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Health & Wellness Articles  ›  Healthy Lifestyles

7 Simple Ways to Reclaim an Hour a Day

Finding Your 25th Hour

-- By Ellen Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach
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  • Shut the alert signal off on your computer that tells you when a new email has come through.  Even better, adjust your preferences so that new mail is only delivered once an hour.
     
  • Determine a maximum amount of times to check emails each day.  For me, it’s four: Once at 8 a.m., right before I break for lunch, again at 5 p.m., and lastly before shutting the computer off at 9 p.m. Now don’t get me wrong; I love checking emails while in line at the grocery store or waiting in the dentist office.  It’s great to clear out the garbage, or send off a quick response.  But when I’m in my office or at home with the family, rules rule!
     
  • When you do check emails, handle them immediately.  Respond, delete, or file it away for later.
     
  • If you love to play computer games, Google the news, or find the latest online shopping sites, that’s fine.  Create a designated time to so, and set an alarm to let you know when time is up. 
     
  • Shut down your computer and all other technology at least one hour before bedtime.  You will fall asleep more easily, and will sleep more soundly, too!  Even better, declare one technology-free day every weekend.  Could you imagine how much more free time you would have that day? 
 
Stop multi-tasking.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, multi-tasking is a time-waster rather than a time-saver.  We may think we are gaining time by handling more than one task at once, but it’s just an illusion.  Since we aren’t fully focused on any one thing when we multi-task, each individual task takes longer to finish.  This lack of focus leads to more errors, which then, of course, take more time to correct. You will be shocked at how much faster you complete a job when you turn off all distractions, and stay laser focused on what you are doing.
 
Please note I’m not suggesting there is never a place for multi-tasking; however, it should not be done with the things that are really important.  Go ahead, watch TV while folding laundry, or talk on the phone while chopping veggies (just make sure to use a hands-free headset).  If you’re working on an important project for business, writing an email or scheduling an appointment, don’t also be checking text messages, or trying to have a meaningful conversation with your child.  For sure, one task or the other will suffer. 
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at www.EnerGcoaching.com.

Member Comments

  • Great article. - 11/28/2013 2:05:18 PM
  • BETTYCOOPER121
    The ideas mentioned in this article are the best!! I liked the one in where we go tech free every weekend :-). Though difficult if we have strong will power we can resist. Great article overall. - 10/29/2013 11:34:44 AM
  • RUNNINGINOR
    I am a working mother of three kids, and my biggest time drain is ferrying them to all their sports and after school clubs. Therefore, I keep a detailed calendar and "schedule" my exercise, computer time, etc. I would never miss a scheduled doctor's appointment, so I treat my scheduled "me" time as just as important. I try to teach my kids that exercise is a highly important component of their lives, but it seems counter-intuitive to gripe to them about all the time it takes to get them to sports. Scheduling dinner prep time, too, is a big way to save time when we are eating dinner out of tupperware between soccer games. It also keeps us out of the fast-food drive thru!!! - 9/22/2013 2:56:51 PM
  • Great idea! - 9/18/2013 9:35:39 PM
  • For those who would like to delegate time-consuming errands to someone else (and maybe don't have a hubby, significant other, or kid to help out), consider TaskRabbit.com.

    "Rabbits" can pick up a few items for you on their own trip to the grocery store, help with laundry & house cleaning, work on a computer project... no task is too big or too small. (Read all rules & regulations first, of course... and as of today, the service is only available in large metro markets.) - 9/18/2013 2:38:00 PM
  • Really a very good article. It's almost embarrassing the amount of time I waste in the evening in front of the computer and televison. As a matter of fact, last night the tv was on, and I was in front of my lap top, ipad and iphone all at the same time. I will be more aware of this from now on. - 9/18/2013 1:08:04 PM
  • I shop once each week; don't go near a grocery store otherwise. - 8/18/2013 5:47:13 AM
  • Technology is my biggest problem. I do turn off my phone at night, but I still spend too much time on the computer. I like the idea of setting a timer by the computer. Time does get away from me when I am checking e-mail, reading articles, and especially when playing a game. Thanks for all the good ideas. - 8/17/2013 12:38:28 PM
  • I loved reading all of the great comments and suggestions with this practical article. One thing that works well for me is planning the most important things I need to do tomorrow the day before; it only takes me 15 minutes at the end of the day, and when I wake up in the morning, I know exactly what to focus on, so I feel better. Sometimes it's the simple things like this that make the biggest difference to save time. I learned about it along with other good ideas at this site:
    http://www.time
    smartme.com/t
    imetips/plan-
    your-time/make-time/ - 8/17/2013 9:37:52 AM
  • I've been married over 40 years and long since raised my kids. I wonder how I ever managed when I worked and had 2 boys at home but I swear I think I did better then than I do now. I know technology (computer) has a lot to do with it. I really need to figure this out! - 8/16/2013 7:32:40 PM
  • AZURE-SKY
    Here's a simple way to get some free time. Buy a small timer and leave it by your computer. Set it for a designated time, such as an hour. Start it when you sit at the computer, and when the timer goes off, get up from the computer and do something else. It's so easy to get wrapped up in reading, playing games, etc., that we can spend hours wasting time.

    Another thing to do is to go to the library and borrow audio books. Listen to them while commuting to and from work, while walking, working out on the elliptical or treadmill. I even use them while knitting.

    Turn off your cell phone. You really don't need to be in communication with everyone you know 24/7. Or at least start using the ignore button. This works especially if you have friends who have to call you several times a day. Let their calls go to voicemail (that's why it was invented), then return calls when YOU have time to talk. - 8/16/2013 12:43:40 PM
  • Agree with some of this but not all. I intentionally grocery shop every other day. I want to have fresh foods in my house, and I will stop on the way home from work. I don't like to keep a large larder..but I will stock up on some dry goods and household supplies (like cleaning stuff, shop for that once a month maybe.) But fruits and veggies? I'm not doing that once a week. - 8/16/2013 12:12:02 PM
  • Great article! I was thinking, while on my run today, that technology has also eliminated the need to get together and catch up with people. My high school aged son's preschool teacher for instance, we used to get together and catch up for lunch but Facebook keeps me completely informed of her life! My goal is to spend less time on the computer and more time with people with my "extra hour". - 8/16/2013 11:32:05 AM
  • Hello,I am an older woman who has plenty of time to do what I please but enjoy sitting with my Hubby who suffers from COPD and is on Oxygen most of the time.I do love to cook and still make most of our meals which he and I do enjoy.I love to sit by myself out in our little cement patio rental and drink a glass of wine,then I work on my Elliptical machine until bedtime,Hubby goes to bed pretty early and that leaves me with lots of time to myself.Sorry for those who don't have enough time to do what they want.I don't work outside the home and that helps me have more time to myself.I love to do my artwork and it keeps me as busy as I want.Hope we are up to moving one more time so I can get back to my clay projects,buy another kiln and make more ceramic goodies to sell.My craft room is a mess and will need a total cleaning soon but it is all I have at the moment. - 8/16/2013 11:08:02 AM
  • Excellent suggestions in the article. While I was still working outside the home, I found a lot of free time when I quit smoking as a start to my more healthy life-style. I found I had at least an additional 1/2 hour in the morning to either sleep longer or to get ready for the day. I took 2 10-min. breaks a day at work rather than 4-5 10-min. smoke breaks. I had time at lunch break to run errands, read, or just relax. I usually make it to bed on-time as I'm not running outside for just one last smoke before bed - usually while I had that "last" smoke, I would think of several things that just had to be done before bed and I would put off my bedtime and at the end, need "just one last smoke before bed" again. After awhile, I no longer woke up every 3-4 hours to have a smoke in the night allowing for a more restful sleep and a longer sleep. I don't have ash burns on my clothes requiring time consuming replacement or repair. I don't have to take the time to wash my walls a couple of times a year because of a smoke film. Although this doesn't save time, I don't have to turn down invitations because smokers aren't welcome somewhere; I don't have to leave a group while dining out to run out for a smoke between courses or after the meal; and I don't have to apologize for the odour on either my clothing, my car, or my home.

    For health reasons I have had to learn to do things smarter and more simply. A time and engergy saver for me is doing several things when I have to go to the basement rather than going up and down the stairs over and over. When doing a craft, gardening, or a chore, I stop and think of all the things I will need and gather as much as I can at that time to save having to stop in the middle of things wasting time to get more "stuff." I was incorporating some of the suggestions in the article but not I am aware of more to look into. thanks! - 8/16/2013 8:47:37 AM