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Tips for finding an extra hour every day

Sherri Kuhn writes about raising teenagers, the perils of a clean home, wistfulness over babies, and anything else that makes her laugh (or cry) in the years between changing diapers and wearing them. With a son just starting college and...

Squeeze an extra hour with these simple tips

I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't love an extra hour in every day. Here are some small ways to streamline your day that add up so that you can have an extra hour to yourself.
Woman reading a book outside

The last time we checked, there were still only 24 hours in a day. What if you could save five minutes here, 10 minutes there and gather a whole hour for yourself each day? You can, with a few simple tricks.

Woman cleaning out emailsThin your inbox

Email is one of the greatest efficiency tools ever invented — and one of the biggest time-wasters each day. We subscribe to newsletters, sign up for notification of special offers and subscribe to a few blogs. Let this go unchecked and your inbox gets so clogged you waste time finding the truly important messages. By unsubscribing to newsletters and notifications, you automatically weed out mail you most likely won’t read anyway. If you follow blogs, consider following them in a reader. When you have time to read, you will have a fresh supply of material all in one convenient place.

Important emails should be saved in a folder, away from your inbox. This makes it easier to quickly find the messages that need attention, and to respond to them efficiently.

What to consider when choosing your email address >>

Single-tasking

Wait, aren't we supposed to do as many tasks as we can at the same time? Multitasking has become a badge of honor, but is it really the most efficient way to use your time? Researchers at Ohio State University found that multitasking really doesn’t make you more efficient. "There's this myth among some people that multitasking makes them more productive," says study researcher Zheng Wang, assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University. "But they seem to be misperceiving the positive feelings they get from multitasking.”

How can you use single-tasking to save time each day? Day-to-day tasks that take time to complete — think laundry, tidying up the house or paying bills — can be done more efficiently when you focus on only one task at a time. Paying bills? Have everything handy that you need gathered at your desk, then turn off your cellphone, your Facebook feed and the television and focus only on the bills. Folding laundry? As soon as you are finished folding, put the clean laundry away.

Ideas on how to organize your laundry room >>

Simplify errands

How many times during the week do you run to the store? Whether it's the grocery store, the gas station or the large retail store, each time you make a trip you are wasting time. Plan meals for at least four days in a row, then shop once for all groceries you need for those meals. Fill the tank when you stop at a gas station, instead of just adding a few gallons here and there. Keep a list of common items you purchase from the large retail store and add a check mark next to each item when you begin to run out.

We just found your free hour — how you spend that hour is entirely up to you.

More time-saving tips

Time management tips for working moms
Time management: Reap the rewards of the routine
Finding time: Time management tips for new moms

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