THE BLOG

21 Quick and Simple Ways of Freeing Up More Time

23/06/2014 11:27 BST | Updated 21/08/2014 10:59 BST

Right, you bunch of lazy bastards. It's time to wake up, slap yourself in the face and realise that you're all living a lie.

There is no such thing as not having enough time. It's an excuse, an illusion.

The truth is, either you're terrible at organising your day or you're using a lack of time as an excuse to get out of something.

When one of my guitar students tells me that they 'literally haven't had the time to pick up the guitar' I just see someone who is living a lie. They are creating an imaginary tale as a means to absolve themselves from blame.

Unless you're Jack Bauer and you have to diffuse a bomb between 6pm and 7pm - you've got no excuses. Actually Jack, what are you doing 15 minutes before bedtime? That's right, nothing. So there's a nice little window of opportunity to pick up the guitar and have a little practice.

(I don't actually teach Jack Bauer. Don't get me wrong, I tried, but he's always busy.)

A far more likely reason for not having enough time is a genuine lack of desire. If you've bought a musical instrument but it just sits in the corner, gathering dust, then there's a good chance that you don't really want to play the damned thing. If you keep renewing your gym membership each month but it's been several weeks since your last workout, then health and fitness just isn't on your list of priorities.

Also, and you might think I am being unfair, but if you keep arranging to meet up with someone and continually cancel, then it's probably time to admit that you don't really care.

Cut out the excuses and take a long, hard look at your life. How much time are you really wasting? How disorganised are you? How many of your day to day activities are actually just unhealthy habits in disguise?

It's about time you gave yourself a chance.

1. Take a shower instead of a bath

Are you a bather or a shower fiend? I love baths, and so should you, but one easy way to create an extra 30 minutes is to save baths for those special occasions when you need to chill out after a long week.

2. Wake up an hour earlier

This is probably the toughest item on this list. If you're anything like me then you'll hate your alarm clock with a passion (but love the snooze button). Start waking up 5 minutes earlier each day and in less than 2 weeks you'll have an extra hour to rock out.

3. Hire a nanny, Au pair or babysitter

I know you love your kids, and they may not exactly shower you with affection, but they love you right back. Trouble is; they are damn time consuming. Once or twice a week, leave the little terrors with your family or hire someone to take them off your hands for a few hours. 'You' time is important time and you can't put a price on that.

4. Make use of your lunch break

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Don't just sit in the canteen with the other zombies, patiently waiting for the clock to summon you back to the office with its beckoning hands of doom - use that time wisely. Go somewhere, do something, annoy someone - anything!

5. Leave the car at home and commute to work

This may seem counter intuitive but think logically. If you're driving you can't do anything else bar drive. If you commute, you may double your journey duration but your hands are free for other practical tasks such as studying, writing or pushing the other passengers out of the way.

6. Work remotely

Tell your boss that you're working from home tomorrow. Then have a day off.

7. Quit the gym and workout at home

Eliminate the variables like travel, motivation and those weird sweat stains by quitting your gym and working out at home. You'll never miss a session and you can always squeeze in a mini workout regardless of your schedule - which brings me to...

8. Create a definite schedule

Grab a pen and paper - got it? Good. Now write out a schedule for tomorrow. Procrastination is the ultimate time killer so punch it in the face and take control of your day.

9. Prioritise your projects

There are only two things you should ever spend your time doing. Those which are important and those which bring you joy. Put those at the top of your 'to-do' list and you'll spend less time doing the things that you hate.

10. Throw away your television

Let's be honest, 95% of television these days is awful. Save what's left of your sanity by throwing away your television and embrace the power of the written word; unless you need to watch Game of Thrones, obviously.

11. Condense activities together

If cutting things out proves to be difficult - there is a way around it. Play guitar while watching a movie. Listen to Spanish in your car. If you're still having baths, read a book and feel free to award yourself extra points if you can have sex while making an important phone call.

12. Cut unnecessary people from your life

As soon as you read the title of this entry you immediately thought of someone who is dragging you down. Don't hang out with this person through habit or misplaced loyalty. If they are draining the joy from your life then maybe it's time to severe the ties completely...

13. Pull a sickie

Be honest, you think about this nearly every working day so indulge a little and give yourself an opportunity to relax. Ditch your megalomania and understand that the wheels will keep turning without your presence. Your company won't collapse and you'll return to work with a fresher mind. Remember; stress, anxiety and depression are as legit as the flu so if you need to take a day off - don't be afraid of doing so.

It's also a great way to catch up if you've fallen behind...

14. Have set days off

You may think that working an 80 hour week makes you a badass, but in reality it's just ruining your life. If you can't do your job without taking a day off then you're either not working hard enough or you're an idiot, so...

15. Delegate your tasks where possible

Although it's unbelievably tempting to do everything yourself, you'll probably achieve better results and free up loads of time by spreading the love and getting others to do some of your dirty work. This is made infinitely easier if you're already in a position of power.

Or you're a sadist.

16. Learn to say no

When used at the right time, this is one hell of a powerful word. Responsibilities aside, say yes to everything that will enrich your life and turn down everything else.

17. Leave the internet alone

Woah, wait up. Not yet. Finish this article first. Actually if you could share this with your friends or leave a comment before you go, that'll be great. While you're at it, try spending a day without your phone - your productivity will go through the roof!

18. Cut out your excuses

Nobody cares.

Oh woe you. You've got responsibilities and other grown up stuff to do. So has the rest of the world.

Man up.

19. Calm down

Remove yourself from the chaos, take 5 minutes out and relax. Accept the situation and realise that stress is only temporary. Don't worry about it. Just remember to take advantage of your next window of opportunity.

20. Take control of your life

Your life doesn't control you - it's just a collection of organic substances and inanimate objects. You control your life. You are the hero of your own story so decide what you're going to do next.

21. Pick something. Do it. Repeat.

Did you make your decision? Good. Now get out there and kick some ass!

Further reading - 5 Reasons why time is more important than money.

Also, grab my free 33 page eBook - 'Breaking Free - The ultimate guide to quitting your job and following your passion'.