Back in 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that economic progress and technology would create such efficiencies that his peers’ grandchildren would only work three hours a day. Instead, people have become time impoverished, the consequence of an always-on, 24/7 connected world.
Adding extra time to your week – or at least feeling like you’ve gained it – is possible.
- Make a list and tackle quick tasks – Keeping a list of quick tasks – doctor’s appointments, bill paying (online, by mail, or in person) and other short errands – and tackling them during lunch will free up some down time at home.
- Use a productivity app – Productivity apps such as Self Control (for Macs) or Freedom (for PCs) create temporary blacklists that block distracting websites. Another app, Focus Booster, helps you time your pace of working and breaks. Doodle is a free online schedule that lets you email questionnaires to your friends to find out when they’re available.
- Create batches of tasks – Another time-effective approach is to “batch” similar tasks together in groups. For example, plan a week’s menu, do your grocery shopping and prep meals in one day.
- Take a break! – If you think focusing on one task for hours is the way to get homework and major projects done, think again. A 2011 study published in the journal Cognition showed that taking short breaks can help you stay on task, finish up faster and add more time to your day.
If you do the job of managing your work and errands during the week, you can make your days off as obligation free as possible. You’ll have a wealth of time to enjoy doing what you want.