In a world that is seemingly speeding up, life coach Louise Presley-Turner looks at what we can do to gain a few precious hours for ourselves.

How often have you said ‘If only I had more time?’

If you’re anything like most of Western Society you’re always chasing the clock, tick, tock, tick, tock… constantly wishing you had that extra hour? Maybe you’d spend that precious time catching up on long overdue paperwork, tackling the mountain of ironing, spending more time with the kids or simply enjoying that extra hour resting your weary feet.

You’re not alone. We all live such hectic lives nowadays and as technology advances we find ourselves cramming even more into our all-ready demanding day. Many a time I’ve wished I could grow an extra 3 arms, one to type, one to feed the baby, the other to clean or better still, I could create a clone, that way I could have a rest!

In my experience it’s not so much of a ‘time management’ issue but more of a ‘self management’ issue. The hands of the clock still turn, you can’t stop them, no matter how fast you can type or how good you are at multitasking you will only ever have 24 hours in your day. It’s how you spend those 24 hours that is the key!

Using my ‘self-management’ tips below should allow you to find the odd hour or two in which to do more of the really pleasurable things in life that you don’t seem to have time for currently.

1) Write a ‘to do’ list. I cannot stress how important this is – all organised people have some form of diary system or ‘to do’ list. So dust off your old diary, which your aunt bought you for Christmas, or go out and buy one today and start scheduling all the things you need to do each day. If you’re not a diary person then simply write a list on a note pad or put a pin board up in your kitchen. Make sure you always write your ‘to do’ list the night before, so when you wake-up in the morning you know exactly what your first job of the day will be.
2) Prioritise. Okay so you have your ‘to do’ list; what you now need to do is prioritise what needs tackling first. It might sound obvious but so many of us dart from one task to the next, never really getting anywhere fast. Deal with one task at a time and make sure you complete it fully before moving onto the next.
3) Identify your most productive time. Are you a morning person or an evening person? Personally I am far more productive in the mornings, so I always make sure I get as much done in the morning as possible, leaving my afternoons free.
4) Avoid ‘time wasters’. Social networking sites, watching TV soaps, surfing the web, chatting on the phone – all these things are great when done in moderation but can be very time absorbing not to mention addictive. You’d be amazed how much time you waste throughout your day indulging yourself in activities such as the above. Keep them to a minimum.
5) Household chores. There’s no getting away from the fact that the house needs cleaning – but how can you make your household chores easier? Hiring a cleaner is one option; just an hour a week to dust and vacuum could make the world of difference. If a cleaner is too expensive how about an ironing assistant? One of my friends offloads all her ironing onto a lovely lady she calls her ‘ironing fairy’, who picks it up once a week, sprinkles her magic fairy dust on it, then drops it back all neatly pressed a few days later. As much as we’d all like to think we could take the world on single handed, we simply can’t. So take the load off your shoulders and start delegating where possible.
6) Shop online. Now this one is a huge time saver. When my little girl was born I decided to try online grocery shopping - that was almost 3 years ago and I haven’t been in a supermarket since. Well that’s not strictly true, but the majority of my bulky shopping gets delivered to my door each week for less than four pounds. Amazing! Since successfully doing my grocery shopping online I now buy birthday presents and clothes online too. Try it!
7) Advance cooking. Cooking can be very time consuming and when you’ve been out at work all day it’s normally the last thing you want to do when you get home. You find yourself eating beans on toast or worse still, a take-away – hardly nutritious! How about batching up a couple of portions of bolognaise for the freezer or chopping all your fresh vegetables up on a Sunday and putting them in the fridge ready for the week ahead. I use a slow cooker, chuck everything in before I start work and by the time I get home my family have an instant nutritious meal waiting for them to enjoy.
8) Learn to say no. You must understand that it’s okay to say NO once in a while. Don’t agree to unreasonable demands on your time. I repeatedly tell my clients, it’s okay to be selfish – the happier you are the happier those around you will be. Learn to say NO!

The key with creating more time is to change your old routine and to break bad habits. The more you do this, the more time you’ll find you have for yourself or your family. Enjoy it!

Author's Bio: 

Louise Presley-Turner is a qualified Life Coach working with private individuals and small businesses. If you would like to book a FREE trial session with Louise, or receive your FREE guide to creating a better life visit www.thegameoflife.co.uk, email louise@thegameoflife.co.uk, or call 01746 71 61 51.