My biggest reason behind downsizing, living a minimalist lifestyle and turning a blog into an income is all so I can get time back in my life. The times I spend constantly moving, running around, and have a jam-packed schedule are the times that I get the most stressed. I’m easy to anger, easy to quit and give the people the most important to me the least amount of attention. That’s why I decided to take my time back. Don’t think this means I am lazy or don’t do anything, it’s quite the opposite. I am more productive, more attentive and more at peace than ever! Because I hope more people follow in my footsteps, I wanted to share 26 ways to get more time back in your day. These range from small habits to major changes but they are all for a bigger purpose!
*This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission from items I recommend but all opinions are my own.
1. Wake up earlier
At the end of the day I was feeling burnt out, unaccomplished and yet my brain was no longer able to actually get any quality work done. It’s like after dinner my brain headed to “shut down” mode and I was powerless to stop it. After stopping to think about what in the world I could do to actually start getting things done during the day, I realized the only solution was to create more time.
I was useless in the evenings, so why not give the mornings a try?
Setting my alarm each day, even when I work from home, was the best decision I ever made. Sure it takes me a while to wake up in the morning, but I get more done overall.
If you feel like this at the end of your day, maybe consider setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier. Even starting your morning sipping a cup of coffee and reading a book in bed can work wonders. This small change would be a great way to calm your nerves and get you set up for success.
2. Set goals for your day
Have an intention for each new day. Working toward specific goals is a lot less stressful than it sounds. It simply helps keep your focus and attention on the big picture. I personally do this for my work goals as well as our homeschool goals each day.
If I can check those few things off my list I can go to bed feeling accomplished.
Check out the Slay Your Goals Planner.
3. Don’t check email
Most people wake up and immediately check their emails every morning. I’m guilty of this too. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to stop doing this. Think about it…you get a single email requesting something from you or asking for a response and immediately your day begins with something you didn’t plan.
Checking e-mails first thing in the morning is a sure to way immediately start your day by giving your time to someone else. This may be a tough habit to break but it can be a life-changing one, to say the least.
4. Start with the hardest stuff first
Chances are you go to bed each night knowing what you need to do the next day. Maybe there is one thing in particular that has been weighing on your mind. Do that first. If you avoid these big projects with the intention of getting small things done first, odds are you will never actually get around to completing your big task at hand.
Even more than that you might not accomplish those small tasks well. If you spend the whole day with this big task weighing on your mind, you’re not really giving your undivided attention to anything else.
5. Time block
This is an especially helpful tool if you work from home. When you work at a corporate job, chances are you have meetings scheduled, breaks set aside and all that other fun stuff. Working from home means your time is yours and that means that it can be pretty easy to get off task. Start by creating a time blocking schedule for yourself and sticking to it.
When my kids and I are in the middle of our school year, I give myself the first 3 hours of the day. From 6 to 9 a.m. I get done the major things that I need to. Sometimes stopping when I still have more to do feels almost impossible, but I have to in order to accomplish the rest of the things on our to-do list.
If you’re not the best with time blocking or organization, I highly recommend Abby Lawson’s Simplify + Planner. Abby even shared her time blocking strategy on Forbes.com!
6. Meal prep
As a stay-at-home mom, everything surrounding meal time has always been my biggest time-suck. I have always made 90% of our meals from scratch which means lots of mess, lots of time in front of the stove, and is probably why my brain shuts down immediately afterward.
If you totally struggle in this area, try out some of my best breakfasts to meal prep:
Breakfasts are some of the easiest ones to meal prep and can help you start your day quickly and effectively while still being healthy.
7. Prep the crockpot
I know Instant Pots are all the craze these days, but I’m not totally sold. The simplicity of being able to throw ingredients into a crock pot, turn it on low, and have it ready at the end of the day is one of my ultimate time savers.
The Insta pot is fast but it would still require me making a mess at dinner time. It’s a debate I’m still going over in my head. If you have a strong love for Insta pot vs crockpot, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
8. Have someone else plan your meals
Personally, I love baking and cooking. It comes pretty naturally to me. I know this isn’t the case for all people and I know not everyone has the time to figure it out. That’s why it’s so great that the option is now available for you to have someone else do all that planning for you!
The $5 Meal Plan was created by a busy mother of 4 to help other moms create healthy, affordable meals for their families.
You can select different meals to make and get the grocery list along with it! All the guesswork is completely gone!
9. Get groceries delivered
Show of hands…who loves this new movement of grocery stores hopping on board with grocery delivery and pick up?
I won’t lie, I used to think people who had groceries delivered were just plain lazy. Then I had kids. Sure when you’re single/working/going to school you have all the time in the world to stroll the grocery store aisles scooping up Pop Tarts and Oreos along the way.
Once you add little people and a full-time job into the mix, that time frame seems to tighten up a bit. Grocery shopping for a busy mom can be one of the most stressful experiences of her entire life. A working mom or dad rushing to daycare pick up after a long day at work generally just wants to get home and relax.
This major grocery stress didn’t go unnoticed. Not only did more and more online grocery stores become available, but more and more local chains are now allowing you to order online, pick up at the store or even get an order delivered directly to you.
Best online stores:
Stores that deliver or let you pick up
- Instacart – Order the foods you love and get them delivered right to your door…including fresh produce!
10. Get takeout from anywhere
Right along with groceries delivered to your door, UberEATS lets you order takeout from local restaurants and get it delivered right to your door. So, if you don’t feel like cooking and want to save yourself the stress and mess, see if they are delivering near you.
11. Turn off notifications
If you are in working mode, turn your phone notifications off. Any little “beep” is bound to be a big distraction that will only steer you off track.
People these days (myself included) can too easily get sucked into the smartphone world…even if it still has to do with work.
If you’re a part of a group text, feel free to turn that specific message group on silent! Check those messages when you want to and when you have time.
12. Quit texting
Text messages are great if you have a quick, to the point message to share with someone. When they become a big problem is when it turns into a full blown conversation.
This is no longer a time saver. If you have something to say that you know will require a little back and forth chatting, set aside 5 minutes to make a phone call and get the conversation out of the way. Not only will you shave time off your schedule but you won’t have any of those awkward text misunderstandings.
13. Reduce screen time
Turning off notifications and reducing text messages are major time savers, but let’s face it, you could probably try harder.
Make a conscious effort not to sit on your phone scrolling the day away. A quick Facebook scroll can quickly turn into a 30 minute Facebook scroll until you’re so far into kitten videos you don’t even remember how you got here.
Screens suck our time and literally our energy. As an added bonus, set your phone on airplane mode at night to prevent yourself from sucking in those extra Wifi rays that can screw with your sleep and affect your energy the next morning.
If you have a habit of falling asleep in front of the TV, try to kick this habit to the curb. Studies have shown that a simple 6 minutes with a good book before bed will help you sleep quicker and improve the quality of your sleep as well.
14. Combine errands
Instead of running errands multiple times a week, get a strategy down for your running around.
If you’re headed in one direction, think about anything else you need to accomplish while you’re in that area. Keep that two birds, one stone strategy in the back of your mind at all times and you’ll find yourself shaving a lot of time off your schedule.
15. Skip the pharmacy
If you are making monthly (or more) trips to the drugstore, quit adding this to your to-do list.
With Phil pharmacy, they will work directly with your doctor, get your refills scheduled on time for your entire family and deliver them directly to your door for free. You pay the same co-pays and they will even help when it comes to insurance issues!
16. Take the train
It is so awesome to see more and more cities hopping on board with public transportation. If you find yourself spending an hour or more behind the wheel on your commute why not consider saving on time, energy, and waste by skipping the commute and taking the train?
I have friends who take the train to and from their jobs in the cities. Not only do they take this time to unwind and relax before and after work but it allows them a little extra time to get some things done that they wouldn’t have had time for if they had been stuck behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Sure, you could take a carpool to work and back instead of the train, but I was thinking something a little different.
If you have kids in sports, start making friends with some other parents and get a carpooling system down. Week nights get crazy busy when it comes to getting everybody to their sports on time. Save some time and energy by taking turns with different families.
The kids love this and also takes some of the rush out of your week!
Ahh, that magical word that makes dreams come true. When I started writing this post, I sat down and thought about all the things that were my biggest time suckers.
Vacuming and sweeping, without a doubt, take up more of my waking hours than any other task. (I might be exaggerating.) Having 3 kids and 2 dogs, I don’t know what I expected to happen. Every single time I pick up that broom my brain instantly fantasizes about having a Roomba at my feet.
Sure, I would take a maid, and if you can fit it in your budget, by all means take advantage.
For those of you on a tighter budget who hate maintaining floors as much as I do, get a sinking fund together and get a Roomba to the rescue!
19. Workout at home
Not everyone goes to the gym, that’s cool. For those that do and find themselves driving 30 minutes out of their way just to get there, it might be time to consider saving time and working out from home.
I have some great tips and ideas to do this effectively and affordably:
- Start a Home Gym for Less than the Cost of a 1 Month Gym Membership
- Home Gym: 5 Equipment Options for Any Size Home
- 5 Best YouTube Channels for at Home Workouts
20. Stop organizing
Yes! Stop the organizing madness! More often than not you are just finding a neat way to store all of your junk! Why not go straight to the source and stop the junk pile up all together?!
Less stuff in your life that you need to manage means more free time to do other things. I think the best place for anyone to start is in the kitchen.
Helpful posts for decluttering:
- 10 Tips for Cleaning and Decluttering When You Have No Motivation
- 10 Simple Declutter Moves That Take 10 Minutes or Less
- 25 Ways to Completely Declutter Your Mind, Body, and Home
21. Downsize your wardrobe
Going hand in hand with quitting the organizing, consider trying a capsule wardrobe.
Clearing some of the outfit options from your closet can make getting ready in the morning quicker and less stressful. I personally struggle fully committing to a capsule wardrobe because of the inconsistent temperatures of living in a northern state.
Some people make their wardrobes easier by tucking their winter gear away for half the year. I prefer to keep all my sweaters and sweatshirts easily accessible.
That didn’t stop me from totally downsizing all the clothes I own. Everything in my closet is something I really love to wear. You know how you have those few favorite shirts that you always want to wear or those pants that look amazing on you? Why not make those the only kinds of clothes in your closet? Ones that bring you joy and make you feel awesome about yourself.
22. Quit things
Quitting. Something that is not encouraged enough.
When your schedule is over-booked and you feel stressed out and over-worked, then it is time to create some wiggle room. You have got to find somewhere to cut back.
Chances are, if you listen to your heart for just a second, you’ll know exactly where it is that you need to step back.
For me, it was teaching Sunday school. My mind told me this was terrible. Volunteering was good, they needed my help and I love my church. For some reason though, this was something that caused me great stress. Homeschooling all week and sometimes getting a bonus Saturday with my kids when Tom got called into work left me pretty burnt out come Sunday.
Taking a step back from one or two things in your life will give you more time back for your top priorities and help keep you sane!
23. Say no
If you’re already in the process of cutting things from your schedule, don’t add more by feeling obligated to say, “yes” to more than you can handle.
Saying the word “no” more often can definitely take some practice but it can be your saving grace for time and sanity sake.
24. Ask for help
Feeling overwhelmed and overworked? Don’t hesitate to ask for help from family members, co-workers, and friends. I know a lot of times people don’t want to make others feel obligated to help. The truth is, it’s necessary. All of mankind needs to be able to lean on one another sometimes
25. Take a vacation
Of cours,e I saved the best for last. Taking a vacation from the stress of work and home life is absolutely necessary and a great way to get some of your time back.
- 3 Ways Uber Can Help You Save for a Vacation
- How to Plan a Cheap Family Vacation
- Book Your Travel Plans All in One Place