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Seldom, if ever, is the day long enough. I could use a little more time to get one more task done, call back one more person, spend a little more time with my family, or maybe get a few minutes more sleep. I would really like to have a 25 hour day.

What if I could save just 2 to 3 minutes an hour? What would happen? What could happen? If I did, I might just be able to simulate having that extra hour. Over the years, I have a few tricks I have discovered that help me squeeze that extra hour a day…

1. Put stuff away.
Somewhere I heard about or read a study that said it took an average of 7 seconds to put something away but it took “x” minutes to find a misplaced item. (Wish I could remember the study. If I find it I’ll add a link later.) Looking for stuff wastes time – whether it is your keys or a computer file, the clock ticks while you look for something. If you always put stuff away, it will save time later. Think of it as your “7 second rule”.

2. Do multiple things simultaneously.
Proper multitasking is not a bad thing. When I use the term “proper” I’m talking about turning your computer on as you first get to your desk. While it’s booting up you can: take your coat off, pour a cup of coffee, scan your to do list, water your flowers or whatever quick task you can get done.

3. Prioritize.
Just like budgeting your personal finances, it is important to budget your time. For example, it’s important to prioritize your finances to pay for a mortgage before paying for a vacation. Similarly with time, it’s important to separate it based the most important things to get done first — or you will find you spent all your time on the irrelevant. (Here’s an earlier blog post about prioritizing.)

4. Eat well. Sleep well. Exercise well. Eat chocolate well.
What? That all takes time! Yep – but just like putting gas in your car and changing the oil when needed we actually are more productive in our time usage if we take care of ourselves. You are a complete person. Your life should reflect that.

5. Don’t let yourself get interrupted (too much).
Try to complete tasks once you start. It takes longer to start back up again rather than if you just finished it in the first place, especially smaller tasks. Or maybe you need to decide how to chunk bigger tasks into manageable slots of your day. Plan to be interrupted. You will be. Knowing this, you can take the initiative and gain the advantage.

Be intentional.
Melissa