How Do You Get More Hours in Your Day?


Painting by Norman Rockwell

More Hours in My Day by Emilie Barnes and Sheri Torelli

“How do you get more hours in your day?” Everyone is looking for that simple and easy secret that will give them that magic commodity called time. Unfortunately there isn’t one simple trick that makes everything flow together; however, if you can eliminate long searches for whatever you’re looking for it will help save time.

Group Your Shopping Trips Together

In your organizational/planning notebook keep a list of items you need to buy: books, videos, Christmas gifts, clothes, cosmetics, household items, birthday and anniversary gifts. When you see a sale or go to an outlet store, you can acquire what’s on your list. This will save time and a lot of money because you can shop sales.

Purchase More Than One Like Item

If you have frequent demands for items such as toiletries, pens, rulers, tape, and scissors, store several of each in strategic spots around the house. Don’t waste time running all over the house to obtain a basic item. This is especially true if you have a two-story home. An extra vacuum cleaner and cleaning items are great to keep upstairs.

Do More Than One Thing at a Time

Most women can multitask very easily with a little training. A cordless phone in the kitchen is a must. You can do any number of things while talking to a friend or relative.

Also develop a “to read” folder to take with you when you know you’re going to have to wait someplace. You can get caught up with all the junk mail, catalogs, magazines, letters, and correspondence.

And carry along a few blank thank-you notes so you can write friends. If you exercise and have an indoor exercise machine, this is also a great time to read a magazine or your favorite book as you work out.

 Cut Unwanted Calls Short

When salespeople, survey people, or people who just want to chat call and you’re busy, cut the calls short by learning how to handle these people graciously. These types of calls can really eat up valuable time.

One of the greatest inventions of our time is the answering machine. Turn it on and use it when you need to keep working on a project. Be sure you get back with your friends when you have time.

Determine What’s Important

This is where a to-do list really comes in handy. Each evening before going to bed or before leaving the office, I (Emilie) make a list of what I need to do tomorrow, and then I go one step further.

I rank items according to priority: one, two, three. The next morning I start working with number one, then go to number two. It’s not long before I’ve made a real impact on that list. As has been mentioned, it’s best to do the worst job first. By completing and deleting that item off your list, you are less stressed and can feel a sense of accomplishment. You’ll be eager to tackle the next item on your list.

(Traditional Catholic Monthly Planner printable here.)

 Use Your Body Clock

Each of us operates most efficiently at a certain time of day. Schedule taxing chores for the hours when your mind is sharpest. Do these chores when you have the most energy. Find out when your children are most alert and active. Schedule their chores during that time. It will help alleviate whining and complaining.

Have It Picked Up and Delivered

We’re returning back to the good old days. More and more companies are offering pick-up and delivery services. These are valuable time savers, and in many situations they are cost efficient.

Divide Big Jobs into Instant Tasks

Break the whole job into smaller tasks or “instant tasks.” You will have to work at this concept if you are a “practicing perfectionist.”

Turning a big project into small tasks is a great help! A job may be overwhelming, but when it is broken down it’s not so daunting.

For example, cleaning the refrigerator. Clean one shelf on Monday, one shelf on Tuesday, and so on. By the end of the week, the entire refrigerator will be clean, and it only took 10 to 15 minutes a day!

Use a Timer

One of the best investments you will make is a digital timer, preferably a triple timer. If you tend to get distracted or you have a hard time getting started, a timer keeps you on task. And knowing you only have to do something for 15 minutes helps you tackle a job.

Set a timer for your children and make a game out of picking up toys, cleaning rooms, and other chores. Reward them for jobs well done.

Become a List Maker

In my daily planner I (Emilie) have a list for almost everything I do—all the way from planning a tea for a group of friends to getting ready for a Christmas party. I save these notes so next time I can go back and review my comments. It’s a great way to start planning since you already have a good beginning.

You may want to get a journal or blank book for your project list making. Date them and then you have a point of reference for your next event or project.

(Traditional Catholic Monthly Planner printable here.)

Plan Your Errands

Do your errands at one time. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish! Create your list and then organize by the order of your stops.

Arrange your errands in a big circle, moving from one place to the next, starting with the closest. Within a short time you’ll be back. With gas prices out of sight, this will save you money too.

Stop Procrastinating

Your to-do list will help you get started. Rev your engine and get in gear. Even if “traffic” isn’t flowing well, get moving. A car has to be moving in order for it to go somewhere. Start now!

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

This goes hand-in-hand with procrastination—not wanting to do something if it’s not perfect. It’s nice to want things done right, but not if you’re crippled into inactivity. Besides, even if you know the difference, your friends and guests might not know or care. Some jobs don’t need perfection. No one is going to show up with white gloves.

Become a person who takes control of your time. With a little study you can turn “time-interrupters” into positive “time-savers.”

“This art of housekeeping is not learned in a day; those of us who have been engaged in it for years are constantly finding out how little we know, and how far we are, after all, from perfection. It requires a clever woman to keep house; and as I said before there is ample scope, even within the four walls of a house (a sphere which some affect to despise), for the exercise of originality, organizing power, administrative ability. And to the majority of women I would fain believe it is the most interesting and satisfactory of all feminine occupations.” -Annie S. Swan Courtship and Marriage And the Gentle Art of Home-Making

🧹 A housekeeping schedule to give you some ideas and to tweak to suit your needs….(not to stress you out!)

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