By Dr. Mercola
If you're like most people, you'd like to find more time in your day to accomplish more tasks or achieve a goal that's been on a back burner for months. Although 98 percent of Americans value balance in their lives, only 35 percent make enough time for themselves each day.1
Americans often keep a frenetic pace, leading to high levels of stress. How can you create more time in your life when everyone is given the same 24 hours? How do some people seem to achieve more in those 24 hours than others?
Time is a valuable non-renewable commodity that is distributed evenly to everyone, but used differently. The choices you make each day determine the results you get at the end of the day.
If you're constantly running through your day with little time to stop and enjoy the small moments with friends and family, it might be time to make a major change in the way you're doing things.
How to Alter Your Perception of Time
Although time is a constant, how you perceive the passage of time is not. When you're having fun it often seems to pass more quickly, but when you're bored it may feel like the seconds are ticking by at a snail's pace.
Did you know you may be able to gain some control over the pace of your life, and therefore improve your productivity?
Outside of your health, your time is one of your most valuable possessions. Since you can't replace time lost, renew time that has past or live in the future, it's important to pay close attention to the time you have in the here and now, and use it productively.
Some drugs can speed or slow your perception of time, such as caffeine or valium. However, your best tool is your mind.
David Eagleman, Ph.D., neuroscientist and adjunct professor at Stanford University, explains the perception of the passage of time as it is related to the amount of new information your brain is recording in memory.2
One of the areas of the brain responsible for emotion and memory is the amygdala. The more detailed the memory the longer the moment appears to last. This is one of the reasons why it can feel forever when you're stuck in traffic, but your memory of the event will be that it passed quickly, as you didn't lay down any new memory.
The important idea is that if you are moving through your day, doing things without thinking, you're probably not as productive as you could be. Pay attention to what you're doing and learn something new while you're doing it.
Sleep Also Affects Your Productivity
It may feel counterintuitive but sleep will make you more productive, not to mention a healthier individual. Although scientists continue to debate why sleep is important to your health, there is demonstrable evidence that when you are sleep deprived your cognitive function will suffer.3
It also appears that cognitive recovery is more difficult when you aren't getting enough sleep each night, or when you're pulling an all-nighter.
Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to depression, weight gain, increased risk of diabetes and cancer and increased risk of accidents. Sleep is necessary to feel alert, be productive and creative, and for optimal body functioning.
So, as you look through the following time savers4 to free up more time in your week, remember not to fill the time with more to-dos but to relax, sleep and learn something new instead.
Declutter Your Life
3. Set Aside Home Improvement Time. When you have a project at home, set aside 30 minutes each day to complete the task. It goes quickly. Don't skip a day, however, since it's difficult to make up the time.
4. Use a Smart Filing System. Whether at home or work, have a system that has active tasks or files and an archive of completed projects. Keep all files handy for future reference, such as warranties on appliances, repair work on the car, receipts for purchases. If you have a file already created, you just have to put in the document and you're done.