have adopted a similar philosophy here of late. I am a teacher who used to spend every Sunday doing school paper work. I now make myself take every other WHOLE weekend off. I even stay after a little later if necessary to do this. My new routine has totally destressed my life. I have more time for family, and I find that I still keep up with grading etc...

    As I get move along this journey, I am learning that there is time for everything if I just prioritize. No more guilt for me! - 11/24/2013 12:32:15 PM
  • FABILOPEZ
    I really enjoyed this article. In fact, I print it out and placed it where I can see it everyday. As we get older we take for granted our own time always making excuses of why we can't dedicate a little time for ourselves. Then when we come to realize that we have not invested time in our health at times it's too late. - 10/7/2013 1:46:30 PM
  • Stop reading articles on line. - 9/20/2013 11:13:22 AM
  • I would add: limit the time you spend online/on social networks/et cetera. That is my problem that I've been working on lately ;)

    Good reminders. - 9/20/2013 11:12:02 AM
  • Great advice. - 6/6/2013 11:18:57 AM
  • This is definitely a good article. Not anything brand new, but we certainly need reminders. - 3/15/2013 2:28:52 PM
  • We have to begin to simplify our lives a bit and these are some good tips in doing that!! We don't always have to be "connected." - 1/2/2012 4:36:02 AM
  • I like exercising in the morning before work and last week and beginning this week I have made it a priority to go no matter how much time I have. I also like to do my morning spark huddle. I think now if I allot enough time for what I want to do in the morning I must go to bed a little earlier, so I am giving myself a bed time. My mother will love this. All the time we spent fighting her about bed time at the age of 44 I finally see her point. - 6/27/2011 8:40:07 PM
  • Very useful suggestions. Thanks! - 6/27/2011 1:14:47 PM
  • Excellent article and suggestions. Thanks, everyone! - 6/27/2011 9:49:43 AM
  • Well said and great advice. I have been working on a couple os these ideas and will add some more to my life!

    Letting go of work when home has been a goal of mine this past year! - 6/27/2011 8:39:32 AM
  • I love to quilt and try to make time everyday to work on a project. This gives me time to relax and get some Christmas gift made so I am not running around at the last minute. It also saves money...which certainly helps me relax!! - 4/16/2011 7:46:39 AM