How to Accomplish More in 24 Hours

accomplish more in 24 hours

Did you know that effective time management is a key principle to a less stressful life? If yes, then why do so many of us struggle with managing our time better?

Just in the last week alone I’ve noticed a number of people on Twitter saying “I need more hours in a day”.

No matter what our situation is there never seems to be enough time to accomplish all the things we would like to get done. Whether it is stuff for work, chores around the house or simply finding time to hang out with friends and family – we all seem to be running around, frantically trying to keep up. If you are one of the many people that wishes there were more hours in each day, here are some tips on how to accomplish more in 24 hours and still enjoy your life.

Begin With a Healthy Breakfast

Do you eat breakfast? Eating a good breakfast that includes a good source of protein will definitely make your day easier.

Why? Because protein boosts our energy levels and our outlook on life in general.

You will find that on the days that you eat a good breakfast that is high in protein, tasks that typically annoy you, upset you, or slow you down, will no longer bother you. You will smile and you will find yourself accomplishing all kinds of things.

If you are typically in a hurry to get out of the door in the morning, one thing you can do is to bake a large quiche of eggs, veggies and cheese when you have a minute (it is quick and easy). When it cools off after it is finished baking, slice it into serving size pieces and place it in a storage (freezer type) container. Freeze some portions and put the rest in the fridge. Each morning you can quickly heat up a serving of the quiche in the micowave in about 3 minutes, and there you have it, a good protein based breakfast.

Write a Daily To–Do List

At the beginning of every week write out a daily to do list. Include work stuff, household chores, appointments, kids activities, grocery shopping, meal prep, fun time, and so on.

Prioritize

Go through your list and prioritize each task. Some things absolutely have to get done, but there may be a few things that you can reschedule for another time.

As well, many of us have certain times of the day where we feel more alert and more motivated then other times.

As you prioritize your tasks do your best to take advantage of certain times of the day.

For example, if you feel more motivated to exercise early in the morning, then do it. If you feel more motivated to do some baking and make some extra meals after your children go to bed at night, then do it. Pay attention to what your body is telling you instead of working against it.

Use a Calendar to Plan & Schedule Each Day

If the majority of your time is spent managing your household then the best place to keep your calendar is somewhere in the kitchen so that all family members will see it, and hopefully everyone will be on the same page, so to speak.

Likewise, if the majority of your time is spent managing your business, or your job, and it’s just you, or just you and your spouse, then perhaps an online calendar or a paper based daily planner would work best.

Don't Waste Your Time on Unnecessary Tasks

How many times have you looked at the clock and it’s noon and you realize that while you did a lot of little things throughout the morning, you haven’t completed any of the major tasks that you had schedule for that morning? We all do this, especially if we dread the tasks on our schedule.

But you know what? If you do those dreaded tasks first thing, by noon hour you will feel amazing. You will be able to strike those tasks off of your to-do list and you will feel this sense of accomplishment that will get you through the rest of your day.

So tomorrow morning instead of doing a lot of nothing, choose to do at least one important task right away. As you do this each day it will soon become second nature to you.

Delegate Tasks

How do you accomplish more in 24 hours? You delegate, whenever and wherever possible.

If you operate your own business or have a job that allows you to delegate tasks, then do it. Quit being afraid and quite assuming that others will not do it as good as you can do it.

If you live on your own or your house consists of you and your dog or cat, then delegating home chores may be more difficult. As much as I would like to, I know our cats cannot clean their own litter boxes.

But if your house is over flowing with family members and you are solely responsible for running the house, it is time to start delegating. Use your calendar to list all of the chores that need to be done and who should be doing them.

Your list could include setting the table, cleaning out the dishwasher, vacuuming, or mopping the floors. Last week in a comment on 8 Ways a Blogger Can Create More Time for Themselves, CarolB talked about how she has her 14 year old mop the floors for $5.00. What a brilliant way to delegate.

The more responsibility you pass to everyone else in the house, the more you will accomplish each day.

Break Large Jobs Down into Smaller Jobs

Perhaps you need to tackle a big project at work or you need to tackle a big project at home, such as landscaping your backyard or painting the fence.

Break this large task into smaller more manageable tasks, and include those tasks in your daily schedule.

Limit Distractions

Hang a do not disturb sign on your door. Turn off the TV, your cell phone, your home phone, your office phone, and focus on the task at hand. If you need to get a paper written, just do it. If you need to complete a project for school, or work, allow yourself several hours of uninterrupted time, and just do it.

Remember to Take a Break Each Day

take a break each day

Life is meant to be enjoyed, and if you fill your calendar with one task after another you will be completely wiped out.

Remember to allow yourself a little bit of me time everyday to re-energize. Whether you go for a walk, or simply sit with your feet up and enjoy a coffee, whatever helps you to relax.

As well, make sure to allow yourself some time at least one day or one half day a week where you have nothing scheduled at all.

Talk Less, Do More

Have you ever noticed that there are those that talk and talk about all the things they are going to do, but never do them, and then there are those people that just get up and get going, and manage to get more done by lunch then the rest of us do all day long?

Which person would you rather be?

If you are a busy person that always wishes for more time, take a closer look at how you currently spend your time. Are you a talker or a doer?

There are so many things that we can all do to get more done in 24 hours. The first step is to look at how you currently do things and how well that is working. The second is to implement a new schedule or make adjustments to your existing schedule. And by all means, remember to delegate whenever possible.

 


Comments

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

      Laurie @thefrugalfarmer 03/05/2013 4:20 a.m. #

      Excellent post, Sicorra! Making a list and prioritizing it has been most successful for me. I love the part too about doing at least one important task right away in the AM. Getting at least one biggie out of the way makes the list seem not so overwhelming. Thanks for the great info!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:04 p.m. #

        Thanks Laurie! I think by having lists that we can follow and cross things off of we feel a sense of accomplishment, plus, of course, it helps us stay on track.

    • Michelle

      Michelle 03/05/2013 6:22 a.m. #

      I definitely need to work on having a more healthy breakfast. I'm horrible with that!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:07 p.m. #

        I find that it makes a big difference to both my mood and my level of energy.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 03/05/2013 7:52 a.m. #

      Great tips Sicorra! I am regularly looking for ways to be more efficient throughout the day. We use many of these ourselves, but not doing unnecessary tasks and delegating are vital.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:09 p.m. #

        Being efficient isn't always easy, but we something that gets easier with new habits.

    • Andrea @ Take A Smart Step

      Andrea @ Take A Smart Step 03/05/2013 7:55 a.m. #

      I love the tip on taking a break. So many people believe they need to keep working and put more hours in, but not only do we need to enjoy life but you also become more productive when you have a clear head. Focus can come from relaxation!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:15 p.m. #

        You are exactly right Andrea - focus can come from relaxation. We all need to take time to let your bodies rest and rebuild our energy levels.

    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 03/05/2013 8:31 a.m. #

      Great, great, GREAT post! I am all about efficiency and getting things done, as well as "best practices" when it comes to planning and fitting more in your day. I constantly make to-do lists for work, home, the blog, etc. and calendars are huge helps as well.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:17 p.m. #

        I think the more responsibilities we have the more important it is to be organized.

        You did a super job remodeling your basement apartment and I'm sure you wouldn't have been able to do that if you hadn't been organized with that as well as everything else you have going on.

    • Sarah

      Sarah 03/05/2013 8:41 a.m. #

      "Talk Less, Do More" - yes to this! I often realize I just need to do the next thing. It's not rocket science but it works. :)

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:19 p.m. #

        Exactly! Just keep moving instead of just talking about the things we need or would like to do.

    • krantcents

      krantcents 03/05/2013 8:57 a.m. #

      I use lists very effectively. It keeps the important stuff in front of me and I like crossing them off.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:20 p.m. #

        I love crossing things off as well. What a feeling of accomplishment.

    • Justin @ The Family Finances

      Justin @ The Family Finances 03/05/2013 9:31 a.m. #

      I read Stephen Covey's book "The Five Habits" a while back, and the chapter about focusing your energy on what is important goes hand in hand with this. He breaks tasks down into five categories: Important/Urgent, Important/Not Urgent, Not Important/Urgent, and Not Important/Not Urgent. The key is to spend the bulk of your time on the two Important categores and less on the Not Important ones.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:23 p.m. #

        I remember reading that a few years ago and applying a similar strategy to IT projects that I use to work on when I was a PM. It helped us to identify the really critical tasks versus the not so critical ones. The same can be applied to our daily schedules at home or at work.

    • Mackenzie

      Mackenzie 03/05/2013 10:43 a.m. #

      Everything you said is spot on! Every Monday morning, I make my to-do list for the week, so I know what I need to get done. Appointments, chores, bills that need to be paid, etc.. If I didn't do this, nothing would get done and it would be chaotic.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:24 p.m. #

        It is good to feel organized, isn't it? Much easier to sleep at night too, knowing that it is all written down so you don't have to worry about forgetting anything.

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 03/05/2013 11:47 a.m. #

      Agree, agree, agree! We all want more time in the day but since that seems impossible - the next best thing is to be super efficient with our time. At work, I keep my head down and well, work! :) Delegation isn't always easy, but you have to learn to let go and trust others. You can't do everything. In our home, we have a weekly job chart and the girls post for job to earn money. One of those tasks is cleaning out the litter box! Because unfortunately, you're right - the cat won't change his own litter box, no matter how much you beg!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:26 p.m. #

        That is so cool that your girls are helping out around the house and learning how to take care of your cat too. It helps them build a sense of responsibility that will only make their adult lives even easier for them.

    • Money Beagle

      Money Beagle 03/05/2013 12:03 p.m. #

      Great list. I do many of these things. I start off with a to-do list every day, and from there I break bigger tasks and even meetings into stuff that takes no more than 15 minutes in most cases. That lets me get done 4-5 things per hour that I can cross off, which keeps my momentum going throughout the day. I also tend to get a lot of the 'smaller' stuff done in the morning, because I'm most productive then PLUS when I cross of a lot of things, it really helps keep things moving. Little tricks we play with ourselves :)

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:30 p.m. #

        You bring up a very good point - the more you get done the more momentum you have to continue on. I feel the same way.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 03/05/2013 12:30 p.m. #

      I do everything except delegate and I think that's my problem. I guess it's a control thing! Another one of my hang-ups is saying no. I want to help everyone who needs me and I need to know my own limits.

      I love posts like this that make me realize stuff, saves me a lot of money sitting on a therapist's couch ;)Now if only I can act on those things to try and fix it, LOL.

      You put some great advice together Sicorra, thanks for sharing this!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/05/2013 12:33 p.m. #

        Hey Corina!

        Happy to be your couch :-)

        Being comfortable delegating is a work in progress. Many of us struggle with it for one reason or another. I think it is like anything in life, until we do it we don't know what to expect or what will happen. Will it work out, won't it work out?? It is scary.

    • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

      Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr 03/05/2013 7:10 p.m. #

      Time management is something that I try to improve daily. I good at completing tasks on time but I'm easily distracted. Of course, I say that's my creative juices working! LOL!! I used to skip breakfast but now I don't. It really does make a huge difference in my energy levels and ability to power through things. Delegation is hard for me. Half the time I'm worried I'm being a burden by asking someone for help or I'm in control freak mode and can't let go! Definitely something I'm working on!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/06/2013 10:45 a.m. #

        I think when it comes to time management most of us are a work in progress. We want to accomplish more and we do our best. Some days it works well and some days it may not. Delegating is hard to for so many reasons, but I think once we see it work in our favor we get comfortable with doing it more often.

    • Debt RoundUp

      Debt RoundUp 03/05/2013 9:59 p.m. #

      I hate doing unnecessary tasks and being inefficient. It makes me angry when I know I wasted time.

    • Heather

      Heather 03/11/2013 10:27 p.m. #

      Great post! I use the Cozi Family Planner that you can sync on smart phones and use on computers or ipads to check things off my multiple lists each day. I have a list of house hold chores and a list of blog things that need to be done and a list of weekly projects. But I think the key thing you wrote here is to try and limit how many tasks you pile on yourself, or like you said then you are having no fun. For me, I'm a doer. I get out of bed at 7am every morning even thought I am a stay at home mom and I start the day with coffee and breakfast for the kids and we pretty much have a scheduled day, but I think we need to schedule some more play time in there. So thanks for that reminder!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/12/2013 12:49 p.m. #

        There are so many apps these days to make life easier. Great that you found one that works well as it sounds like you have a lot going on each day and being organized helps you accomplish what you need. Plus I think kids like having a set schedule as well so they know what to expect and when.

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