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Finding Time; Tips for Gaining 2 Hours Each Day


by Colleen Langenfeld

Would you be interested in finding two extra hours each day in your schedule? Here are some ways to do just that.

First - DECIDE what is most important to you. Then decide to spend most of your time pursuing it! If you fail to do this, frustration will be your constant companion.

After you commit to your main time focus, look for possible time leaks such as the following:

- Did you spend time waiting somewhere today? In traffic or at the doctor's office, for example? In traffic, plug an educational audiotape in and learn, learn, learn. It's been estimated that many people could get a whole college degree's worth of education in just a couple of years in their car. In the doctor's office do strategic planning, brainstorm problem areas, catch up on mail, write that letter you've been putting off. The key here is to always keep simple, convenient-to-carry tasks with you in order to take advantage of unavoidable wait times.

** Possible Daily Time Savings: 15 minutes - 2 hours.

- Plan your meals for the week.
It's unbelievable how much weekly time I save when I spend only ten minutes planning out a weekly menu and shopping list. It means I go to the grocery store once, not five times, and I spend NO time during the week fussing over what's for dinner. If something comes up and we change our plans, fine, tonight's menu simply rolls forward to tomorrow night.

** Possible Daily Time Savings: 30 minutes - 1 hour.

- Do fifteen minutes more when it is time to quit.
After the kids go to bed, get into some cozy clothes and do one fifteen-minute task. The key here is to make it a simple job that doesn't require much physical or mental energy. For example, enter the day's receipts into your budget ledger, answer one or two pieces of mail, pick up the clutter and dust one room in your house. How does this save time? These are now tasks that WON'T have to be done on the weekend or some other time.

** Possible Daily Time Savings: 15 minutes.

- Consolidate tasks. Bake two casseroles and freeze one. Save laundry to iron once a week. Run errands all on one day. Put a shopping list on the fridge and train family members to write down needed items when they open the last one. Buy bread for a month and freeze it so you don't need to make unexpected trips to the grocery store.

** Possible Daily Time Savings: 15 - 30 minutes.

- Arrange a play date co-op. If you have small children, arranging a weekly play date with one to three other moms can be a real timesaver and put smiles on your little ones' faces, as well. Choose one time per week and take turns hosting the play date. When it's your turn, you watch the kids have a great time and the other parents take off for a couple of hours. Then on the alternate weeks, you have time off! Really make your day hosting the group special and everyone will enjoy themselves.

** Possible Daily Time Savings: 24 minutes (based on 2 hours per work week).

- Train everyone to help with laundry.
Your children can do their own if they're old enough, or help you, if they're too young to do it on their own (then they will be ready to do their own laundry when they ARE old enough!). Even toddlers can help fold and put away...and they love helping!

** Possible Daily Time Savings: 15 - 30 minutes.

- Family time.
Do you have a daily family time? If not, you are underestimating the power of this tool in binding your family together as well as in saving time. Dedicated time each evening spent going over homework, discussing the day, reading together,playing games, etc. The whole family starts to FEEL like a team and that leads to ACTING like one. You can avert problems (that eat up time), answer questions (instead of being tracked down later), and encourage mutual interdependence on each other (instead of primarily on you).

** Possible Daily Time Savings: 30 -60 minutes.

- Gather all supplies for tomorrow, tonight. Make sure everyone has a space (like a bin) to plop his or her stuff in for the coming day. Spend part of that family time (above) signing permission slips, doling out necessary cash and marking important upcoming school/extra- curricular dates on your schedule. After all, fifteen minutes tonight getting ready for tomorrow isn't a big deal, but fifteen minutes racing around tomorrow morning trying to accomplish the same stuff could be a disaster.

There you have it. Using conservative time measurements, another two or more hours in your day. Once you get started with these ideas, you are sure to find more.

Now your time truly belongs to you!

Colleen Langenfeld delivers deals, tips and creative resources to working moms who want the most out of their homes, families and careers at . Sign up for our free newsletter and get an online Creativity Toolkit as our gift to you!

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