No matter how closely you schedule your plans or how early you wake up, it never feels like there are enough hours in the day. Whether you’re trying to be more productive, fit in more leisure activity, or even just go for a little run, it can be tough to find that extra hour to get everything done.
Luckily, there’s always a way to sneak some extra time into your day—it just requires a little extra effort. “Instead of carving out an hour at once, we can create habits that can provide smaller moments throughout the day,” says life coach Nancie A. Vito, MPH, CHES.
Here are seven genius tips and tricks that anyone can use to sneak an extra hour into their day.
1. Turn Off Distractions
Things like the phone, TV and computer can distract us all day long, eating away at free time. “Use apps to block social media sites while you’re focusing on work or other tasks,” says Vito. “Social media can end up sucking us in, and before you know it 15 or 20 minutes have passed when we simply wanted to go ‘check’ something.”
2. Gradually Wake Up Earlier
If you tend to wake up around 8am, you’re not suddenly going to start waking up at 6. But, waking up early is a great way to add extra time to your day, you just might have to get accustomed to it slowly. “You don’t have to be too drastic at first, but if you normally get up at say 7:30 am, try and aim for a wake-up time of say 7am to start with, and then 6:30am,” says life coach Gemma McCrae BSc (Hons) MRICS APC. “That’s gaining an extra hour for you to do stuff in the morning.”
3. Schedule Everything Into Your Calendar
Schedule things that are important to you the way you would schedule lunch with a friend, suggests life coach Melissa Snow. This can include anything from plans to go to the gym or even just downtime to read on your couch. If you have a gym date on your calendar, treat it as you would a regular appointment.
4. Budget Your Time With An App
Use an app like “RescueTime” that keeps track of how much time you spend on each website or app. “Most of us are not aware of where all our time goes, and this can be very eye opening,” says Snow. “We need to budget our time exactly like we budget our money. When you really sit down and account for where all your waking hours are spent, I can almost guarantee you will be shocked, and you will find some places where you could make cuts.”
5. Utilize Your Lunch Hour
If you work at an office, make the most of your lunch hour. “Instead of using your lunch hour to gossip, why don’t you use it to go to the gym, do your food shopping, run errands, write your book, go for a power walk to get some fresh air, meditate, go to the salon, or meet friends in your lunch hour rather than after work,” says McCrae.
Sometimes, we’re better off with some help. “Let other people handle tasks that they can easily—and have time to—do,” says life coach Jac Julien. “Letting go of control can be difficult, but with the extra time, you can get things done that only you can do.”
7. Set Intentions Each Night For The Following Day
“Set intentions the night before,” says Vito. “Think about what do you want your day to look like. This allows you to consciously plan your day without letting your day overtake you or control you.”