Do you ever sit and think about how there is never enough time in a day to get everything done? Time saving just doesn’t seem possible.
Actually, no, I bet hardly anybody does that. No one has time to think, let alone sit and think because we’re all far too swept up in life. But at some point, we’ve all said the cliché phrase, ‘I wish there was more time in a day’.
Don’t deny it.
I have yet to come across someone who thinks, ‘I wish days had less hours in them,’ or, ‘I wish I had less time.’
I suppose if you’re retired and find yourself with all the time in the world on your hands after a life-long slog of working, maybe then you might have a different feeling about each day.
However, even the people that I know or have met, who are retired, usually say things like, ‘I don’t know how I ever managed to get everything done in a day when I was working full time!’
Yes, that’s more like reality!
How can we make more time in our day?
Do you ever think about how we can make more time in our day for ourselves? There are countless ways to save minutes here and there and work towards creating a time management schedule that allows us to get everything done…but today I’m going to simply offer one suggestion. Just one.
This one suggestion will certainly be swiftly ignored by most readers. Many will just think, ‘I’ve heard it all before,’ and some might even be thinking, ‘That’s not possible.’
But the reason you’ve heard it before, yet you’re still feeling pressed for time, is because you haven’t heeded the advice given.
Here I am, about to tell you again, and hopefully this time you will listen.
The one effective time saving tip
So you want to know the one simple time saving tip that will have a positive impact on your day?
Stop sleeping at nights. This will give you an extra 6 – 8 hours a day!
JUST KIDDING! Of course that’s not the advice. (Although it would be nice to only need a few hours of sleep each night. Think of the time we’d gain!)
Getting back on track – the real number one time saving tip to creating more time in your day is to…
…put down your smart phone!
There, I’ve said it but you don’t want to hear it. No one does. But before you stop reading, just take out your phone and check one thing for me. (Oh, can you feel the irony of me asking you to take out your phone after what I’ve just told you?)
What’s your digital balance?
First, get your mobile phone and look into the screen usage time. This function is usually found in your ‘settings’ menu and has a name like screen time or digital balance.
Next, you can see how long you’ve been on your phone and what apps have taken up the majority of your time. You can even check how many times in a day you’ve picked up and unlocked your screen!
For some of us, it will be very surprising, shocking even, to see just how much we use our phones on a daily basis. If you’re in any sort of denial, this might be an eye-opener.
Moreover, you can even see a breakdown of what apps you have used and for how long. Those few WhatsApp messages you send each day, well they might have totalled up to almost half an hour of your time! (I’m guilty of that.)
Half an hour. What would you do with an extra half hour to spare?
Have you been scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, reading up on your friends’ updates and looking at photos that make you envious – no, jealous – because you’re not on the stunning seaside holiday they are?
I fully realise that in today’s world, it’s almost impossible (but not completely!) to live without technology, particularly mobile phones. After all, they are just mini computers that we carry in our pockets all day.
But let me ask you this. Would you sit down and boot up your laptop to look at what you’re looking at on your phone? Chances are ‘no’.
The downside of convenience
It seems that a lot of what we do on our smartphones, we do out of sheer convenience. For instance, you get up in the morning and you take your phone to the bathroom with you. (Yes, we know you do.) Consequently, your morning ‘toilet business time’ has just gone from five minutes to fifteen minutes! There’s ten minutes…gone already.
Similarly, you’re having breakfast before dashing off to work but you’re checking your phone while you eat. As a result, a task which would normally have taken you five minutes has now taken you fifteen minutes. And all just because you dined with Mr. Mobile. There’s 10 minutes gone.
Likewise, you have a break at work. Almost habitually, you grab your phone to check up on messages and what is happening in the digital social world around you.
In days gone by, you might have sat down and had a coffee with a colleague and connected. You might have gone for a walk or you might have sat and read a book (paper form, not on a Kindle!). However, after taking out your phone, you seem to have run out of time and just manage a quick dash to the coffee station before getting back to your work. That’s your break over and in short, you didn’t achieve anything.
You see, the concept of convenience has made us do things simply because it’s convenient, even when we don’t actually need to do it.
My smart phone makes me late
Hopefully you are starting to see just how time consuming our smart phones can be. I am by no means saying that I am not in this category.
On the contrary. I hold my hand up and say that I am in the same boat as many other smart phone users. They are addictive as hell and they can end up controlling our lives.
However, I have come to realise that when I have run out of time, it is a high probability that it had something to do with my phone.
All the days that I am running late for the school run usually have something in common. I just had to check one quick thing in my inbox or I just had to quickly finish reading the article about (insert topic of choice here).
If I’m getting to bed late, it’s almost always linked to my smart phone. (I blame YouTube entirely.)
In the end, it seems to be making me late for important things. It seems to be distracting me from real life and interfering with my time.
Disconnecting can mean connecting more
We all know the dreaded feeling of accidentally leaving your smart phone at home. In other words, you have to go through the entire day without a link to the outside world.
Oh the utter torture! You feel lost, you feel disconnected, you feel incomplete!
But…I’m willing to bet that while you felt disconnected, you actually connected more. For instance, you had time to take a little walk and connect with yourself. You had time to look around at real life happening around you – and not just virtual lives on a screen.
I bet you even had time to have a real conversation with a human that you otherwise might not have even noticed was there.
It’s an addiction
All I’m trying to point out is the fact that our mobile phones are addictive. The apps that we install on them are designed to attract our attention and keep us coming back for more.
Our smart phones are almost like a digital version of a nicotine dispenser. One message or update at a time.
We haven’t had a message in a while? Well then we send out a handful of messages, knowing that eventually they will get replied to and our dopamine hormone will be released, giving us a little hit of pleasure. Ah! We want MORE of that!
Wash, rinse, repeat!
What is a realistic solution to help save time?
Even though the top time saving tip was to put down your smart phone, I didn’t mean forever. I know that this is clearly not a viable option in the modern world as not many people can be expected to not have a smart phone in today’s society. In short, I’m not asking you to live without one.
While, of course, it’s technically doable to live without a smart phone, most people’s lives are too complex to manage conveniently without one.
Most people’s jobs and careers require a smart phone. The world is built around technology and being able to tap into virtual tools at any given moment.
However, I’m simply suggesting that there are small changes we can all make to help add a little extra, well-spent time into each day.
Here are a few top time saving tips to help you put down your smart phone in order to find yourself with that much-needed extra time.
How to put down your smart phone and start saving time
✔️ Turn your phone on silent for periods of time throughout the day
For periods throughout your day, when you tend to get distracted, turn your phone on silent. If you’re trying to get something done, you don’t need your phone. When you’re out with friends, you’re busy so turn it on silent. Even when you’re at home spending time with your kids, silence your phone.
We often find excuses to go on our phones so eliminate the chances of that happening. You could always put it on vibrate if you’re worried you might miss an important call. You could even turn it off completely once in a while – if you dare!
✔️ Set specific times for replying to emails and messages
These days, it’s quite normal to subscribe to a plethora of blogs and newsletters, as well as getting a never-ending string of work emails. This creates a constant influx of emails which can easily eat into a big chunk of our day if we let them.
Set yourself specific times in your day that you read and reply to emails and messages so that you’re not constantly distracted as they arrive in your inbox. At all other times, try not to read or reply to them so that you can focus on the task at hand.
✔️ Don’t take your phone to bed
If you find you don’t have enough time at night or you are going to bed too late, then don’t take your phone to bed with you. (This is another popular suggestion you would have heard before – but seriously, don’t!)
Many people have good intentions of going to bed on-time, then they quickly just ‘check one little thing’ and before they know it, it’s almost midnight and they are still scrolling!
If you use it as an alarm, put your phone across the room, away from your arm’s reach. You’ll still hear the alarm and you’ll actually have to get up to turn it off. This will stop you using the ‘snooze’ function too, which is a good habit in and of itself!
✔️ Set limits for specific apps
Use your mobile phone and its screen-time functions to your advantage. Set a reasonable time limit for the apps that take up most of your time. When your time limit is reached, you can’t use that app again for the rest of the day. (But don’t go giving yourself three hours for Facebook. That defeats the purpose!)
Think about how much time you would realistically like to spend on an app (particularly the time-consuming ones) that won’t eat into your day. Set yourself a timer or even use your phone to help!
If you use an iPhone, check out this post from How-To Geek all about How to set an app time limit on iPhone and iPad.
If you’re on an Android device, check out this post from How-To Geek all about How to set app time limits and block apps on android.
✔️ Use ‘airplane mode’
Turn your phone on ‘airplane mode’ for longer times throughout your day so that you get no wi-fi, bluetooth or data connection. This way you can still use your phone for checking the time, taking photos and using anything that’s downloaded on your phone (like music) but social media and any on-line only apps won’t be accessible.
This will help to diminish the temptation to keep checking your phone!
Do keep in mind that phone calls won’t come through either so make sure you aren’t expecting any important calls if you use this trick.
✔️ Leave your phone at home or in the car
Depending on where you’re going, leave your phone at home or in the car. If you’re popping out to the shop, can you do it without your phone? If you’re heading to the hairdressers, bring a book instead. Going out for a walk? You don’t need your phone so leave it behind.
Find little times during the day that you don’t need your phone by your side and part with it, even if it’s just five minutes.
Every little bit helps to give you more time to enjoy real life. Soon you’ll start to notice that life goes on even without a smart phone.
✔️ Don’t bring your smart phone to the table
Don’t allow mobile phones at the dinner table, even if it’s just you eating breakfast on your own. Take the time to talk and connect with the people you are sitting with, or just sit and enjoy the quiet and calmness of being in your own company.
You could even read a bit of that book you never seem to have time for.
✔️ Turn off push notifications
Turn off push-notifications so that you won’t know when Helen has uploaded another selfie of her in a fabulous outfit, seeking your virtual love and approval.
Turn off push-notifications so you don’t know that you have another WhatsApp message from your ‘school mum group’ asking if anyone has seen Billy’s jumper in their kid’s schoolbag.
The simple fact is that if you don’t know you have messages and notifications awaiting your attention, there is less temptation to pick up your phone in the first place.
I know while writing this post I didn’t turn off my notifications and I heard every chime telling me I had an incoming message. It was very hard to ignore!
✔️ Schedule a time for social media
Social media is taking over the world, it seems. If this is something that you spend a lot of time on, schedule a set time in your day for social media. Perhaps during your commute to work (if you’re not driving, obviously!), or in the evening, after the kids have gone to bed and there is peace and quiet in the house. This might be your reward after a hard day’s work.
This way when you peruse through Facebook or catch up on amusing things being said on Twitter, you feel like you have earned it and there is no guilt involved. You have allowed yourself this time to enjoy your phone because you know you have made the most of the rest of your day.
However, just to put a twist on it…do you need to check social media every day? Could you check it every other day? See if you can space out how often you connect with social media and experience what effect it can have on your day-to-day life.
✔️ Space out how often you charge your phone
A nice little challenge is to not charge your phone every day. Set yourself a schedule around when you charge your phone. Maybe you charge it every other night, maybe every 36 hours or even every other day!
If you don’t use your phone as much, it will last for longer so not getting to charge it every day might be the kicker to get you to start using it less.
Each phone will have a different battery life so your schedule will have to depend on how long your phone can last with average usage. If you have lots of apps installed that run in the background, this will deplete your battery faster. (Deleting them is always an option which we’ll talk about next!)
The outcome in the end is that if you tell yourself you can’t charge your phone until 8pm tonight and you’re almost out of charge and it’s not even lunch time, then that might just give you the motivation to use your phone very minimally for the rest of the day.
✔️ Delete time-consuming apps from your phone
For some, the mere knowledge and temptation that we have social media at our fingertips is too much to bear. No matter what we do, we can’t stop picking up our phones to check updates and notifications.
If you find yourself in this category, then consider deleting some apps from your smart phone. Quite simply, if you don’t have TicToc on your phone, you can’t check it twenty times a day. If you don’t have Twitter, you can’t tweet your hourly thoughts – or read someone else’s.
When you’re out and about, are you spending all your time chasing down Pokémon?
Think about what apps are actually necessary for you to have on your smart phone and get rid of the ones that aren’t.
I personally know of a few people who have deleted certain social media apps from their phones. As a result, it has had a profound effect on how they spend their extra time (and how much more free time they now actually have).
What are your priorities?
What is vital to remember is that none of these tips will work if you don’t want them to. They will only benefit you if you feel that something needs to change.
If you want more time in your day and you admit that your smart phone is getting in the way of that, then it might be time to make some serious commitments. It all comes down to priorities.
What is more important? Half an hour at the end of the day to read your favourite book, watch your favourite tv show or meditate even (I’m being totally holistic now!) versus finding out what cousin Jimmy had for lunch today by gawking at his self-indulgent Insta updates?
You don’t have to change a single thing if you don’t want to. But for those that are finding their smart phone is a real cause of a lack of time for more valuable things in their life, trying to find ways to minimise the use of this incredibly smart invention could just be the trick.
If you save yourself even just half an hour each day, you’ll find yourself with three and a half hours of extra time each week!
It might also just be an eye-opener to finally notice just how much of our lives are taken up by our smart phones.
They sure are smart. But you can be smarter.
Do you have any top tips to help put down our smart phones and be more time savvy? I’d love for you to share them!
*Feature image by Kirill Averianov from Pixabay