Find your hid­den free time!

Woman's World - - Start Your Week With A Smile - —Lind­say Bosslett

Feel as if you never have enough time? You’re not alone! A re­cent poll shows half of us say we’re so busy we can’t do the things we re­ally want to do—like read a book, re­lax with the fam­ily or pur­sue a hobby. Not any­more! Here’s how to avoid com­mon time-wasters and re­gain an hour (or more!) a day to do any­thing you want!

1 Zip through your to-do list! ✔ Di­vide and con­quer!

Have time-con­sum­ing items like “or­ga­nize the closet” or “clean the kitchen” on your to-do list? “Your brain doesn’t know what to do with big, vague tasks like these un­til you turn them into smaller, very spe­cific steps,” says Maura Thomas, au­thor of Per­sonal Pro­duc­tiv­ity Se­crets. “So un­der each of your goals, list the smaller tasks you’ll need to do to com­plete them.” If your goal is clean­ing the kitchen, for ex­am­ple, you might list: “Wash the dishes. Scrub the oven. Wash fin­ger­prints off the fridge door.” “That way, even if you only have five min­utes, you can still tackle a task that will help you ac­com­plish your goal!”

✔ “Typecast” tasks!

In other words, group them by type! For ex­am­ple, list all the phone calls you want to make, then when you have time, you can make all the calls in a row,” ex­plains time man­age­ment spe­cial­ist Jamie No­vak. “It takes far less time and men­tal en­ergy than jump­ing from one type of task to an­other!”

✔ Fea­ture some­thing fun!

“In­clude a re­ward—any­thing from a man­i­cure to time curled up with your fa­vorite mag­a­zine — on your to-do list,” No­vak urges. “Hav­ing some­thing to look for­ward to gives you the ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion to get more done in less time!”

2 Ter­rif­i­cally easy time­savers! ✔ Put your a.m. on au­to­matic!

Su­per­charge your morn­ing and clock some en­er­giz­ing ex­tra snooze time by pre­par­ing for to­mor­row tonight! Load up your cof­feemaker and, if it has a timer, set it to start brew­ing five min­utes be­fore you’re plan­ning to wake up. Lay out your out­fit, pre-bag your lunch and put your shoes, car keys, gloves, coat, etc. near the door!

✔ Re­turn calls be­fore lunch!

“This is when you’re more likely to catch the per­son in their of­fice,” No­vak ex­plains, “so you’re more likely to com­plete what­ever task you

need them for!”

✔ Block so­cial me­dia!

It takes 23 min­utes to re­ally re-fo­cus your at­ten­tion af­ter sign­ing off of Facebook and other so­cial me­dia,” says Christina Hidek, a pro­fes­sional or­ga­nizer in Cleve­land. To the res­cue: Free apps like Stay­fo­cused, Cold Turkey and Self­con­trol, which al­low you to block spe­cific web­sites, such as Facebook or Twit­ter, for a set amount of time, so you can’t even be tempted to log on!

✔ Use a timer!

“If a project seems over­whelm­ing, ded­i­cate just 10 min­utes to the task and set a timer to make sure you stick to the time limit,” sug­gests pro­fes­sional or­ga­nizer Michelle Hale. “Be­ing on a timer will make you work faster— it’s al­most like a game!—so you’ll get more done. You can get mo­ti­vated to do any task, no mat­ter how odious, if you know you only have to de­vote 10 min­utes to it!”

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