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Do you ever wish there were more hours in the day?
I’ve often thought, “Why can’t I just have a couple more hours to get it all done?!”
As moms, we probably all wish we had 25, 26 or even 30 hours days so we could fit in all we need to accomplish. Yet, like money, no matter what we’ve got, we always seem to max it out. You get a raise and what happens? Your budget shifts and you’re still wondering where it goes at the end of the month.
Well, time is the same way. Even if we had a little more, chances are, it would still feel fleeting. We can’t add more time to our day or extend the clock extra hours, but there are a few ways to maximize our time and budget it wisely.
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We can learn to be mindful. When our focus is divided or we simply space out, time disappears. It may seem we can’t even account for an hour we spent scrolling through the internet, talking on the phone, fixing lunch and “zoning out.”
When we learn to be present, aware and living in the moment, we may find we have more time in our time jar. The other secret to filling your time jar is to keep your schedule organized. Block out your time, tackle your biggest, toughest “to-do” first, and then fill in with the rest. Schedule time to focus on a singular task and do it well. Avoid procrastination.
These simple tricks sound easy enough, but in truth, they take practice. Many of us are pulled in 17 different directions at any given time. We’re busy and rushed, stressed out and overwhelmed.
Take back your schedule! Plan your time out carefully and preciously. We’ve designed our Living Well Planner® so it helps you do just that—deliberately block out time for everything you need to accomplish, set goals and crush them.
When you take control of your schedule, you’ll find little pockets of time you didn’t know you had. There are so many great activities you’ll accomplish and habits you’ll build with5, 15 or 30 extra minutes in your day.
So, what would you do with extra time? Here are a few ideas to make the most of your schedule.
Extra 5 Minutes:
1. Organize Something
How often do we look at a messy drawer, a cluttered cupboard or a pantry shelf and wish we had the time to organize it? Instead of tackling the whole kitchen, an entire cabinet or closet, take a section for five minutes. You’ll be amazed at what you can straighten up in just five minutes.
2. Drink Water
It doesn’t even take five minutes to fill up a class of delicious refreshing water. There are so many benefits to drinking plenty of H2O from better digestion, more energy and healthier skin to boosting your metabolism! Drink a glass of water. Heck, if you have five minutes, drink two!
It’s amazing how time seems to slow and even stop when we’re engaged in prayer and quiet reflection. Meditate, focus on your breathing, pray and take time to connect with a higher power. If you have only five minutes, it will calm you, and provide strength and peace.
4. Read an Article
Sometimes when we skim through the Internet we don’t really absorb or mindfully explore a piece. Instead of speed reading and scrolling through articles and posts, add interesting pieces to your reading list. When you have five minutes, give yourself a quiet moment to read, really absorb and learn.
5. Take Vitamins
Taking a daily multivitamin is great for your nutrition and health. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before you start taking supplements and it’s always better to receive your nutrients through healthy eating…BUT for moms on the go, a vitamin is important, especially if you often eat less-than-optimally nutritious meals.
6. Do Something for Yourself
It might feel a little selfish, but when you have five minutes, consider doing something for yourself. Floss, buff your nails, trim your split ends or do a few light stretches. We’re often so focused on caring for those around us little acts of self-care slide. Take time for yourself.
7. Do Something for Someone Else
If you have five minutes, send a “thinking of you” text to a friend. Help someone who’s struggling to load their groceries in their car. Offer to assist your coworker, your kids or your spouse with something they’re working on.
8. Brew Tea
If you have only five minutes, steep a cup of tea. There’s a reason why this British ritual is regarded as sacred to those who enjoy tea time. It’s calming, it’s warming, and it gives you a moment to sip and quietly reflect. Plus, it hits on all the senses—taste, sight, smell, sound and touch.
Extra 15 Minutes
1. Fix a Healthy Meal
In less than 15-minutes from start to finish, you could have a healthy meal ready and on the table. In fact, there are so many delicious options for fast, easy dinners, you’ll be amazed at the simplicity!
2. Check Your Budget
If you have an extra 15-minute window, take the time to check in on your budget. Schedule a few in-depth budget check-ins throughout the month where you examine your finances more closely. But, if you find yourself with a small pocket of time, it’s a great opportunity to do an extra check on your accounts and see where you’re at.
3. Clean Out a Cupboard or Drawer
If you can clean a shelf or section of a drawer in 5 minutes, in 15 minutes you can organize the whole cupboard! Do a speed organization—simply straighten items up and face them forward, check expiration dates and toss out anything expired.
4. Pamper Yourself
15 minutes is plenty of time for a manicure, pedicure, facial or foot scrub. If you have a window of free time, use it to pamper yourself and do something to help you feel beautiful. You’ll be amazed at what a lift you get from a quick spiff up.
5. Read a Chapter of Your Book
15 minutes is long enough to squeeze in a chapter of the book you’ve been dying to get back to. If you’re waiting at a doctor’s appointment or riding the bus, pull up your Kindle app or keep your book in your handbag. You never know when you’ll have an opportunity to fit in reading.
6. Spend Time with the Kids
In the world of kids, 15 minutes is a long time! It’s almost a quarter of a playdate. You can pretend, read a story, help with a homework project or simply talk with your kids. If you have 15 minutes, spend it listening to what your kiddos have to say.
7. Call a Friend
15 minutes is the perfect length of time to catch up with a family member or friend. Call your cousin, your sister or your favorite aunt. In these days of texting and emailing, we rarely spend time talking with loved ones on the phone. They’ll be so glad to hear from you!
8. Write a Thank You Card
Keep a few spare thank you cards tucked in your planner. Whenever you find a 15-minute window jot a quick note of appreciation. Challenge yourself to thank five people a week. Chances are, if you think about it, you can easily come up with five people who have touched your life recently. Thank them!
Extra 30 Minutes
1. Walk with Your Spouse
With an extra 30 minutes, you can take a walk with your spouse. Hold hands and catch up about the happenings of your day. Enjoy your time together. Walk through your neighborhood and admire the sights and sounds around you. Take the dog or the kids with you or spend time just the two of you together.
2. Create a Meal Plan
30 minutes is more than enough time to create a meal plan for the next week or even the whole month! In your Living Well Planner®, you can create a plan to cook once and eat all week (or even all month) long. Check out our 10 meals in an hour® series to start cooking!
3. Clean Your Closet
A half hour is enough time to straighten up your closet. You may not fit in a total purge and pare down to a 40-hanger closet, but you’ll be well on your way with 30 minutes of organizing time. Start by hanging up items, sorting by color and pulling out anything you know doesn’t work, doesn’t fit, is falling apart, or you don’t feel great in. Bag up the clothes to donate or consign!
4. Enjoy a Nap
I’m not a napper, but some people love 30 minutes of shut-eye. If you’re one of them, take a half hour of blissful, uninterrupted sleep to reenergize and charge your batteries. For those who love napping, it’s the boost you need to rock the rest of your day.
5. Write in Your Journal
Journaling is effective therapy. It can help us express our feelings, explore our memories and make sense of it all. If you find yourself with a 30-minute window, use it to express your thoughts on paper. Do a 30-minute free-write or pick a topic or prompt and write down all that comes to mind.
6. Play a Game with the Kids
When was the last time you and your kids played a game? Get out Uno, Sorry or another favorite board game and have fun! 30 minutes can take you from start to finish. You might even fit in a few rounds of a fast game like memory or Skip-Bo.
With a 30-minute window, you’ll fit in your steps for the day, get your heart pumping and burn calories. 30 minutes of exercise is the minimum recommended by most doctors for optimal health. You don’t need to go to the gym—pop in a DVD, go for a walk or follow a YouTube video to get moving.
8. Bake Cookies
You can use your 30 minutes for exercise, but you can also use it to bake COOKIES! Now, you probably shouldn’t bake a batch of cookies every day with your extra 30 minutes, but you can always fix a batch to share with friends, coworkers and neighbors. Nothing brightens someone’s day like a batch of fresh baked sweets.
Manage your time and free up extra pockets of time throughout your day. If you ever feel like you don’t have time for the little activities and moments that make life special, it’s a sign it’s time to get your schedule under control.
Block out your time to find 5, 15 or 30-minute windows where you can care for yourself and others, accomplish more and get those “extras” done during your day!