Due to the inevitable cycle of daylight savings time, we’re forced to reconsider our time management skills at least twice a year. Even though there’s always 24 hours in a day, this man-made tradition tricks our brains into thinking we have either gained or lost an hour of time, a phenomenon affectionately referred to as “falling back” and “springing forward.”
While an extra hour in your back pocket may sound like a dream (and losing 60 minutes may sound like a nightmare), daylight savings time really won’t earn you back any valuable ticks on the clock. If you really want to make the most of the hours you have, it’s time to reconsider your time management.
Consider these tips for cutting down on wasted time and gaining back an hour of productive time:
Work in Chunks of Interrupted Time
Thanks to social media, emails, smartphones and a million other flashing reminders in our daily lives, our brains have been rewired to multitask at all times. Unfortunately, while it may feel more productive in the moment, multitasking can actually slow down your progress and waste time on detours. Instead, consider devoting smaller chunks of time to one activity at a time, completely uninterrupted by other distractions. Setting a time to alert you after a predetermined amount of time, such as 25 minutes, can let you know when to step away again and focus on something new.
Visualize Your Day
If you’ve ever screamed, “Where did the day go?!” at the end of a work day, you’re not alone. Often, we can’t see where all the time went when the day is done. One way to combat this feeling is to find a way to make the way you use your time visual. Try plugging every single activity of your day – from showering to spreadsheets – into a digital calendar. Sometimes, just seeing our priorities illustrated hour-by-hour with our own two eyes can help us find areas of improvement.
Don’t Just Fall Asleep, Plan
The benefits of better sleep are well-documented, but bear repeating. Just think about all of the time you’ve wasted in the past year watching television in bed trying to fall asleep, hitting snooze on your morning alarm or accidentally sleeping in after a rough night. A few minutes here and an hour there can really add up! Rather than just relying on your body to fall asleep naturally, make a tangible plan to improve your sleep. Designating a room to be used only for sleep, committing to a regular routine and avoiding stimulating activities before catching some shut eye can go a long way.
Use Your Commute Wisely
Some of my favorite commute activities include yelling at bad drivers, getting annoyed by radio commercials and spilling coffee all over myself. Instead of wasting the time spent getting to and from work on silly distractions, finding a better use of your time can help you gain back valuable minutes. Find a moment to catch-up on emails or dig in on some microlearning (just make sure to do it in a safe, hands-free way if you’re driving!)
If your productivity feels inconsistent, it may be because you haven’t been able to stick to a regular routine of time management. By committing to a recurring schedule, you can retrain your brain to work more efficiently. After a while, your new streamlined timetable will become second nature for your body and mind.
Daylight savings time can feel like a cruel joke. Just when we thought we were used to our daily routine, time finds a way to trip us up. Instead of being caught off guard, take a minute to properly plan out your daily schedule and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. Now comes the tough question, “What do I do with all of this extra time!?”
Do you have any time management life hacks to share? Don’t waste another moment; please comment below!