Technology has made our lives more comfortable and efficient, but there is a downside to all these advancements – we’re spending far too much time on them. If you look at the statistics of how many hours people spend working and commuting per week in their average life, it’s almost an unfathomable amount of time. Having said that, there are ways to have more free time in your life, even if you are working a demanding job or studying.
1) Carve out social time
Social events are an important part of our lives, because they give us the chance to meet new people and spend quality time with friends. However, that isn’t always easy to do if you are working long hours or juggling a busy social life with other commitments. The best thing you can do is to start becoming more aware of what you’re doing in your spare time, and carve out some time for social activities by consciously planning them into your schedule. This may seem like it requires too much effort, but the truth is that it will be worth it. You’ll probably find that you get along better with your friends, and they actually want to spend time with you if they know there’s a good chance of seeing you on a regular basis – instead of just once every couple of months.
2) Get rid of bad habits
Bad habits can take up so much time in our lives, and it’s easy to get into the mindset of ‘oh well, I might as well indulge a little, since I have a long day ahead’. This may be true – you might have a long day ahead. But by having bad habits, you’re robbing yourself of precious time that could be spent more productively doing something else. For example, if you spend too long browsing Facebook or Reddit, you might not have time to exercise, which is an important part of keeping healthy in your free time. It’s also one of the easiest things to fit into a busy schedule – just take out that half an hour when you get home from work or college and instead of idly leafing through your Facebook newsfeed, do some pushups and crunches to release those endorphins and you’ll feel energised and ready for the challenges of the day.
3) Use technology to your advantage
While we’re on that note – embrace modern technology. You can schedule as many social events as you want, but if they don’t have a time attached to them, they’ll probably never happen because everyone will assume that it’s at some point in the future. There are plenty of free apps that you can use to schedule events – just choose one, type in your name and the event details, then send invitations via email or SMS to all your friends/contacts who are interested. This way, you’ll never forget about the social events you want to go to, and they will happen because there’s a specific time attached to them.
4) Pack your lunch
This is an extension of the ‘what am I doing with my time?’ philosophy – if you pack your own lunch instead of buying ready-made cooked food every day, you’re likely saving yourself time and definitely saving yourself money. It’s all about removing the hassle of picking up lunch, finding somewhere to sit and eating – instead you can spend less than five minutes at your desk preparing a quick, healthy, delicious meal that’s ready to eat.
5) Plan out your week
This is one of the most powerful things you can do – plan out your week before it happens so that you never have last-minute rushes and distractions. A simple tool like Google Calendar can help you schedule tasks, events and work in advance so that you can see what’s coming up at all times. Even if it’s just a quick glance when you’re having breakfast in the morning, it’ll leave more time for other things in your daily routine.
6) Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today
This is a mantra that many self-help books use, and for good reason – it’s based on solid reasoning. Many of us get into a habit of waiting until the last minute before we start working on something or going to an appointment, then spend all day rushing around trying to get everything done. While this may be fine in some situations, it’s not when you’re trying to save time. Make a list of everything that needs to get done. Make a point of actually doing them.
7) Stop watching TV or playing games
It may sound like an exaggeration – after all, how much time does something like watching TV really take up? If we’re talking about just half an hour every night, does that really matter? Well, yes it does. If you think about all the hours in a week or month, then divide them up into half-hour chunks – you’ll be surprised at how much time is wasted every day on TV and gaming. And for what? The plot of the next episode, or one more level completed on a mobile app that just bombards you with adverts everything 90 seconds?
That said the UK average watch time per day pre-covid (2019) was 183 minutes per day 1!
8) Clean your house
A clean environment is a tidy one – it’s easier to find things when they’re all in order, and it makes life much easier for everyone around you too. Plus, the cleaner your personal space is (be that inside or out) the cleaner your mind will be.
9) Don’t fill your house with too much clutter
This goes hand in hand with cleaning – if you keep all your stuff neatly stored away, you won’t have to spend as much time looking for things. It also means that when you do need them, they’ll actually be easy to find!
If you do struggle with this consider technology to bridge that gap, for instance, we have Tile or Apple Tags on important items like our wallet, keys etc, they’re expensive but they can really be a godsend.
10) Limit social media
Maybe this is just us, but we’re convinced that the majority of our time-wasting comes from one place (assuming you already clean your house / tidy up regularly / don’t fill your house with too much clutter): social media. Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat – you name it, they all take up valuable brain space. So, if you want to have more time in your life, limit social media and see what happens!