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Time for a Change
The Editors | Photo: MD. Gregory/Photo Researchers/Getty Images | December 30, 2013
Even with today’s ultramodern tools designed to enhance efficiency, many feel more pressed for time than ever. Dr. Samantha Boardman suggests a few small changes to help you make the most of every day.
Make Quality Time
Quality face time is a vital element of well-being. According to research, 80 percent of people check their phone first thing in the morning—before brushing their teeth, kissing their partner or hugging their kids. Don’t be one of them. It’s up to you to prioritize your real priorities.
De-stress During the Day
Why wait for weekends to recharge? Working through lunch isn’t the most effective strategy. A growing body of research suggests that naps and breaks throughout the day will make you more productive.
Minimize “Empty Calories”
“We live in the information age, in an answer-rich, question-poor environment,” writes neuroscientist Susan Greenfield. “We’re constantly bombarded with information.” A lot of that information is the emotional equivalent of empty calories. In the name of staying connected, we allow email, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to capture our attention. Those empty calories gobble up our precious time.
When we’re sleep deprived, we accomplish less. As written by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement, “Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.”
If you really want to do more, sleep more.
According to author and scientist Tom Rath, exercise provides a boost in energy and mood—two vital ingredients
of quality time.
All Hours Are Not Created Equal
Face time isn’t everything. As entrepreneur Faisal Hoque writes, “Orienting our work lives around the hours we put in is a way of avoiding the responsibility of using our consciousness and our energy in the best possible way.” Don’t value hours over results.
Structure Your Day Around Your Strengths
Different tasks require different types of work. What time of day are you most efficient? Use those golden hours to focus on important work—don’t waste it on mundane matters.
Say “No, But Thank You for Thinking of Me”
Guard your time wisely. Say no to things that don’t align with your values or interests, or that you know will bring more stress than reward.
As neuroscientist David Eagleman puts it, “The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.” By slowing down, paying attention and noticing the world around us, time slows. Wise decisions require mindfulness, reflection and, yes, time.
Stop Chasing Your Tail
Numerous studies show the physical and mental benefits of mindfulness and meditation. It’s about turning off autopilot and being in the moment.
Give It Away
One way to feel less pressed for time is to donate it. Doing things for others, rather than focusing on ourselves, expands our sense of time. It also boosts our feelings of competence and efficiency.