How to Hack Time: Tips and Tricks to Make More of Each Minute

Victoria Cairl
Mar 24 · 3 min read

Never have I ever had more work to do both personally and professionally. I have three kids at home, each with a schedule all their own. I have a husband following his long-sought after dream of auditioning for acting jobs, now that he has his Equity card. And work-wise, I’m balancing between several priorities while learning new things daily. And I am training for a 5K and trying to get more sleep each night. There is nothing boring about my life right now and I love it. The biggest challenge is making the most of my time.

Time is more valuable than money. What good would having all the money in the world be if you never had time to enjoy it? I have not had to wrestle with that issue yet, but until I have to worry about being filthy rich, here are some cheats I have learned to better balance my time:

Make Early Mornings “Me” Time- Whether I am exercising or slipping away to write in the local coffee shop, I feel less guilty doing things on my own when my spouse and kids are fast asleep. Work-wise I get more emails between midnight and 1am than I ever do between 5–6am, so there’s less stress to respond during this time. I use early mornings to re-focus, re-balance and physically center myself. And the mornings when I get this time, I find the rest of my day is far more productive. Set your alarm one hour earlier and just see what you can accomplish.

Combine Chores, Chats and Check-ins-When I do dishes, I call my Mom. When I grocery shop, I bring a kid and find out how they spent their week. I run alongside one of my favorite girlfriends three mornings a week and talk about everything. My husband and I have five-minute check-ins when I drive him to the train on weekdays. I use the time when I’m getting through routine tasks to spend time with people I love. The tasks I undertake are far more enjoyable and I get one-on-one time with people I care about.

Calendar Your Commute- A few days a week I make the trek in to New York City, which means one hour each way on a train. I used to loathe that “loss in my time” but now I figured out how to make the most of it. When I look at my week, I put my commutes into my work calendar. This becomes a great time to do phone calls with colleagues or read a contract or write a proposal. My internet goes in and out sometimes, so I avoid using this time to sort through email. My ride home is when I catch up on sleep or read for fun or listen to a podcast.

Give Yourself One “Down Day” a Week- I try and designate one day to not do anything. Usually Saturdays or Sundays are the only day when it’s possible for me to slow down. Sure, that day may have a kid’s party or a run to the grocery store, but mainly I try not to think about work or my workouts. We all need a day to just live our lives and pushing ourselves too hard can hamper all the rest of your week to be your most productive.

Eliminate What You Hate to Do- I don’t enjoy shopping for clothes, or shopping in general, so I farm that out using Stitch Fix or Trunk Club, two services that have my measurements and send me clothing to try on and send back if needed. I use Brandless and Amazon for just about everything else. And one day, I will have the energy to shop for groceries on-line too. I wish I could have a cleaning service for my home, but I’m saving money on that currently and have hired a home organizer instead. I want to learn how to use my space efficiently so I can more time hosting friends for dinner and less time cleaning my kitchen.

And with that, I am out of time. Here’s hoping some of the above is helpful. Go forth and enjoy the week you have ahead of you. Make every minute count!

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