Never have enough time to do anything? We spoke to Kate Christie, founder of Time Stylers to help you find time to have it all.
During the Mass Participation Asia conference 2018, we listened to Kate Christie of Time Stylers speak about women and their involvement in mass participation sports events such as organised runs. The number one reason they don’t attend? “I don’t have time.”
Kate is an Australia-based time management expert, public speaker, and author. She works with both big and small businesses to help them find “missing time”. To help you (and us at Shape) get a better grip on time management, we sat down with Kate and gleaned some time-saving tips that will help you carve out up to 30 free hours each month, and start leading the active, balanced lifestyle you’ve always wanted.
(Also read: 7 Time-Saving Gadgets to Simplify Your Life)
Create a schedule to check your emails
As you are reading this on your phone or computer, emails may be coming through to your inbox. Resist the urge to check and reply to every email immediately – your inbox is just a list of everyone else’s priority, according to Kate.
Instead of taking out small chunks of your time every 20 minutes (while you are in the middle of something else) to respond to emails, set aside specific windows to do so. For instance, first thing in the morning to clear out messages that came in the evening before; at midday; and one last time before you knock off. This way, you’re only checking in thrice, and replying them all at once is easier and faster and you get into the rhythm of it.
(Also read: 5 Tips to Make Sure Your Emails Actually Get Read)
Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning
We usually plan our day the night before – what you want to do, where you want to go, who you want to meet, and so on. But if grabbing your phone is the first thing you do upon waking up, then you run the risk of throwing your plans out the window because your day starts off getting directed by other people.
Work-related text messages and emails typically read “I want” and “I need”, and you start answering to requests from everyone but yourself.
To break the nasty phone addiction, put your phone outside your bedroom and switch it to silent mode. Instead of using the phone for an alarm, buy an alarm clock.
(Also read: Your Smartphone Could Be Making You Less Smart)
Turn off your notifications
Talking about distractions, more than 40 per cent of all interruptions are self-inflicted. It might not sound like a lot, but according to Gloria Mark, who studies digital distraction at the University of California, every time you get interrupted, your brain takes 23 minutes to refocus to get back to the level of focus you were at. And you will likely only focus for 10 minutes before you get another distraction.
If you do the math, it’s scary. Learn to say no to distractions. Put your phone on silent mode and turn off your email notifications. Even when someone taps on your shoulder and asks for five minutes of your time, tell them to wait until you’re done if possible.
(Also read: Easily Distracted? Here’s How to Be More Focused)
The American Psychological Association states that your productivity goes down by 40 per cent when you multitask. Which means you’re only ever working at 60 per cent of your capacity. Multitasking includes having multiple tabs open on your browser, reacting to every chime from your phone, and clicking on desktop notifications.
The solution? Focus on each task in short 20- to 40-minute bursts, then take a breather to answer to people and your mind’s interruptions.
(Also read: Multitasking Makes You Fat)
Reduce your social media usage
You check your phone an average of 85 times a day, according to a study by the Nottingham Trent University. All that mindless scrolling on social media isn’t doing you any favours. Unless being on social media is part of your job, there really is no need to constantly be on it. By halving your time spent on Facebook or Instagram, you will probably easily find yourself a 30- to 45-minute pocket to go for a run.
(Also read: Here’s How Social Media Can (Gasp!) Make You Fat)
Delegate time-consuming work
Menial chores like household chores can take up a big chunk of your weekend. Instead of doing it yourself, it will save you time and money to outsource the task to a cleaner. With your schedule freed up, you can invest more time in your family and health – by spending every weekend working out and getting healthier, you’ll probably wind up saving more money on medical bills in the future.
Examine your lifestyle habits and check for activities that you can do away with – for instance, you don’t need to spend 20 minutes deeply exfoliate your face or thoroughly wash the toilets every single day. When you strip down your day to the essentials, you will wind up with excess time for rest and play.
(Also read: How To Achieve Work-Life Balance)
Give all your belongings a home
If you place everything in a designated spot, you won’t have to waste five minutes or more each day to look for them. That adds up to over two hours a month and 30 hours a year – just from getting your things before you head out the door.
Find a healthy way to unwind
Skip your mobile phone games, pronto. The bright light emitted from your phone and computer affects your brain’s rapid eye movement (REM) sleep as it keeps your mind active even when you’re trying your best to doze off. REM sleep is critical for quality rest, and without it, you feel groggy and distracted throughout the next day. In the long run, a messed up sleep cycle will also negatively affect your metabolism, cravings, and mood.
Try other relaxing hobbies such as taking a short walk or reading a book. A warm shower is a great bedtime ritual too. When you enjoy quality sleep, your days will then become more productive and efficient.