Are you struggling to make the most out of your time during the week? Feel like you could be accomplishing more than you are? You absolutely can be, and we’ve compiled a list of strategies to help you start saving time during the work week!
Relax During the Weekend!
If you are going into the week already burnt out, chances are high that time is going to tick away without you even noticing. This is why it is essential that you let yourself relax during the weekend. Keep your working activities to a minimum on Saturday and Sunday and clear the way for movies, books, music or whatever makes you happy and calm. If you lost some sleep during the week, take time to rest and allow your body to recover. The key is to enter the next week feeling refreshed and rested!
Prep Your Meals
Whether you are a five-star chef or cheer for joy when you don’t burn your toast, a significant amount of time is spent getting your lunches and dinners together each day. After a long day, cooking can be a monumental task, one that many may forego for takeout or a protein bar. This is why getting your meals ready before you are enveloped in your work week is so critical. Spend time on your off-days preparing three to four dishes and packing them into servings. You could also consider dipping a toe into the world of meal kits. Services such as Hello Fresh allow you to select the meals you would like to make, and then have the ingredients and recipes all shipped to your doorstep. If you are someone who hates grocery shopping, or often forgets about the week-old vegetables wasting away in your fridge, a meal kit might be the route for you. Whatever you choose, enjoy your meal!
Prep Your Wardrobe
You’d be amazed at just how much time is spent on deciding what to wear for the day. Even though we are in the age of online work, dressing the part can help maintain motivation. Even if that means just a dress shirt on top, it’s still a decision you have to make. Go through your wardrobe and select the outfits you would like to wear, placing them each on a separate hanger or folded separately so you can easily line them up in order for the week.
Schedule Early (and by the hour!)
Before you even begin the week, set yourself up with a schedule. You will sleep better on Sunday night knowing that you are going into the week with a plan. If you consider yourself to be a Type A personality, or if you just enjoy detail, consider scheduling using hour blocks. Make a list of all of the hours you will work each day, and fill in the task(s) you hope to accomplish each hour. This will allow you to continuously be checking things off, upping both your time-awareness and motivation. Curious to learn more about this method? Check out one of our previous articles, “Why You Need to Start Time Blocking!”
Understanding Your Circadian Rhythm
Chances are that you have a set work schedule as dictated by your company. However, if you have the flexibility to choose your working hours, or have some tasks to complete beyond your time in the office, it is important to get familiar with your Circadian Rhythm. According to an article from WebMD, every individual is naturally hardwired to feel more awake and more tired at certain points in the 24-hour period (these traits are where the terms “early bird” and “night owl” tend to come from). If you know that you struggle to wake up before 10 a.m. and feel the desperate need for a nap at 3 p.m., try scheduling your work between these hours to account for your body’s natural downtime.
The Commute Game
Understanding your commute is essential to saving time wasted in traffic. If you haven’t had a chance to explore the traffic flow at different times along your route, head over to your application store and download a navigational app. Chances are that your favorite app has a commute functionality in which you can dictate the time you need to be at your workplace. The app will then calculate when you need to be leaving your home. In the case of spontaneous traffic jams, remember that the quickest route may be on backroads!
Make Your Errands a One-Stop Shop
If you are able to consolidate the errands you need to run, do so! Say you need to pick up some groceries, get gas and mail out a package. Is your nearest post office close to a supermarket? Does that supermarket have a gas station associated with it? If the answer is yes, you’ve found your perfect stop. You might also consider grocery delivery or curbside pickup. COVID-19 has brought about change in all areas of life, including how we shop. Most grocery stores now offer pre-pay services in which you can either have your groceries delivered to you or picked up in designated parking spaces outside of the store.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about what distracts you? If the word “smartphone” didn’t pop into your head, consider adding it to your list. A study conducted by Statista found that half of their U.S. survey respondents spend an average of five to six hours on their smartphone outside of work purposes. Unfortunately, the pandemic has moved a significant amount of work online, making the smartphone an integral element of the work environment. However, if you do not need your smartphone, put it away. This can mean placing it in a pocket, another room or even in a drawer.
While genres such as pop or rap may not be helpful to focus, allow us to introduce you to instrumental music. The lack of lyrics avoids drawing your mind’s attention away from what you are doing and helps you focus. Select a playlist from genres like classical, jazz, film and tv scores, or even specific frequencies or sound baths. You can find multiple, hour-long loops of frequencies and white noises available on YouTube and Spotify. In a similar category, sound baths are conducted by the constant ringing of multiple rose quartz bowls. While good for work, these loops are also highly effective in combating insomnia and eliminating stress.
Apply your favorite, or all, of these methods to your week and see how well you are able to budget your time. Keep in mind that this is only a glimpse into time-saving strategies and if you like what you’ve seen here, add some more methods into your week!
Grace Holladay is a third-year student at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH. She loves to spend her free time cooking new recipes, binging Marvel movies, and dancing at her university’s rec center.