Yesterday I went to Robin’s Practica in Stepping Out Studios and someone asked me how I have enough time in the day to work, dance, sew, and pursue other creative projects. You always find time for the things you love I think.
But let’s break it down mathematically:
Hours in a week: 7 days x 24 hrs = 168 hrs
Sleeping 8 hours: 7 days x 8 hrs = 56 hrs
9 to 5 job: 5 days x 8 hrs = 40 hrs
168 hrs in a week – 56 hrs of sleep – 40 hrs of work leaves 72 FREE HOURS.
Of course we have to take into account transportation, cooking, exercise, chores. But there is probably more free time in a day than you think there is. Instead of saying “I don’t have time for X” say “X is not my priority.” Not everything has to be a priority. Choose what is important to you and stop beating yourself up for not mastering everything. Figure out how to schedule in time for the things that truly matter to you. Here are some of my tips for squeezing out a few more minutes from the day:
I love being in my apartment. All of my art supplies are there. The motivation for me to leave said apartment to do chores is very low, so I try to batch tasks. If I am going to go out, I want to be as efficient as possible. This last weekend I needed to make some clothing donations and get a new watch strap (after putting it off for waaaay too long) so I stopped at my local watch repair place on the way to drop off donations. By the time I looped back around my watch was fixed, and I even stopped by the grocery store to get some muffin ingredients. Win win!
While it may seem like the three straight hours in the kitchen never end, if you add up how much time prep, cooking, and cleaning takes x7 days a week, the three hours are looking pretty good. Even if the just means prepping components- making rice, pre-chopping veggies, and marinating meats.
I’m all about the hair/face masking multitasking when I’m at home. Why merely clean your apartment when you could be pampering yourself at the same time? Ain’t nobody got time to take a candlelit bath. Actually, if you live in NYC and have a bathtub nice enough for a bath I’m actually really jealous and would totally be taking baths.
The trick to multitasking is that the tasks should not be highly demanding. Think cooking, cleaning, or deleting emails. Try playing a podcast or YouTube video in the background to learn something new.
Block Scheduling For Efficient Work Sessions
This isn’t the same as batching your tasks. If I have to get something done that requires an extended amount of time (such as writing) I will set a 25 minute timer, then take a 5 minute break. While I am working it is completely focused, uninterrupted work. After 3-4 sessions you get a 15 minute break. This is called the Pomodoro technique and it really helped me when I was in university. Furthermore, constantly task switching keeps changing the brain’s focus, making it difficult to concentrate well on a single task.
I use the app Forest to set a focus timer. It locks me out of my phone with the pressure of “killing” my growing “tree” that turns into coins when the session is done. After a certain number of coins you can actually redeem them to have a REAL tree planted through an affiliated organization.
Take Advantage of Commute Time
We are on our phones anyway. Instead of scrolling through social media and getting frustrated because you can’t connect to the internet, why not catch up on some reading or learn a new language? How about catch up on some blog post writing… or reading a tango book!
I highly recommend this amazing read by Felipe Hsieh. He created a system to record tango movements simply and effectively. I found myself laughing throughout the stories, and marking interesting points that I wanted to return to. You can find it on Amazon here.
Simplify Your Routine
As a skincare junkie I do not blink an eye at a headline reading “How to follow a 10 step Korean skin care routine.” But our routines, be it checking social media as soon as we get up, skincare and makeup routines, or getting ready for bed, can potentially be longer than they need to be. Where can you cut down and streamline?
Not sure if I can give up my routine so easily… but I do advocate one or two days of “rest” from using products. Sometimes I’ll just wash my face with an oil cleanser and let it dry on its own. My face doesn’t feel over stripped and remembers how to keep itself moisturized.
Nobody is too busy, it’s just a matter of priorities.
(Now get off of the internet and go work on your passion project!)