10 ways to add an hour to your day

Too busy? So are we. Here are 10 ways to make your to-do list more manageable

10 ways to add an hour to your day

Ever wish you had an extra hour to help you barrel through your to-do list? Us, too. But until governments recognize Standard Mom Time (i.e., the 25-hour day), here are 10 easy ways to add that proverbial hour to your day.

1. Scratch things off the to-do list

If your life’s a never-ending task-list, chances are you feel like a hamster on a wheel: going fast yet getting nowhere. Take a look at your list and ask yourself what line items really matter. Are there things that could be postponed a week, a month’even, dare we say, indefinitely? Delete.

2. Double up on popular meals

When it comes to cooking your family’s fave meals, be sure to whip up extra-large batches. ‘When I make fried rice, I double the recipe and freeze half of it to eat the next week or another time I’m too busy or lazy to cook,’ says Toronto mom-of-one Jane Carnovale. ‘Same thing for soups and homemade tomato sauce.’ It’s like a frozen entrée ‘ only most likely healthier and cheaper to boot.

3. Get smart about takeout

Convenience foods often have lots of fat and sodium, so it’s wise to rely on them for the time-consuming portion of your meal, but make simple and healthy side dishes from scratch. ‘I’ll often purchase a roast chicken’our local store carries free range/organic ones’then all I have to do when I get home is make a salad,’ says Sonja Babic, an Etobicoke, Ont., mom of three. This compromise saves you time without compromising nutrition.

4. Delegate ruthlessly

Trust us: This will be harder on you than them. Just start delegating. Your teen can change the cat litter. Your 8-year-old can clean her own bedroom. Your husband can buy the birthday present for that party this weekend (what’s with other parents who send out invites on such short notice anyway?!).

5. Emulate Starbucks

Want your home to run efficiently? Take some hints from a good franchise operation, says Toronto-based executive trainer Ellen Smith of Encourse.ca. ‘Systems and process are important. Take Starbucks’there’s a system in everything they do,’ says Smith. If, like the popular coffee chain, you keep your kitchen counters tidy, with the most commonly used morning essentials (in this case, coffee, cereal, bread, portable mugs and water bottles) upfront and ready to go, you’ll be able to cut back on a.m. foraging and last-minute washing.

6. Turn off the TV

You know what? Reality TV is lame. Stop wasting time watching it.

7. Stop helicopter-parenting at the playground

Left to their own devices, kids can and will survive playground time without adult intervention. (We did, right?) So why hover? Use park time to take it easy and catch up on stuff you can’t do at home when it’s go-go-go. Read a book or magazine, catch up on email or do some yoga stretches. Relax: your kid knows you’re there if she needs you.

8. Cool it with the social networking sites

Facebook and Twitter are enormous time gobblers. If you check your non-work-related social media less frequently, you’ll free up at least an hour each day. Another option is to visit only when you’re already killing time waiting in line, sitting on public transit or waiting for someone to arrive to a meeting or restaurant date.

9. Wake up earlier

You can literally add an hour this way. But more important, waking up earlier, whether an hour or just 20 minutes, gives you time to ground yourself before all hell (aka family rush hour) breaks loose. ‘This ‘me time’ is essential. Create a ritual each morning that sets the tone for the day,’ says Smith. Go for a quick run, enjoy a cup of coffee in the yard or meditate. Slotting your me-time upfront means there’s no way it’ll get scrapped later.

10. Don’t email or phone friends’have a party!

Huh? It sounds unintuitive, but if you cut emailing, texting, FBing and phoning your BFFs during the day, knowing you’ll be meeting later on (girls-only or families-in-tow is up to you), you’ll maximize your work-time all week long. Then have a Friday night potluck so you can share the prep duty’and catch up while you feast!

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