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How Do I Get More Time? The Home Edition

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

I used to ask myself this all the time and to be fair, it still happens! Do you wonder this too?

Maybe you had a good solution and felt in harmony but then the season changed and things are no longer manageable. Maybe you have streamlined one routine but now something else is glaringly out of whack. What specifically can we do to help make more time? improving all the systems!

Let's cover more specifics about how you can get more time at home.

Tip #1 - Paper Review

A Paper Review is a weekly time allocated for reviewing all papers so that you can identify your highest priority actionable items for the upcoming week. Everything gets your attention during this time and you decide what needs action. Then those tasks get scheduled on your calendar. This process is always Step 1 for me when I am feeling overwhelmed. I wrote how exactly I do it here.

Doing the Paper Review:

  • helps to quantify what action needs taken

  • helps prioritize those actions among all the tasks

  • and allows you to commit to when the tasks will be done

This eliminates a constant to do list that is always looming. By scheduling the tasks that need your attention, you can see what time is now available.

Tip #2 - Task Stack

When you do schedule all those actionable tasks on your calendar as part of the Paper Review, use task stacking to do like things in one sitting. This minimizes shifting between tasks and maximizes your efforts while you are focused.

During a lunch hour, make all 3 of the phone calls that need to be done for the week or send all the emails for the week.

Similarly, as you observe your drive for the week, schedule in stops you know need to be made. I despise losing precious weekend time to errands that I could have easily made throughout my week. This way, you may only need to run to an out of the way place or two, giving you back your time.

Tip #3 - Power Hour

We all have tasks that we avoid doing. What if you dedicated one hour (or whatever time makes sense to you) to tackling those irritating or remaining tasks that never get completed? Power through them! Once you get started, it will be so satisfying to cross another off the list. It frees up brain space and things lingering in your schedule.

Tip #4 - Routines

Routines are already a big part of your life. Consider the addition of one thing to an existing morning or evening routine that over time, might save you time.

Very often, I am unable to keep up with the laundry that piles up during the week. It no longer serves me to just do it all on the weekend. Not only does that take a lot of time, it is not when I have the energy for that type of work. I do however, have some good morning routine energy and now start a load of laundry while or following getting the boys' breakfast going and my coffee prepared. I work from home most days and so when I come down during my day, that load get switched to the dryer. I move through loads during the week this way.

Shortcut: during the day, I add the next load to the washer so in the morning routine, I am simply starting it. The work of sorting and loading is already done! I am simply starting the washer and letting it wash while I work.

Can you think of one thing that there is just not time for and include it in one of your other routines so that little by little, you are moving the needle and not even thinking about it?

Tip #5 - Outsource

I do not assume that this option is available to everyone. For many, it is a luxury and I acknowledge that. Not all outsourcing involves a monetary cost to you though.

Consider these questions:

  • Is there an opportunity for a partner or a kid to pick up something that you currently do and own it?

  • Know a teenager who would love an opportunity to make a few bucks (or trade for something of value to them) and lessen your load at the same time?

  • Is there an opportunity to truly outsource outside of your household. Housekeeping help, yard work help, meal prepping help?

  • Even if the resources aren't there for these services on an ongoing basis, could a one time service free you up?

Could a single deep clean help give you some time back for a few weeks? Could a spring cleanup service in the yard give you back time to start an organizing project in the house? Could an afternoon of babysitting allow you to catch up on a project or allow you to tear into a hobby that hasn't gotten time lately?

Those are a lot of questions but think about the opportunity to outsource some task around your house that doesn't require YOU to do it. If so, these options could give you more time!

Tip #6 - Plan, Plan, Plan

According to Brian Tracy's Law of Planning, each minute you plan saves 10 minutes in execution. That's significant. Any planning that you do ahead of time already begins to give you more time when it comes to completing those planned schedules or tasks. It's a win!

I want to emphasize that these approaches may only be good for a season and like all systems, you will have to revisit them but once you have these tools, just circle back and refine.

Any one or all of these approaches may help you build processes around your home and over time, you can utilize the time saved for what you choose. What would you do with more time?

Wait! There's another list of tips for getting more time at work here!

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