Squeeze More Time Out Of Your Day
Owl Night. Most people stay up late. It's definitely a great way to get stuff done at the end of a work day. You arrive home, walk the dog, shower, eat, drink, be Mary (if you're Mary), and then write Hubs until you can't see straight. Or, you pay some bills - work on that business idea out in your garage - generally, do something productive beyond your dreary day job day.
That's what most people do out of habit. I did the same thing - worked late into the night after my day job - when I was younger.
They didn't have blogs and Hubs back then, so I hammered out text on a Commodore Colt, 486 (don't what that is, do ya?), or laptop late into the night as a traditional freelance writer. This technique for extending a workday obviously depends on fatigue level when you get home each day.
Health-wise. I go to bed early these days - which takes discipline. I rise very early and drink coffee until I can't see straight.
I started doing this when I was in the Army, out of necessity, because it was the only way to get anything done, whether it was university coursework (twenty years to finish a bachelors, yay!) - writing - or whatever it was that required work during a time that I could concentrate.
Watch a sunset - watch a sunrise. Tomato (tuh-mey-toh) - tomato (tuh-mah-toh) - aye?
Multipliers. Some people get in the habit of always carrying around too much work. My backpack or briefcase is consistently stuffed with books to read or peruse, freelance notes, netbook, you-name-it.
If it's something that's on a to-do list - it's probably available for when I have an extra moment. As a writer, you never know when may be stuck twiddling your thumbs waiting at the dentist.
Accomplishing two or more things at the same time is not necessarily hard - it's just a matter of habit. Ride a bike or walk to work to knock out a portion of your fitness regime for the day. Walk flights of stairs - a number of times - on your lunch break. Do leg stretches while talking on the phone.
I guess you can call stuff like this "multi-tasking," but I call it multipliers.
Use lists to accomplish more. Most people rely on their brains to accomplish things throughout their day. I do this - in addition to standard to-do lists.
We're all fallible, though, and if you truly need to remember something, it's usually best to jot it down. Some people pay attention to sage advice such as this - relayed to them from people who have lost a good idea at least once (me). Some people will not.
If you wonder why lists are so powerful, it's because they eliminate mistakes in thought process - an inherent time-saver efficiency.
The only people who care about stuff like that are those who are stuck in a situation in which they must accomplish a ton of things in a short amount of time.
Straight and Narrow. Prioritize your lists. In short, take a shopping or errand list and plan it out by route. If you have to ...
- Pick up the dry cleaning.
- Hit the grocery store.
- Buy a new pair of jeans.
- Update a prescription.
- Grab some grub.
... on the way home from work - do it in a particular order.
The small amount of time it takes to order and prioritize your list may allow you to get everything done that you need to do.
It's not always 100 percent effective. Good ol' Murphy can attack at any moment. But it works more often that not - and creates another efficiency in your life.
Handy little things. Feel free to use your cell or smart phone to accomplish things. Use it for note-taking (digital lists, if you will). Send three family-information updates at once with a text message. Update your phone calendar. No one knows what you're doing with your cell phone while you're standing in line at the grocery store (as long as they're not looking over your shoulder) or while you're standing at the water cooler listening to Ned drone on and on.
Heck, you could be writing a novel, reading a Kindle Edition, or blogging (can you Hub from a cell phone? don't know) - all while "listening" to Ned.
Eliminate distractions. I'll write a separate Hub on this topic later, but the short version is that if you don't seem to have enough time in your day, there may be people or things that are distracting your efforts to get everything done. So. You have to eliminate them (not like that). You just have to avoid them. Fake a cell phone call. Point to your ear buds and smile when you walk past. Don't answer your land-line telephone - only answer your cell phone when family calls. Answer your email as soon as you arrive at work - all of it - then ignore it the rest of the day. Stuff like that.
Productive night owl says ...
The productive night owl points out that the same rule applies in both directions - whether you stay up early or stay up late - it's just a matter of finding the discipline to go to bed at the same time every day to ensure your sleep pattern remains the same.
The difference in the two methods lies in the fact that if you're toiling after hours (or before you go to work) it's probably because a project is pulling you along toward the next day.
If you want to stick to a schedule that does not affect your day job - getting up super early may be a better option - but only because the finite difference in the two methods is that you may stay up too late as the pulling effect becomes more attractive late into the night.
In other words, there's a slight chance that getting up early before you go to work is the better method because it's easy to find the discipline to force yourself to bed early - but if you have good sleep habits.
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