We just returned from a two week Caribbean vacation. We attended Blair and Kevin’s destination wedding on the beautiful island of Saba (paradise) and spent several days on St. Maarten. We lived on the beach, wearing bathing suits and flip flops, drinking tons of bottled water and had all the time in the world. The clock almost seemed to stop. I enjoyed not knowing what day of the week it was or what time of day it was. My body has been in shock with my re-entry to wearing warmer clothes and shoes, using water from the tap and being on a schedule. This transition has been hard so I decided I needed more time in my life and came up with this list of how to grab some more time in each day.
Get up an hour earlier. (This one is obvious)
I have been getting up an hour earlier and feel refreshed and ready to go. This also means I am getting myself to bed earlier. I would like to say an hour earlier but I can tell you I am getting to bed 30 minutes earlier to Gary’s delight. Mr. Swim Man likes to be in bed at 10:30 so he can pop out of bed at 5:00 am to get to swimming. The thought of getting cold and wet at 6 am does not sound in any way appealing.
Start a news fast
Quit reading the daily newspaper. Try it for a week and see how you feel. What we focus on gets bigger and bolder and lately the world is not exactly a happy place.
Simply meal prep
On Sunday I have my menu planned for the week and have foods in the house for the meals all ready to go. Use freezer meals to save you time. Check out Jen Haugen’s Freezer Meal Menu and Meal Workshop Guide to save you kitchen time and give you more family time.
Organize lunches ahead of time
At 8 o clock at night I used to dislike making lunches for Danielle and Brett unless I was organized and prepared ahead of time. Again, on Sunday have your lunch box menu ready with foods in the house for the week. Holley Grainger’s 125 Lunch Box Ideas will dump your “Lunchbox Lethargy” and empower your kids to try new foods and make your lunch box task fun and more creative.
Be efficient at the grocery store
Be organized. Keep an ongoing list of what you need. Create a list of your evening meals for the week.
Create your grocery list to coordinate with the grocery store layout. Shop when others are not shopping. My favorite time to shop used to be at 7 am. The grocery store is humming with the produce guys putting out the fresh produce and the bakery deliveries. It feels happy! Who doesn’t want more happy!
Keep Saturday morning sacred. (ok this is more than one hour)
I don’t schedule any social outings on Saturday. I reserve the day for “me” unless something pretty delightful comes my way. I savor the morning with a swim. I enjoy a breakfast of bacon and eggs (eggs are fried in the bacon grease just like Grandma Lily did) while I watch my favorite TV show the Kare 11 Saturday.
Quit work an hour earlier or start work an hour later
One of my most favorite clients who has a really stressful job as a scientist starts her day at 5:30 am. She marvels at how much she gets done in the quiet of the morning. And don’t forget the easier commute. What is the price of uninterrupted time? You guessed it. Priceless
Unplug the TV
I know this one is hard but is TV watching aligned with your values? A study released by Nielsen discovered that the average American is watching 5 hours and 4 minutes of TV a day. Four and a half hours is live television, which is television watched when originally broadcast. Thirty minutes more comes via DVR.
Contain your social media time
The average internet user studies show we are on social media and messaging services 2 hours a day. The average person has twice as many social accounts as 2012. In fact the average user has 7 social media accounts. In 2016 the data showed that the internet is capturing more of our time each day with total hours spent online via PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets growing from 5 ½ hours in 2012 to 6 ½ in 2016. I used to tap into Facebook when my day was “done” around 10 pm. When I started to dream about Ben Castle a friend’s son and other people I read about on Facebook I realized I needed to focus on something else. I love Ben’s mom Jill Castle (America’s Childhood Feeding Expert) but there are only 24 hours in the day and I can use the last hour before I go to bed doing something more meaningful.
Remember your free time is not always available time
Just because you don’t have something scheduled on Wednesday night does not mean you cannot turn down invitations for that night. Remind yourself it is ok to say “no” to others and “yes” to you.
Refrain from scheduling any after work gatherings
No drinks. No coffees. No dinners.
Like Mark LaBlanc says “Done is better than perfect.” Think of the hours you spend trying to get things done just right when 90% is probably good enough. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists I am speaking to you! Have you ever given thought to how much time perfection takes?
If you are feeling stuck maybe it is time to measure your time. I am known to say, “We manage what measure.” Life is shorter than we think. We really do not know our “expiration date” so we must create days with meaning, purpose and laughter. Live your life with no regrets. Your someday is now!
You have one life to live, just imagine it was one you loved! Better get busy! I am so excited for you!
What did I miss? How do you grab an extra hour in your day?