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How To Find An Extra Hour In Your Day



extra time in your day

What would you do with an extra hour in your day to invest in creating your ideal life? How about that project you just can’t seem to get around to, the quality time that always seems to elude you or the changes you know will improve your life but can never quite find the time to implement?

Our perceived lack of time is so often quoted as the major reason for us not being able to take the steps to achieve what we want in life, and with a juggling act of mortgages to pay, mouths to feed, kids to organise and countless other obligations, it’s likely we can make a compelling case for having very little choice in the matter. So many people will readily inform you that their days are bursting at the seams with busyness, whether they’re successfully creating extraordinary results in their life or seemingly getting nowhere, yet as Dr John Demartini observes:

“If you don’t fill your day with high priorities it will automatically become filled with low priorities”.

When we step back and look with fresh eyes upon our ostensibly packed schedule we can often be surprised at the solutions that are there to be noticed and how easy it can be to free ourselves from the many “time vampires” that are hijacking the hours of our most valuable resource.

Follow the five simple steps below to monitor, make better choices and reclaim control over the hours of your life.


1. What really matters?

If we’re to sift out the gold from the sand, we firstly need to know which is which.

Get clear on how you’d ideally like things to be – what is truly most valuable to you in life, what would you consider as time well spent and what are you ultimately wanting to use it to achieve?


2. Monitor your investment

It’s as simple as this – closely monitor and objectively record how you use your time over the next 7 days. Commit to honestly accounting for every hour you’re spending, noting the insights and opportunities that present themselves along the way.

Challenge yourself to look beyond just the surface level of your schedule into how effectively these hours are actually being utilised. Even take a peek under the hood to develop an awareness of how much valuable time your attention and focus are caught up in thinking patterns that may not be serving you or assisting your progress. Just through these observations, you’re likely to find your long-held beliefs around how much it’s actually possible to fit into a day begin to loosen considerably.


3. Reassess your strategy

“It’s been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” – Henry Ford

Take a good look over your results for the week.

How well does the way you’re currently utilising your time align with what you identified as being most important to you?

How many of the activities into which you’re investing your time are actually moving you forward or leaving you with any real sense of fulfilment?

Where did you notice there would be far more efficient and effective ways of achieving the same – or even far better – outcomes if you were to adjust your approach to the way you do things?

What dead wood and distractions are you ready to let go of from your old routine?

Where could you find the time to get ahead if you truly decided to?


4. Make better choices

Stephen Covey tells an insightful tale about a lumberjack furiously hacking away at a tree with a blunt saw and getting nowhere, who considers himself far too busy to stop and sharpen his blade. This is where you stop and really sharpen up your tools. List all the simple changes you can implement right now to take back control of your time and focus.

How could these resources be most effectively directed toward creating the results you’d like to be experiencing in your life?

What easy and sustainable measures are you going to put in place to ensure these beneficial new ways of being become deeply integrated into your life?

“First we form habits. Then they form us.” – Jim Rohn


5. Use it wisely

When you map out and collate all your saved minutes and blocks of reclaimed hours, how much extra time does this give you in the bank each week?

Where will you spend or invest this to most powerfully enrich your life?


Remember, this shouldn’t just be a one-time process but a constantly evolving journey of progress. Rinse, repeat, and continue to refine as you enjoy more and more benefits from reclaiming control of your days.


Here is a great video that expresses the importance of making the most of the time in your day:


We’d love for you to share your discoveries!

Where did you find your extra hour(s)? What were your biggest time vampires?

What simple changes gave you back the most time? How are you better using your most valuable resource to create a life you love?


Let us know! #extrahour

Dave Beaumont is a Transformational Coach and NLP Master Practitioner. He specialises in empowering clients to break through the obstacles holding them back and harness their full personal power to become all they are truly meant to be. Visit and follow @YourLifeMastery on Twitter for tips, tools, insights and inspiration on living your life to the full and overcoming the challenges we all face on the journey to becoming our highest self.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Raymona Brown

    Jun 1, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Very helpful post. My favorite tip is making better choices because if you can do that you can make better use of your time. I do believe there are more than enough hours in the day if we did what we should to make better use of our time.

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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