What would you do with an extra hour each day? Would you spend it sleeping, would you decide to pick up a new hobby or would you read a book? There are plenty of things that you could spend that extra hour on, but how do you reach that point in the first place? Most people would say it’s impossible–that it’s not realistic to free up an entire hour of your time in a single day.

However, as we’ll be explaining in this article, it’s possible to make more time for yourself in a day and we’re going to show you exactly how to do it.

Identifying and removing distractions

In order to make up an extra hour of time in the day, it’s important to actually think about the places in your day where you can actually save time or turn unproductive time into something more useful. There are likely many areas in your life where you’re spending more time than you should, so it’s important to first identify these distractions and find out what is feasible to cut out and what should be considered your private time.

For instance, here are a couple of things that could be considered a waste of time and thus should be shortened:

  • Procrastinating by neglecting your actual responsibilities
  • Taking too long in the shower or toilet because you’re entertaining yourself with things like your smartphone or music
  • Distractions caused by social media on your phone which pull your attention away
  • Taking a long break during or after lunch when you should be getting back to work
  • Playing video games for longer than you really should
  • Neglecting core responsibilities and activities that have a more drastic impact on your life
  • Failing to prioritize things in your life that should take precedence
  • Refusing to delegate tasks and trying to manage too many things on your own
  • Dragging on conversations that should be ended sooner

These are a couple of the most concerning things that you should be worried about. The idea is to cut down and shorten many of these activities because if they drag on for too long, it can cause you to become slow, unproductive and lazy.

For your personal situation, you need to take an objective look at how you live your life. Do you feel that your tasks can be completed in a shorter amount of time? Do you think that you’re relaxing too much when you should be working? Do you tend to procrastinate and lounge around when you should be doing something productive? These are honest quests you need to ask yourself and answer. It’s very easy to just neglect this kind of self-criticism of your own life, but it’s vital that you do it in order to identify where you can save time.

Only once you become honest with yourself can you free up an extra hour or even more time each day to dedicate to yourself. This isn’t an easy task by any stretch, but in the next section, we’re going to explain a couple of ways that you can cut down on these activities and refocus your mind so that you’re more productive.

Cracking down on procrastination

One of the first ways to make extra time in your day (and one of the biggest contributing factors) is to simply cut down on procrastination. This essentially means identifying areas of your day which feel “lost” and figuring out why that is. There are a number of reasons for losing time to procrastination and it ultimately boils down to distractions, so here are a couple of ways to be more mindful about how you spend your time.

  • Make sure you have a goal at every hour of the day so you’re focused and are working towards a goal
  • Dedicate time in your day to relaxing so that you don’t randomly decide to procrastinate and take your mind off work
  • Turn off your phone and log off social media websites during work or busy periods so that you’re not distracted
  • Focus on your tasks instead of allowing your mind to drift
  • If you’re forced to wait at certain periods of the day due to your work, then consider finding a productive solution to combat those wait times such as listening to an educational podcast or reading a book
  • Either use or avoid music depending on your needs. For instance, if you’re doing something that is fairly repetitive such as manual labour then music can help keep you active.
  • However, if your task involves a lot of thinking such as writing blog posts then you want to avoid music with lyrics since it can disrupt your train of thought

These are just a couple of ideas to help you avoid procrastination, but there are many more that will be unique to individuals. However, these must be discovered so it’s best to record a log of when and why you procrastinate and find practical solutions using that data.

Speeding up the necessary tasks in your day

Many people fail to realize that a lot of everyday tasks can be sped up so that you have more time for other things. For instance, you might think that you need to wake up early at 6 AM to get ready and prepared to leave work for 7 AM, but you could likely speed up some tasks or prepare beforehand so that you get an extra 30 minutes of sleep.

This could include things such as preparing breakfast or lunch the day before, ensuring your bag is packed and ready to go before you go to sleep or even planning what to wear and getting all of your daily skincare and makeup items ready the night before. This can also include taking a shower faster, adding a morning workout to get your metabolism going or even running through a morning ritual every day in order to get yourself accustomed to the faster and more focused mornings.

This is a great way to find inefficiencies in what you do every day so that you can speed up time, procrastinate less and ultimately get more time to yourself.

When to have fun and when to get to work

A rather difficult decision to make in life is knowing when to have fun and when to work. There are people that focus too much on playing around and will end up spending hours playing video games, binging on their shows when they should be taking a shower and making food or even spending way too much money on materialistic things.

Entertainment and treating yourself are important uses of your money, but you need to understand that there’s a limit to what you can spend and how much time you should spend on it. For instance, playing the best slots online is a fun way to get some quick thrills and potentially win some of your money back, but it should be seen as just that; a bit of fun. You’re using that money to purchase entertainment and that’s about as far as it should go. Once you’ve built some discipline and can control your urges by balancing your work and entertainment, you’ll have a much easier time being productive when it counts and relaxing to the fullest with zero worries on your mind.

Refocusing yourself after a break

Taking breaks is necessary to be productive throughout the day, but it’s important to understand when you should be taking a break and how to get back into the working mood after your break is over. There are a couple of ways to do this:

  • Take shorter breaks so you don’t get distracted too much. Take around 5 to 15 minutes to stretch your legs, get a drink or eat a snack while you walk around. After that, you’re free to get back into your work without becoming too distracted
  • Bring your lunch with you to work instead of going out to get food. This generally takes longer and gives your mind time to wander and think of other things
  • Try to avoid people unless you need to catch up with someone as it can extend your break unnecessarily
  • Be diligent about when you end your break so that you build discipline and focus on finishing your tasks and responsibilities efficiently

Refocusing after an extended break is incredibly difficult if the break you take is fairly long. In short, focus on taking shorter breaks so that you’re less likely to waste your time procrastinating.

Understanding your life priorities

Everyone has different priorities in life but it’s important to understand which of yours should take precedence. When people finally get home after a long day at work, they’ll usually either take a shower, put their feet up, put the kettle on or just relax on the sofa. Everyone has their own idea of what the ideal sequence should be, but the goal is to focus on what’s most important for your needs and your life.

Some examples of priorities might include your family, work, hobbies, relationships or even personal growth. Some may focus on self-care as a priority, meaning that that they’ll focus on improving their mood as soon as they get home from work. Others prioritize their family, meaning the first thing they do is start planning dinner for their kids. It’s all depending on your personal needs and the lifestyle you want to live.