In our uber-busy lives, we tend to experience never-ending to-do lists and mental strain every day. In simple terms, we are always busy, and our days lack space. Most of our days are filled to the brim with tasks without being productive or fulfilling. As such, we cram our routines with non-essential activities that do not help us progress. That’s why we need to create space.
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To focus our efforts in the right areas, we need more space every day. In other words, we need to unlock time that will help us pinpoint our efforts.
Instead of refreshing your email inbox every ten minutes, you need space to answer the messages that genuinely matter. In that same vein, don’t try to complete three assignments at once. Focus on finishing one exceptional task.
Habits that will help you create space
The idea is straightforward: build a to-do list that adheres to the less but better approach. Reduce the number of activities but find better ones.
On this basis, here are six powerful habits that will help you create space every day.
Do not let anyone interfere with your mornings
To create space every day, start with the first three hours.
The internet is full of morning routines, billionaire wake-up rituals, and 6 am activities. And while there is no point in copying someone else’s morning routine, the takeaway is simple: do not allow outside interference.
If you want to create space, you need to take control of your daily routine. And that starts in the morning.
Make your bed instantly. Prepare your own breakfast to avoid relying on external food. And most importantly, plan your morning schedule the night before.
Many people – including Jeff Bezos, who tackles his most important tasks between 10-12 – experience a peak productivity streak in the morning. That’s why it’s crucial to plan these hours well and avoid letting non-essential tasks ruin them.
Plan your screen time intentionally
The next habit that will help you create space every day concerns your screen time.
According to New York Daily News, the average American watches 34 hours of TV every week. If you’re wondering how to make your days longer, start by cutting down on Netflix, Prime, Disney Plus, and all the other streaming platforms.
Watching less TV is, however, only one part of creating space. Social media and random phone scrolling are equal space robbers.
Many people falsely believe that TV and social media are methods of relaxation. They see it as a “fun leisure activity” when the opposite could be the case.
“the very reason many of us watch television (to relax, rest, unwind) may be the greatest motivation to simply turn it off. As a result of flipping the off switch just one show earlier than normal, we may be able to discover the true downtime our minds have been requesting all along.”
My strategy is simple: set specific hours for TV and other screen activities. You could, for example, permit yourself to watch TV between 8 pm and 10 pm, but for the rest of the day, the screen remains black.
Lengthen your lunch
In countries like Italy, France, and Brazil, having lunch for 1.5 or even two hours is the standard. Traditionally, these cultures hate the idea of rushing meals to fit them between busy office hours.
That’s where we can learn a lot from them. We don’t need to spend two hours at lunch every day, but we can lengthen our lunch to rewind, create space, and eat more mindfully.
When I was working in the finance sector, I took a one-hour lunch break on most days. I went for a 30-minute walk and didn’t take my phone with me. That ritual helped me power through 14-hour workdays, and it’s a habit that I kept after transitioning into entrepreneurship.
To sum up, take more time at lunch and prioritize slow, healthy eating instead of rushing your meals.
Identify and utilize the margins
We all have margins in our daily routines.
We wait for the subway while staring at our phones. Our partner is getting dressed, and we sit in front of the TV. And finally, we have many small breaks between our tasks.
To create space, we need to utilize these margins to boost our mindfulness and serenity.
Read a coffee table book for five minutes. Meditate while you’re waiting for your partner to finish in the bathroom. And journal for a few minutes until the train arrives.
In the words of Sustainable Bliss Collective,
“This is your space. Maximize these free periods of time by doing things that make you feel at peace, rejuvenated, relaxed.“
Remove minutiae from your days
The next space-saving habit is to eliminate as many trivial, non-essential tasks as possible from your daily routine by automating them.
I am a big fan of automatic email responders, and I have been using them for several years now. Since I’m always traveling, I can only create space by checking my inbox once a day, and automatic responders are indispensable in this regard.
That’s just one example. Paying your bills automatically, decluttering your laptop, and taking care of administrative tasks all at once are other ways to automate minutiae.
Define “sacred” hours
Finally, defining hours that your to-do list cannot touch is another powerful way to create space every day.
In the finance sector, my workdays could end at 8 pm, 10 pm, and sometimes midnight. There was no such thing as “working hours,” and there was no way to plan your evenings in advance.
Even though it’s not 6 pm for me, I now define a few “sacred” hours every day that will not be used for anything other than relaxation, couple time, or reading.
I had to sacrifice certain aspects of my professional life to get there, but in the end, I realized that having space is one of the best productivity boosters in the long run.
And that’s the conclusion: you might need to sacrifice some screen time, cheap entertainment, or even professional endeavors to create space, but long-term, the time you gain will be worth more.
This article was originally published on Medium.
Useful links on 6 Powerful Habits That Will Help You Create Space Every Day
- more in the section “Life”
- more under the topic “Productivity”
- read 7 Mini-Habits That Will Help You Become One Percent Better Every Day
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