We'd all love to practise more mindfulness. How often have you said to yourself, or someone else, "but I don't have time"? It's a common hurdle to overcome. The truth is, if we want to spend more time doing the good things, then we have to save time where we can.
Here are six tips you might not have thought of which might help you win back some time in your day.
Just remember, the time you get back needs to be put to good use!
Set a timer for the distractions
Have you ever jumped on your laptop to look for a new recipe to try? How about skipping onto Facebook or Instagram to find out what your friends are up to?
We've all been there - next thing you know, close to an hour has passed and you're still scrolling.
Some activities just have a knack for sucking us in and distracting us from our main task or goal.
For these activities, set a timer on your phone. 15 or 20 minutes, you decide.
Be strict - when it goes off, close your apps or get up and walk away.
Use a meal plan to create a weekly menu
This can be a little counter-intuitive. After all, what if you don't have time to plan your meals?
This is where we work on changing our mindset. By investing some time in planning our meals, we save time and accrue it back during the week.
Write a list, do your shop - buy what you need.
Then, when you get home, prep your food to make life easy. Cut up your fruit, wash and trim your vegetables. Portion out your foods into pre-measured packs that you can grab for your lunch.
Enjoy smoothies in the morning? Bag and freeze your ingredients in single-servings so all you have to do is throw the contents in the blender.
Perhaps you can cook up several batches, particularly of staples like grilled chicken or rice. Look at items that can be re-heated quickly and easily during the week, or even served cold.
This effort upfront will ultimately save you time and energy throughout the week.
All that mental energy and effort you'll save not having to think about what to make for dinner. Or knowing you'll have to stop off at the shops for last-minute items on your way home from a tough day at work. You'll also become less reliant on highly processed, high-calorie foods and takeaway meals.
Walk away from the drama and the bull**it
Unfortunately, in a lot of workplaces, the drama and gossiping are no different to that of an average high school. Getting sucked into it wastes not only time but a lot of mental and emotional energy.
The next time a conversation shifts towards talking about someone in a less-than-flattering light, excuse yourself. Find somewhere else to be. Likewise, when you're forced to endure yet another draining, self-pity story from an acquaintance.
No good comes from surrounding yourself with negativity and drama.
All you'll lose is time, with little to show for it.
Get more done in less time - employ interval training in your exercise sessions
Rather than trudging through a mundane treadmill session, slogging away at the same pace, mix it up. Run for some short, fast bursts, even for just 10 to 40 seconds. Then slow back down to your normal pace for the next couple of minutes.
Repeat this for your whole session.
You'll create more of a training stimulus and increase the effort and intensity of your session.
The result? You won't have to stay as long to get the same benefits.
You might get all the results of a 1-hour workout condensed into just 45, or even 30 minutes instead.
Clean your desk and work area
A cluttered workspace is a cluttered mind. It's distracting, time-zapping and energy draining.
Additionally, disorganization can lead to procrastination. Everything takes longer to accomplish... if you get to it at all!
Firstly, find a place for everything. Set up a proper filing system if you have to. Invest in storage systems and document trays. You can do the same at home too don't forget.
Finally, always return the items to their proper spot. That's the beauty of a well-organised system. When everything has a place, it's easy to put back in its place.
Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal
That Netflix episode will still be there tomorrow. You may even have more time to watch your show tomorrow if you get to bed earlier tonight.
Adequate sleep is a key factor in ensuring our bodies and brains have the energy to work efficiently throughout the day. You'll stay focused, be able to make quick decisions and your problem-solving skills will improve too.
Furthermore, your memory can even improve!
Like an athlete training for the Olympics, you'll be at peak performance. Ready to get things done and doing them better, in less time.