Sound appealing? Here are some tips that will help you add an hour to every day:
In the morning
- Get up earlier and go for a walk, so your evening is free to relax after work.
- Buy groceries for tonight's dinner on your way to work, rather than on the way home - the store will be less crowded.
- Put in a load of washing and get your partner to help you hang it out. When you get home, it will be done.
- Clean one room before you go to work - by the weekend the housework will be done.
- Spend fifteen minutes soaking in an aromatherapy bath before the kids are awake. You won't oversleep any more because you'll look forward to getting out of bed.
In transit (on the bus or train)
- Write birthday cards or letters.
- Read the newspaper (and skim the headlines) or listen to an audio book.
- Work out your day's schedule.
- Take breaks - go for a walk or head to the park for lunch - you'll work far more effectively all afternoon.
- Make a "to do" list, then number each task in order of importance. Tackle the biggest most taxing job first and you'll feel more energized all day.
- Stop being a perfectionist. Learn where to cut corners and set times within which to complete tasks.
- Grab your cordless phone and pay bills by credit card while you stir the minestrone.
- Use your voicemail to screen calls and avoid unnecessary interruptions that eat into your night.
- Get a friend or relative to pick up the kids from baseball practice. Then do the same for them next week.
- While cooking, clean as you go.
- Let it go. Remember, nobody has ever died from an untidy house, whereas overwork has been proven to lead to chronic fatigue, cancer, ulcers and heart attacks.
- Delegate jobs like unloading the dishwasher to your partner and kids.
- Food shop outside peak-hours so you don't waste time in lines. Organize a buddy system with a friend, where you buy her groceries one week and she gets yours the next.
- Cook in bulk and freeze the leftovers.
- Say no to social engagements every Friday night, then make a date with your partner, even if you just dress up and enjoy a candlelit dinner at home - you'll feel like you've pampered yourself.