4 Ways to Reclaim Your Time

From work, to family, to daily tasks and future planning, there’s a good chance you may be feeling pulled in a thousand directions every. single. day.

And you’re not alone — the modern adult wears dozens of hats and isn’t merely busy, but consumed by all of life’s responsibilities. Does it sometimes feel like you’re just in auto-pilot?

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While taking a break from all this adulting is certainly self-care, sometimes we just don’t feel like we have enough time in the day. How many times do you catch yourself saying, “I don’t have time for that.”? (For me, I’ll say an average of 5,482 times/day.)

When we mention time, a great deal of us are wishing for more of it when we feel like we don’t have any. And with 24 hours in the day, you would think that we would have enough.

For our self-care, time is essential. Right? We need some time, even if its only a moment, to actually pause and take care of mental, physical and spiritual selves. Otherwise, we reach the point of burn out and aren’t able to show up for any of our dozens of roles.

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So how can we find the time? Let’s think about being in that “auto-pilot” mode: you know, the mode you sometimes get into to just get things done? You’re rushing and working and moving so you can cross off that extra long to-do list, get through traffic and pick up dinner all before the sun goes down.

If you take just a second to check out of this “auto-pilot” mode, you just might notice that there are a few parts of your everyday life that are getting in the way of you having more time. And in building your awareness around these parts, there’s hope that you can reclaim some of your time back. Let’s get into 4 ways you can regain your precious time.

Turn off “auto-play”

Do you notice yourself watching show after show, video after video, without consciously knowing that you are watching? In all of the well-intention that many technological advancements have provided us, binge-watching has definitely taken up a lot of our time.

Take back some of your time by simply turning off the “auto-play” feature on your favorite streaming services.

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You may have just wanted to watch one video on Youtube, but ended up 20 minutes deep into the latest news story, or yet another dancing cat video. Build your mindfulness around how often and how long you spend on streaming services and you’ll see how easy your time can be taken away.

Utilize the “Do Not Disturb” feature

Okay, I’m going to just put this out there: you do not have to available to everybody all the time.

Yup, I said it. You don’t. And in fact, you probably shouldn’t.

Take a step back and reflect on who you believe should (or even who you believe deserves) to have access to you on a regular basis. Some people who may cross your mind could be:

  • Your children
  • Your intimate partner
  • A few family members

Again, there’s a good chance that everyone in your life didn’t make the cut? That’s a good thing — give your closest loved ones permission to have access to you and then, give yourself permission set some boundaries.

For instance, the Do Not Disturb feature on the iPhone can help you set times when your phone will not ring, vibrate, or notify you. For instance, can set times for Do Not Disturb to be on during the time you usually start your bedtime routine ’til you reach your place of work. The only folks who will be able to get through are, you guessed it, your closest loved ones. Talk about boundary-setting!

Not sure how to use Do Not Disturb? Click here for a step-by-step tutorial.

Unsubscribe (and stop signing up for) inactive emails.

You know when you’ve made a purchase at a retail store and the cashier asks you for your email address? Here’s your next chance to snap out of auto-pilot.

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As many times as most professional folks check their email throughout the day, how often are you going through and deleting emails you’re not interested in? (Or, even more consequential, making instant-gratification purchases with little thought because there’s another “sale” going on! Come on now, it happens!) That time adds up.

Instead of deleting yet another promotional email, scroll all the way down and unsubscribe. If you are no longer interested (or don’t even remember signing up), follow-through with taking your email off of their distributor list. And don’t be afraid to tell the cashier, “No thanks,” for giving your email if you really do not want to give it.

Make sure you read carefully and have successfully unsubscribed: some marketers and websites require a mandatory completion of a survey or they will highlight ways for you to just receive less emails. If that’s not what you want, double-check and read the fine print.

Use time limit apps for your social media usage

Now you know we couldn’t talk about reclaiming your time without mentioning the time-drain that is social media.

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We talked at length about the benefits of taking whole breaks from social media, but there’s no getting around that social media has now become an embedded part of our culture, the way we receive information and the way we communicate. But we don’t have to be on these apps all day, right?

Some updated devices and apps have options for you put a limit on how often you use your social media accounts. Some can give you reminders on how often you use social media, when your time is almost up and when you have reached your limit, they will have you consciously make the choice to continue using.

I started using the time limit feature on my own device these last few weeks and have actually started using my social media apps less and less since. From my own experience, it has really shone a light on just how much time I spend on my phone.

On updated iPhones, you can use the “Screen Time” feature or check out these apps that are sure to help you get your time back.

As with most of these tips for reclaiming your time, the most beneficial thing you can do is turn off that “auto-pilot” mode and get familiar with where your time is going. Your future self will surely thank you.

In what ways do you reclaim your time?


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