There are 24 hours in a day. No matter how much we will the days to be longer so we can get more done, each day has exactly 24 hours.
If you want to make more time for yourself of more time to work on your side business you might need to get creative to find that extra time each day.
I’m sure that we can agree that, in the vast majority of case, if you don’t spend any time working on developing a second (or third, etc.) stream of income you’re not going to get very far.
We should also be able to agree that if you started spending a little bit of time and worked consistently on your new business or craft for the foreseeable future your chances of success would be far greater than the previous example.
Moving forward is about putting one foot in front of the other either in a literal or theoretical sense.
Massive and imperfect action trumps inaction virtually every time.
It’s just like how if you use a few small savings tips, you can save more money than by trying to wait until you had $10,000 to sock away in one chunk.
Here are 7 ways that you can, starting this week, make more free time for yourself or time that you can spend working on your side business.
1. Financial Automation
This is probably my favorite way to create more time because you are not only creating more time for yourself but you are also reducing the stress that managing our daily finances can put on ourselves.
By spending the 1-2 hours that it takes to automate your finances, you will be able to save yourself a couple hours per week. As time goes on the return on investment on that initial 1-2 hours it took to get set up keeps getting bigger and bigger as you rack up more free time each and every week.
Additionally, if you set up your automation correctly you should be adding to your credit card reward (I opt for travel rewards) totals while only having to manage your credit card bill rather than each individual bill each month.
Furthermore, you will likely be saving more since the central theme of financial automation is to pay yourself first with an automated savings plan. Shoot to save 10% or more before you start paying your bills and spending money on entertainment, etc. I recommend using the built in automated savings plan at Capital One 360.
Now, of course, if you have to choose between putting 10% away or paying your rent/mortgage/etc. make the smart choice. The point here is to use 10% plus as the goal. You might start out saving only 1%, but if that’s more than you were savings before, consider that a solid win. Remember, take massive and imperfect action.
2. Two Words: Robotic Vacuum
I didn’t buy my Roomba in the first place so I could gain an extra 1-2 hours per week but I have found that this is just another amazing perk of having a robot do your vacuuming for you.
Since I always have a fairly detailed to do list for each of my projected plus a daily to do list that consists of the tasks I’m hoping to complete that day I find that I am able to get started on a task rather quickly.
With my daily to do list in hand, a large carbonated water with fresh squeeze lime poured over ice in hand and my Roomba ready to rock I’m able to hit start on the robotic vacuum and then have a compact, yet highly efficient, work session while the Roomba vacuums the floors in my house.
If you want to just enjoy life rather than work on a side business then, by all means, run a bubble bath, pour a glass a wine and enjoy some personal relaxation while your robotic vacuum does all the work.
3. Remove Time Sucking Apps and Push Notifications on Your Smartphone
This one was huge for me and it could be responsible for freeing up a lot of extra time in your day. On top of that, smartphone use has gotten out of control and putting your phone down might make you human again.
I’ll start with time sucking apps. We all have (or had) them. Yes, I’m looking at you Angry Birds and Draw Something. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of time sucking apps are a lot of fine and great ways to pass the time. Where they excel in amusement they lack any real substance.
If you want to get serious about making more time in your day for yourself or for your side business so you can make extra money, then you need to take a good hard look at the apps on your phone and ask yourself “does this app improve or ruin my productivity?”
Now that you have purged all of the time sucking apps from your phone it’s time to take things one step further.
By changing the notifications on your phone from push to pull you can avoid having your day being hijacked by the sounds of incoming text messages and emails.
My suggestion is to avoid checking your email, facebook, twitter and any other avenue that can derail your plan for the day before noon. If you can’t make it that long, start with 9 AM as your goal and start pushing it later and later as time goes on.
Make sure to communicate with people that you are starting to not check your email before noon so they don’t expect intimidate replies in the morning. Most of the time, if the expectation of friends, family and co-workers can be changed you can cut down on the time spent in your email in box by checking your mail once per day.
4. Enjoy The Early Morning Hours
I decided to put in in because, as a night hawk through and through, I have been amazing at how much I have enjoyed waking up earlier since I have read Early To Rise by Andy Traub (you get a free audio book with the Kindle edition).
There is something magical about those early morning hours before the rest of the city is awake. Something so peaceful that make sipping my morning tea or coffee just that much more enjoyable.
I have also realized that I am more creative and efficient in the early morning hours which is why I try to do some writing and strategic business reading while I enjoy my tea or coffee.
I also find that if I start my day with a workout, even if it’s just a few laps around the block, it sets the tone for my day in terms of wanting to live a healthy life, eat good and healthy food and exercise more during the day. Plus, a brisk walk, bike ride, or lifting weights is 100 times more effective to wake me up than a cold shower or a hot cup of coffee.
Since you have already read #3 on this list, then I don’t need to remind you that these early morning hours aren’t for checking email, facebook, twitter, snap chat or playing angry birds or doodle jump… or do I? Seriously, if you’re going to get up early to do these things you should just stay in bed!
I recommend you check out Andy’s book as it will likely change the way you look at getting up earlier each day.
5. Start Saying
I Don’t Have Time It’s Not A Priority
This simple change is responsible for so many positives in my life over the past couple months. I used to always say “I don’t have time”, dismiss the task (usually working out) and move on guilt free.
Letting ourselves believe that we don’t have time to do something is like giving ourselves a hall pass, or an excuse, so we don’t feel bad when we didn’t do what we needed to do.
How many times have you said “I’d love to, but I just don’t have the time” in the past month? My guess, more than a few times. It’s okay, our brains are wired for use to believe this so it make avoiding these tasks easier.
My forcing yourself to remove the phrase “I don’t have time” from your vocabulary and replacing it with “it’s not a priority” you are essentially forcing yourself to really decide what you want to get done vs what you don’t want to get done.
The idea is this, if you say “It’s not a priority to ________” and you feel bad, guilty or otherwise uneasy you should examine that task and see if it’s something that you should make a priority.
This simple trick has lead me to lose 14 pounds in 2.5 weeks (the first 10 are always the easiest) because I started making working out a priority.
6. Stop Watching The News (& Maybe TV Altogether)
Have you noticed that the vast vast vast majority of local, and even national and international news, is negative and completely out of your control?
I get that you, like most people, like to feel connected to what’s going on around you but ask yourself if the time you’re spending watching the news could be spent doing other things that you enjoy or help build a new source of income.
I have stopped watching local news 100%. At first I missed it and felt lost but after a few years of the self-imposed aversion to the news I don’t miss it one bit.
With one powerful phrase you can get yourself caught up on most major news events; that phrase it: “I haven’t been watching the news lately, are there any major stories I’ve missed?” If you ask that question to friends, family or even a stranger on public transit you will very likely get caught up to speed very quickly on the most important current events.
7. Start Taking Public Transit
25 and a half minutes a day is the amount of time the average American spends commuting back and forth to work everyday.
I suspect for a lot of you, this number might be more. Especially if you live in major cities like New York City, LA, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, London, etc.
While you are driving you really should be devoting your complete and absolute attention to the road to keep you and your fellow motorist safe.
By taking public transit you can outsource the driving to the bus driver or train operator. Plus, you’ll be doing the environment a huge favor by eliminating the emissions from your vehicle.
By option for public transit you can spend your time on the bus or train meditating, thinking, working on your smartphone (not playing time sucking apps!) or even working on a laptop.
This one tip alone can gain the average American commuter over 2 hours per week of time that they can spend on their side businesses instead of driving a vehicle.
8. What Is Your Favorite Time Saver?
I’m going to flip #8 over to you! What is your favorite time saving tip that the rest of the VOSA community could use? Leave it in the comments below. Thanks!