Right, you bunch of lazy bastards. It’s time to wake up, slap yourself in the face and realise that you’re all living a lie.
There is no such thing as not having enough time. It’s an excuse, an illusion.
The truth is, either you’re terrible at organising your day or you’re using a lack of time as an excuse to get out of something.
When one of my guitar students tells me that they ‘literally haven’t had the time to pick up the guitar’ I just see someone who is living a lie. They are creating an imaginary tale as a means to absolve themselves from blame.
Unless you’re Jack Bauer and you have to diffuse a bomb between 6pm and 7pm – you’ve got no excuses. Actually Jack, what are you doing 15 minutes before bedtime? That’s right, nothing. So there’s a nice little window of opportunity to pick up the guitar and have a little practice.
(I don’t actually teach Jack Bauer. Don’t get me wrong, I tried, but he’s always busy.)
A far more likely reason for not having enough time is a genuine lack of desire. If you’ve bought a musical instrument but it just sits in the corner, gathering dust, then there’s a good chance that you don’t really want to play the damned thing. If you keep renewing your gym membership each month but it’s been several weeks since your last workout, then health and fitness just isn’t on your list of priorities.
Also, and you might think I am being unfair, but if you keep arranging to meet up with someone and continually cancel, then it’s probably time to admit that you don’t really give a shit.
Cut out the excuses and take a long, hard look at your life. How much time are you really wasting? How disorganised are you? How many of your day to day activities are actually just unhealthy habits in disguise?
It’s about time you gave yourself a chance…
1. Take a shower instead of a bath
Are you a bather or a shower fiend? I love baths, and so should you, but one easy way to create an extra 30 minutes is to save baths for those special occasions when you need to chill out after a long week.
2. Wake up an hour earlier
This is probably the toughest item on this list. If you’re anything like me then you’ll hate your alarm clock with a passion (but love the snooze button). Start waking up 5 minutes earlier each day and in less than 2 weeks you’ll have an extra hour to rock out.
3. Hire a nanny, Au pair or babysitter
I know you love your kids, and they may not exactly shower you with affection, but they love you right back. Trouble is; they are damn time consuming. Once or twice a week, leave the little terrors with your family or hire someone to take them off your hands for a few hours. ‘You’ time is important time and you can’t put a price on that.
4. Make use of your lunch break
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t just sit in the canteen with the other zombies, patiently waiting for the clock to summon you back to the office with its beckoning hands of doom – use that time wisely. Go somewhere, do something, annoy someone – anything!
5. Leave the car at home and commute to work
This may seem counter intuitive but think logically. If you’re driving you can’t do anything else bar drive. If you commute, you may double your journey duration but your hands are free for other practical tasks such as studying, writing or pushing the other passengers out of the way.
6. Work remotely
Tell your boss that you’re working from home tomorrow. Then have a day off.
7. Quit the gym and workout at home
Eliminate the variables like travel, motivation and those weird sweat stains by quitting your gym and working out at home. You’ll never miss a session and you can always squeeze in a mini workout regardless of your schedule – which brings me to…
8. Create a definite schedule
Grab a pen and paper – got it? Good. Now write out a schedule for tomorrow. Procrastination is the ultimate time killer so punch it in the face and take control of your day.
9. Prioritise your projects
There are only two things you should ever spend your time doing. Those which are important and those which bring you joy. Put those at the top of your ‘to-do’ list and you’ll spend less time doing the things that you hate.
10. Throw away your television
Let’s be honest, 95% of television these days is awful. Save what’s left of your sanity by throwing away your television and embrace the power of the written word; unless you need to watch Game of Thrones, obviously.
11. Condense activities together
If cutting things out proves to be difficult – there is a way around it. Play guitar while watching a movie. Listen to Spanish in your car. If you’re still having baths, read a book and feel free to award yourself extra points if you can have sex while making an important phone call.
12. Cut unnecessary people from your life
As soon as you read the title of this entry you immediately thought of someone who is dragging you down. Don’t hang out with this person through habit or misplaced loyalty. If they are draining the joy from your life then maybe it’s time to severe the ties completely…
13. Pull a sickie
Be honest, you think about this nearly every working day so indulge a little and give yourself an opportunity to relax. Ditch your megalomania and understand that the wheels will keep turning without your presence. Your company won’t collapse and you’ll return to work with a fresher mind. Remember; stress, anxiety and depression are as legit as the flu so if you need to take a day off – don’t be afraid of doing so.
It’s also a great way to catch up if you’ve fallen behind…
14. Have set days off
You may think that working an 80 hour week makes you a badass, but in reality it’s just ruining your life. If you can’t do your job without taking a day off then you’re either not working hard enough or you’re an idiot, so…
15. Delegate your tasks where possible
Although it’s unbelievably tempting to do everything yourself, you’ll probably achieve better results and free up loads of time by spreading the love and getting others to do some of your dirty work. This is made infinitely easier if you’re already in a position of power.
Or you’re a sadist.
16. Learn to say no
When used at the right time, this is one hell of a powerful word. Responsibilities aside, say yes to everything that will enrich your life and turn down everything else.
17. Leave the internet alone
Woah, wait up. Not yet. Finish this article first. Actually if you could share this with your friends or leave a comment before you go, that’ll be great. While you’re at it, try spending a day without your phone – your productivity will go through the roof!
18. Cut out your excuses
Oh woe you. You’ve got responsibilities and other grown up stuff to do. So has the rest of the world.
19. Calm down
Remove yourself from the chaos, take 5 minutes out and relax. Accept the situation and realise that stress is only temporary. Shit gets done and shit moves on. Don’t worry about it. Just remember to take advantage of your next window of opportunity.
20. Take control of your life
Your life doesn’t control you – it’s just a collection of organic substances and inanimate objects. You control your life. You are the hero of your own story so decide what you’re going to do next.
21. Pick something. Do it. Repeat.
Did you make your decision? Good. Now get out there and kick some ass!
Which of these time saving tips will make the biggest difference in your life?
Do you have any other tips to share?
Let me know in the comments, thanks!
Some good ideas here Jamie. Although if you substitute binge watching crap for binge reading crap (the T word and 50 shades of grey comes to mind) I am not convinced that you’re any better off!
Learning to say no is a big, no, huge one. And not just to other people or responsibilities, but to things you think you want to do/think are important too.
One way to gain massive amounts of time could be to quit your job if they agree to rehire you on freelance basis/give you a part time job telecommuting, and then move to a place with significantly lower living expenses. My monthly expenses here in Chiang Mai > 500$. So if I get my hourly rate up to 31$, I would only need to work 4 hours per week to maintain my current life. Basically, in one move(pun intended), I have closed most of the distance between me and the idolized “4 hour work week”.
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Hi Ragnar, I’m pretty jealous that you have managed to relocate whilst still earning enough to live a good life. My problem is that the countries I wish to move to are probably just as expensive, if not more so, than the UK. I won’t be moving to Norway though… I’m not that rich 🙂
Even choosing to live in a smaller town rather than the big city can mean a big, big difference in expenses, allowing you to possibly work less. I have other countries that are more expensive that I’m planning to visit, but they simply get pushed to the bottom of the list. I’ll go there when I can afford to, haha. (Ironically, I will probably be unable to live in Norway for a few years too.)
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I’ve actually pondered moving to Norway for a year or so, earn as much as I can, live like a monk and then return home with my new found wealth. 🙂
This is a great list Jamie! We all have 24 hours every day but we don’t all use them to work towards the things that are most important to us.
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That’s right Ed. We all have the same amount of hours in the day, and most of us waste that time by idly watching life pass us by.
Thanks for the kick in the pants I needed to boil down my rules for happiness:
Rule #1: If you like something, enjoy it.
Rule #2: If you don’t like something, avoid it.
Rule #3: If you can’t avoid it, change it.
Rule #4: If you can’t (or won’t) avoid it or change it, accept it.
I printed these out and handed it to someone who asked me if I could bottle my outlook and give him a little.
But, I still can’t manage to get up early. So I stay up late, and don’t do anything mentally taxing when I am sleep deprived. And, naps help.
I hope the kick didn’t hurt too much 😉
Those are great rules, and I believe in them 100%.
Also naps are one of the greatest ways to spend time, in my opinion.
Love it, but what do you do when a person literally can’t hear the word ‘no’? I recently was ill and couldn’t attend a birthday party. The email went something like this:
Me: Hi, I’m sick and I won’t be able to make it tomorrow, have a great party.
Them: Cool, get there at 7pm
Then, when I didn’t come, world war three started. Similarly, this person regularly says ‘I’m ruining this or that’ if I say no to something, as if she can’t do something alone or whatnot – this has caused me heaps of grief especially at work when she calls and crys, demanding I attend something with her to the exclusion of my friends. Your point number 12 is well taken, however this is a family member. My silver bullet idea is to simply move to another state/country. What do you think?
It doesn’t matter if a person doesn’t listen to the word ‘no’. As long as you say it – it’s up to them whether they accept it or not. All you can do is say the magic word – everything else is not your responsibility. I had a friend like this. He wouldn’t accept when I didn’t want to do something, but if that’s the way the cookie crumbles, then they have to deal with it.
At first, I find it hard to believe it because I feel like “There’s no such thing as quick and easy towards everything”, everything should be done in perfect timing.
The two most challenging part is “Waking up early” (when you don’t have enough sleep though) and to “Take Control of Your Life” because everyone has always something to say about what you’re doing. And since those people will either say “Positive” or “Negative” about us, there we go to “Cut Unnecessary people in our life” that bring us down, hell yeah, you’re right, better to remove them than mind their attacks, just a waste of time and energy.
Good post friend !
Hey, quick and easy just means that everything is in your control. To your last point; it’s up to you whether you allow someone to influence your actions with their opinion or if you should cut them out altogether. I agree with waking up early. It’s so simple in theory, but if you haven’t had enough sleep then waking up when all you want to do is hide under the covers, is one of the most challenging things in existence.. (possible over-exaggeration) 🙂
I sometimes make the excuse that I don’t have the time to go to the gym. In reality, I do have the time, I just choose to not go to the gym. I think that is what happens for most – we have the time, we just choose to not doing something and as a result end up making the excuse that we are too busy to do it.
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Hey Don, that’s exactly right. Most people can do something, they just choose an easier option. Which is fine, but the worst part is when we lie to ourselves afterwards. I would rather say to myself ‘I can’t be bothered to go to the gym tonight’ than say ‘I think I’m due a rest day, I’ll go tomorrow’ when I know full well that I’m just being a lazy shit.
You could add shopping to the list. Top recreational activity for some but a trip to mall takes time and money and then clutters the home up. In truth we don’t need more stuff and it’ll not make us happier.
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Peter, that’s an excellent choice. Minimalism is a great way of freeing up many things, including mental/physical space as well as time. Thanks for the input.
You are flipping funny! Your sense of humor in your writing had me laughing throughout. I needed that. The article title and the “you lazy bastards” got me to click the link from my email. I cracked up when I read that. I like how you tell it like it is. Your in-your-face humorous style made me keep reading. Just when I thought I knew the basics of how to free up more time, you enlightened me with so many more ideas. I really enjoyed this one. I think you were even funnier than ever with your creative writing. Who knew humor could be such a motivator! Thanks for that. I’ll be looking forward to future articles.
Hey, thanks Tina. That means a lot. 😀
Great post mate. I think the value of not commuting in your car, if you have a long commute is very valuable. Since I have to drive in my car a lot, I have found that listening to podcasts or books on tape helps me to learn new things or hear interesting stories instead of zoning out to random songs on the radio. This gives me the motivation to go talk to the guy who just lets his dog dig deep ass holes in the park. Tell him to stop. No one wants to break their ankle by stepping on that.
Sebastian Aiden Daniels recently posted..Why you Need to Change your Toxic Relationships
Thanks, Sebastian. It seems like you already know the value of combining two activities together for your own benefit. As I don’t drive, I spend a lot of time either walking, or on public transport, and as such, I now try to listen to a lot of German in my headphones while doing these things. That’s easily a couple of hours a day I would otherwise be ‘wasting’ by staring at the floor or out of the window. Thanks for your thoughts.
I love this post! You should consider turning it into a pdf or Kindle mini book:)
I limit the amount of time I watch TV or surf the web (social media) which has allowed me to save a lot of time. I also listen to personal or spiritual growth content while driving and working out.
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Thanks Dan, too late to turn it into a mini eBook now – it’s out there! 🙂
You’ve given me an idea for something else though – so thanks for that!
Love this, Jamie. You couldn’t sound more English if you tried !
I did the whole throw-out-my-TV thing – and I ended up being easily distracted by other things – THE INTERNET, for example. So then productivity became more of a focus on what the f I wanted, as opposed to mindlessly filling time.
For me, the most important thing is to plan. Not have a strict schedule as such, but to plan my time week-by-week. It keeps me on track with goals, and eliminates any guilt for not doing something when I ‘should’ be.
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Haha, thanks. Why does this sound English? Normally people think I sound too ‘American’ – whatever that means 😉
Awesome post Jamie!
The two biggest things I’ve cut out to save time were: Television and People.
Not just any type of people, but negative people. Those who only brought me down, and talked about other people. Surrounding myself with those people just brought out the worst in me; and I was actually giving up my time to hangout with them.
I’m currently working on a little course for simplifying and cutting out things in life, and a lot of this post is on par with my ideas.
Thanks so much,
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