An Extra Hour Each Day

How many times have you wished there was just one extra hour in the day? There seem to be more things we'd like to do, or have to do, than there is time to get to all of them.

What if I told you there's at least an extra hour of time in each day just going to waste? Here are some simple changes you can make in your own life and find that extra time you've been looking for.

1. Go to bed earlier. What? That sounds like you're losing time, not gaining any! But wait - think about you're probably doing during those evening hours. Are you watching television shows you shouldn't be? Reading books you could live without? Eating food that not the best for you? If you can, go to bed an hour earlier and use that time to rejuvenate yourself for tomorrow. You'll be rested and ready to go instead of worn out before the day begins.

2. Get up early for prayer and Bible study. Many of us struggle through the day because we don't have much direction for our lives. Putting time with God first will give us His direction in the events of the day and give us the opportunity to focus and soak up His wisdom. Then we'll be ready to tackle the day with renewed inspiration - divine inspiration!

3. Run errands during non-rush hour times. Sitting in traffic wastes so much of our daily lives. Without so many other cars and shoppers on the road and in the parking lots, you can sail through those tasks and move on to other important chores. Plus there's less of a chance of getting into a car accident.

4. Multi-task your meal preparations. Cut up all your veggies while you make the first meal of the week. Make dessert while waiting for water to boil. Clean dishes and counters while the meal is cooking so you won't have so much to do after dinner. Fix tomorrow's lunches while you're packing up leftovers.

5. When you're finished using something, put it away. How much time would you guess you waste just picking up things around the house? Undress in front of the hamper so there aren't clothes all over the bedroom. Hang towels up after your shower. Put dishes in the dishwasher as soon as the meal is over. Two seconds at the time can save many minutes later.

6. Shorten your shower. This is a super-difficult one for me because the hot water is part of my fibromyalgia therapy. But cutting just five minutes from your shower can save you time, money and energy. It's alright to pamper yourself sometimes, but try to keep them brief.

7. Prioritize your television and computer usage. Take a wild stab at how much time you spend in front of some kind of screen each day. Instead of plopping yourself down for the evening, choose one or two favorite shows, and then spend that extra time working on a project or spending face-time with family.

8. Do away with telemarketing calls. It's such a waste of time to answer the phone and have to discourage an over-zealous telemarketer. Instead, take a minute to get on the national do-not-call registry. Go to www.donotcall.gov and add your name and number. We've done it and it really works!

9. Free yourself from paperwork. Open your mail over the trash can so there aren't envelopes and junk mail in piles - sort them and file them now! Sign up for e-mail statements and notifications instead of receiving so much mail. See if you can find articles online so you won't have to keep magazine clippings.

10. Feel free to say "No" or "That's enough." We are Christian women, not Superwomen. There's no rule, written or otherwise, that says we have to do, complete or attend everything. Pray about how God would have you spend your time, and then budget it among your interests accordingly. You can tell people you can't add one more event or take on one more responsibility. If they truly love you, they'll understand - and they might follow your lead.

What it comes down to is priorities - what are yours? You'll find the time to do the things you really want to. Just follow God's direction in your life and allow Him to organize your day and your time.

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