Updated: Apr 27
Before the pandemic, I travelled 3 hours a day to get to work and to get home. That’s 15 hours a week travelling. I would read most of the time. Before the pandemic, I didn’t even know that podcasts existed, so that wasn’t an option. But when the pandemic hit, and I gained 15 hours a week, I started a podcast and freelancing. And with those two gigs, I changed my entire life. It goes to show that when you control your time, you can accomplish great things. So, let’s focus on how we can get you more time in a day.
1. Audit your schedule
When I realized that I was able to accomplish so much in an extra 15 hours a week, I wondered what else I was wasting my time on. I discovered the concept of auditing my time. For two weeks, I wrote out exactly what I did, all day long.
Logs consisted of:
Social media time
Time spent watching TV or YouTube videos
Going to the bathroom
Showering, eating, sleeping
I wrote out everything!
I don’t remember exactly how it turned out but I do remember spending way too much time doing nothing important. Auditing my time gave me the visibility I needed to make changes.
How you audit your time:
You want to do it for two weeks to get a better sample of how you spend your time.
Keep your time log where it’s easily accessible at all times so you can track things as they happen. The more accurate, the better.
At the end of the two weeks, group how you spent time into categories like eating, self-care, work, social media, and other projects.
And just like that, you’ll have visibility into how long things are taking you and what you’re spending time on.
This exercise is especially important for those who can outsource tasks for their business or their job. If you see you’re working on too many admin tasks, then it’s time to outsource some of them.
In the end, you will absolutely find extra time at the end of this exercise. You will see that you might not want to spend so much time at the gym or travelling or work, and you’ll readjust.
After a month or two after readjusting your schedule, audit your time again to see if it’s in a better place.
2. Take Longer Breaks When Working
I cannot stand the Pomodoro method of getting work done. Working for 25 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break is awful to me. I need to focus until the task is done. Our typical 9–5 work schedule also only encourages us to take a one-hour break. Then in the afternoon, you’re left kind of hungry and tired.
By working from home and adapting my schedule according to what works for me, I now take two hour “lunch breaks.” I do finish work later but I get SO much more done after that break than trying to pump through 8 hours without much of any break.
The two hours gives me permission to decide what I need to do. I eat. Sometimes I go run errands. Sometimes I just scroll social media. But it’s the time I need to reenergize me every afternoon.
By adding extra break time, I now get MORE done in the afternoon. Try it.
3. Know what you’re going to do every day
Every Sunday, I look at the tasks I need to get done and I place them in my schedule for the week. If things need to be moved around during the week or pushed to the next week, no problem. Things come up. But setting a schedule for myself relieves me from always thinking about my to-do list. In fact, I never think about it.
Let’s say it’s Wednesday at 2:34pm. I just got distracted because the doorbell rang. I get back to my desk and think, “What should I be working on?” I go to my calendar and I know exactly what needs to get done.
I reduce the time I need to figure it out. I reduce start-up time. If it’s in my schedule, I know I prioritized it to be at that time instead of another task. I get started on it right away. No stress. I save so much time.
Here is an example of what my work week looks like.
4. Miscellaneous Tips
In this section, I want to list off little things that help me add hours to my day.
Leave your phone in the other room: When I work, I leave it in the bedroom. When I’m about to sleep, I leave my phone on my desk. I fall asleep faster and I get less distracted during the day.
Get up earlier: This one seems obvious, but the days I get up earlier are my favorite days. And I hate getting up early. There is so much more time to get things done. Heck, there’s so much more time to do nothing. I definitely like having a balance of both. Alternatively, you can go to bed later to gain some more hours.
Workout: When I’m stressed and feel overwhelmed, I suddenly get nothing done. It’s a great reflex. Instead of staring at my screen, I go for a walk or go to the gym. As soon as I get back to my desk, I’m all good and get back to work. Determine what is stalling you throughout your day and come up with creative ways to get over the hump.
Hope this helps!
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Helping new B2B marketers look good at work. Tune in to the Marketing Bound Podcast to develop your marketing skills, navigate the corporate world like a pro, boost your confidence in your role and access the greatest minds in B2B marketing. Join Laura L. Bernhard every week to fast-track your career in B2B. Subscribe to the Marketing Bound Podcast onSpotifyor onApple Podcasts.