Updated: August 22, 2020
If you want to earn some extra income or even start your own business, the first obstacle you’ll probably have is finding the time to do it.
I’ve seen so many friends becoming excited about a sideline or a business idea and later on fail to carry out or see through their plans.
It’s sad because most of them had something great going. But because office work went in the way or they became too busy with other priorities, the opportunity passed.
So what’s the secret to having more time? How do you accomplish the things you need to do every day? And do this without compromising your health and the time you need to spend with yourself, your family and your friends?
Simply put, how do you get more free time out of your busy schedule?
The key to having more free time in your life is to concentrate on two things, increasing productivity and eliminating time wasters. Below are some tips that can hopefully help you in both aspects.
Ways To Increase Productivity
Take time to assess your schedule.
List down everything that keeps you busy. Beside it, put the amount of time you usually spend on these activities. Then, write down the things that you want to have time for. Specify how much time you need to spend on these tasks.
Try to rework your routine and incorporate everything into your schedule. This would require you to adjust the amount of time you spend on your regular activities to make way for the new ones.
Make it a habit to create a daily to-do list.
Keep it short so you won’t feel overwhelmed. Your daily core of activities can have at most only two or three tasks. Add a couple of things to do just in case you finish early.
Prioritize activities which are important and have long-term benefits. Read this article to learn more about proper time management.
When doing your tasks, cut out possible distractions.
Disconnect from the internet and turn off your phone. From experience, I usually finish writing a blog post an hour faster when I close all internet browsers and turn my mobile phone into silent mode.
Additionally, I’d have good music to tune out the noise from the outside world. It’s up to you to find what ambiance would work best for your concentration.
Make productive use of idle times by doing some minor tasks.
For example, you can do some personal business planning during office lunch breaks. Stuck in traffic? Take out a small notebook and write some business ideas. Or simply brainstorm in your head for money-making ventures you can do.
Whenever you suddenly find yourself with some spare time, do something productive while waiting for your next appointment to begin.
Take care of your health.
Exercise, get enough sleep and eat right. When you’re healthy, you tend to be more alert, inspired, energized and productive.
Ways To Eliminate Time Wasters
Get it done, even if it’s not how you want it to be done.
When you already have a solution to your problem, do it even if it’s not “elegant” and when time is of the essence. For example, I remember wasting one whole day looking for a way to get rid of a virus on my computer.
During that time, I was nagging myself to simply back up my files and reformat my PC so I could resume my work. Doing the second option takes only 5 hours to do, which I eventually end up doing.
Make a list when shopping, especially when doing the grocery.
Also, when you’re off to buy something and you already found an item you like that falls within your budget, then stop looking for cheaper or better products. Just buy it because the odds of finding one are slim in most cases. As they say, time is gold.
Wake up earlier.
Some tasks are easier done during the first few minutes of our day. For example, I usually manage my daily to-do list in my bed after waking up.
Moreover, we tend to work better when we’re less stressed from the morning rush. Also, consider coming to work early rather than spending overtime. Take advantage of your quiet office and do some actual work. You don’t get paid but at least you get to spend your after office hours doing more important things such as a sideline job.
Cut out useless conversations, especially in the office.
I’m not telling you to be anti-social. But you should learn to choose which conversations you should and should not participate in.
Is your officemate telling you the same story for the tenth time? Tell him that you’ve already heard that before and maybe shift to a better topic.
Someone is beating around the bush and preparing to recruit you to a multi-level marketing company? If you have no interest in joining, then tell him you know where the conversation is leading and say you’re not interested.
Be straightforward but also remember to be nice.
Learn how to say no.
If you need to finish something, turn down invitations that will eventually lead to delays in your schedule. This also means saying no to yourself – resist the temptation to procrastinate and get the job done.
Furthermore, don’t you hate meetings that talk about the agenda for the next meeting? It sounds ridiculous but it does happen quite often in the corporate world. When you sense that you’re in such a predicament, try to excuse yourself and do something more productive.
Batch your tasks.
When you list down all the things you need to do, chances are there will be activities that you can easily consolidate into a batch.
Recently, a friend of mine wanted to talk to me about something important but I also needed to do some errands. I simply invited my friend to come with me as I accomplish my tasks for the day.
Thus, I was able to do both things at the same time. I avoided the need to spend an afternoon in a coffee shop just talking to my friend about his concerns.
Learn to delegate, outsource, and automate.
My siblings and I used to have assigned errands to do at home, such as doing grocery inventory or cleaning the house. Doing this gave my parents some extra time to start and take care of a home-based business.
Do you need to design a logo for your business? Hire a graphic designer and let him take care of it, you’re better off doing more important tasks for your business.
Always wasting time lining up to pay your bills? Find a bank that can automate your bills payment.
Use technology to help you save time but don’t become a slave to it.
Use the search function to find important emails and files on your computer. I know some people who sometimes choose to through their folders one by one. Also, stop checking your email every hour. And watch less television.
Call and talk to the person instead of texting a three page SMS. Subscribe to the RSS feed of websites that you frequently visit.
The few minutes you save on each activity will eventually sum up to more free time at the end of the day for you.
Lastly, it’s important to note that you should not overwork yourself. Always schedule time to relax and have fun, but not too often okay? So what more can you add to this list? Kindly share them below as a comment.