We all have those days. Those moments where we simply cannot squeeze another second out of our busy schedules. Between the long work days, endless meetings, looming deadlines, parental duties, relationship needs, school drop-offs, and many more demands,  we have a “timeclock.”  It’s the gridlock of traffic in our daily lives. The bottom line is our timeclock stops productivity and affects wellness. I’ve learned over the years there are ways to find more time in our lives. We just have to make it a priority to implement what many of us intuitively know.

Slow Down
Don’t see everything as being urgent. It’s all too easy in our daily lives to start thinking that everything must be done with a sense of urgency. Take the time to think things through and plan a course of action when necessary. If not, the outcome may not be the right one and this means having to do it all over again to get it right. As they say, “Haste makes waste.” At the end of the day, this means saving time for other activities that you enjoy. Not slowing down can in reality be a kind of addiction. It make us feel productive but often leads to mental and physical burnout. Ask yourself why you are rushing and what would happen if you didn’t? Slowing down can allow you to be more present in the moment, focus on people, eat slower, find pleasure, appreciate your surroundings, and breathe, all associated with better health and improved wellness.

Learn to simplify wherever possible, whether it is at home or at work. In other words, don’t over complicate life and don’t crowd every minute with some task. Life is already complex enough. Start with the little things like planning and prepping meals the night before, glancing over the following day’s calendar, organizing your desk before you leave work or picking out your clothes the night before. Take the time to declutter your office and home space which gives you more time because we aren’t spending so much of it shopping for, picking up, cleaning, organizing, looking for, fixing, picking up again, etc. all the stuff we have. This also leads to less anxiety, stress, and improved relationships.

Say “No”
Vanessa M. Patrick, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Houston said, “The ability to communicate ‘no’ really reflects that you are in the driver’s seat of your own life. It gives you a sense of empowerment.” Saying “no” will give you more time to do that which aligns with your goals and values. When we don’t say no, we can easily become people pleasers which leads to more stress and inefficiency. Be true to yourself and continue to work on this area. Keep your reasons for saying “no” simple, consider a compromise, don’t feel guilty, and buy yourself some time so you can consider all options. Remember, just because someone requests that their concerns or needs become important to you, does not mean they have to be.

Save yourself some time by not doing everything yourself. Get comfortable with the idea that tasks may not be done in the same way as you might do them, but they will get done.  In the professional setting, this allows others to learn, hone their own skills, and become experts. Believe in others, be patient, provide training, grant authority, check on progress, and delegate consistently. In a personal setting, you might reassess household chores and find out who can and should do what.  This can lead to a stronger sense of togetherness, unity, and teamwork. Also realize when you need to ask for help. You cannot be an expert in everything and nor is trying to do it all a good use of your valuable time. Delegating can free up your time for more exercise for example.

Exercise and Recharge
The most common excuse for not exercising is time itself, but as Lavinia Rodriguez points out, it is usually because of lack of motivation, lack of enjoyment, negative associations, fear or perhaps low self-esteem. Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Exercise leads to increased energy, vitality, stamina, alertness, and a positive mindset.  Recharge by taking the time to meditate, close your eyes, breathe deeply, listen to music or take a walk.

Clarify your Vision
Think about what you want out of life and how much you can get actually get done. Take a good hard look at all of your activities and consider whether they add to your life. If they do, keep them, but if they don’t, it’s likely time to eliminate them. Clarity means having a clear understanding and vision of what you want, where are you going, and what path to take to get there. This clear vision allows us to re-energize and motivate ourselves, in turn allowing us to reach our professional and personal goals. Trying to do too much or not having clarity uses up valuable time and hinders the attainment of our goals.

Each of us has a bank and its name is TIME. Whatever we have not used for good purpose is simply lost. There is no carry over so if you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against tomorrow. Live in the present on today’s deposits and invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success.