What would you do with an extra hour each day?
Over 280 women answered this question this week during a giveaway on Instagram, and their answers surprised me. Actually, the answers themselves didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was the overwhelming consensus that we would all do one of the same seven things if given more time each day.
Sleep was the No. 1 answer these women said they would do if given an extra hour each day, and their answer was usually followed by exclamation marks. We are living in a sleep-deprived world, struggling to run at full steam without enough fuel. We are mothers full time, around the clock, leaving no time for rest.
We crave sleep and apparently we also crave a creative outlet. The next top answer centered around the need for creativity. If given extra time, these women wanted to sew, knit, craft, cook, write or build.
Can we find time for the sleep we need? Will we ever get around to glazing that table?
“Time is an illusion,” Albert Einstein said. Maybe so. But my watch doesn’t know it, and apparently neither does yours. Luckily, we can make a few simple changes to free up just a little bit of time each day to catch some extra shut-eye.
Here are 10 time hacks to help you find an extra hour each day.
1. Have a morning routine dedicated to you. I know I’m adding to your to-do list when I just told you I’d help you find more time. However, by taking even 15 minutes each morning to ground yourself, you’ll experience greater focus to make the most of the 16 hours ahead of you.
2. Drink a tall glass of water with breakfast. You are starting the day dehydrated. Our brains are about 78 percent water. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get to banish the brain fog in the morning so I can make the most of my time. Plus a cold glass of water can speed up your metabolism.
3. Don’t iron. Unless of course it’s absolutely necessary. Keep a fabric spray for wrinkles near your closet. Spray and go. In fact, Jordan Page of FunCheapOrFree.com posted on her Instagram how to iron a collard shirt with a flat iron. Maybe we’ll never have to touch an iron again.
4. Use the crock-pot. Even with prep time included, letting the crock-pot cook for you during the day can easily save 30 minutes during that Witching Hour before dinner when the kids are hungry and clawing at your ankles.
5. Never watch television live. On average, a one-hour show only offers 43 minutes of content. So, just by skipping commercials, we can save close to 20 minutes in an hour. I’ll take it.
Even better, quit the TV all together and pull out that sewing project you said you wanted to finish.
6. Plan out each day. I’m a big fan of attacking each day with a strategy. Write a Six-most Important List for yourself each night (or once a week) so you don’t waste time during the day wondering what’s next thing that needs your attention. (Grab a free printable list on MOMentity.com.)
7. Group all your errands together. You can easily save a half hour by picking up the kids from school and taking them with you to the grocery store. Or better yet, go to the grocery store first and then pick the kids up from school and then have them carry the groceries in for you.
8. Soak dirty dishes — all day. If my mother were to read this, I’m sure she’d be appalled that I’m not doing the dishes like she taught me. But batching your dishes for a single washing during the day can save you time. Or once again, delegate dish duty to those kiddos.
9. Don’t hit snooze! I admit I have still not mastered the art of avoiding the snooze button. The principle is clear: snoozing an extra 15 minutes, wastes 15 minutes. And how well do we really sleep anticipating that alarm again?
Maybe we’d all be better off to get in that extra sleep during a power nap or head to bed earlier at night.
10. Turn off notifications on your phone. How much time do you waste each day checking your phone each time you receive a new email or a Facebook comment posts? (I’m not telling you how much time I spend with this either!) We can all benefit from turning of the ping notifications and check our email only a few times a day.
I dare say this alone could save us the hour we are looking for.
Nicole Carpenter is the CEO of MOMentity.com and creator of Define Your Time eCourse. She is a speaker and mentor for mompreneuers. Nicole and her husband are raising four children, 9 years and younger, including twin toddlers. Twitter: @momentity