Sponsored article by: TotalMed Staffing
Busy. Somehow, that four-letter word has become a standard answer when we’re asked how we’re doing. These days, it can seem like even your Aunt Ida is too pinched for time to return a phone call. And as a travel nurse? Boy, you know how it really feels.
You work several 12-hour shifts a week and sometimes overtime. You know what it’s like to have entire days go by where you don’t remember the last thing you did for yourself in your personal time. And that’s a shame because the benefits of self-care are real. Even beyond self-care, we all want more time to chill out, have fun, and get things done.
The good news? With a little effort and strategizing, you can reclaim minutes — even hours! — from your busiest days. Here are 21 efficiency hacks to free up your personal time.
1. Identify what’s draining your time
Okay — you know you’re scrambling for time every day, but why? The first step to living more efficiently in your personal life is to observe your habits. Notice what’s slowing you down. Is it taking you forever to decide what to wear? Are you finding yourself looking at social media when you said you’d do your budget? Jot down a few notes, so you know where to start.
2. Make a to-do list — for tomorrow
Everyone loves the sense of accomplishment that comes with ticking boxes on a to-do list. How can you make it even better? Write your to-do list for tomorrow, the evening before. There are several advantages to this method. You won’t be in a rush, meaning you’re more likely to remember items. And in the morning, you can revise it, modify it, and group and prioritize your tasks.
3. Set a timer
When you’ve got something to do and have trouble motivating yourself, set a timer. It’s a great little trick that will make you more productive. Want to start packing up for your next move? Set that timer for fifteen minutes and consider it a challenge to see how many boxes you can get taped up. Dreading packing? Okay, set it for eight minutes instead, and know that if you can push through those eight minutes, you’ll still make some progress.
Setting a timer is a useful tactic for completing virtually any task, and it will help you combat procrastination. An old-fashioned turn-dial timer works especially well — hearing the ticking will keep you on your toes.
4. Do double duty
Call an old friend while taking a stroll around the park to get some exercise. Read a chapter in your book while you soak your feet in the tub. Make it a point to use the time you spend waiting in lines for your benefit — use your phone to write up your weekly meal plan or pay your bills while you wait.
5. Get those zzzs
Yep, it sounds a little counterintuitive, but if you’re going to stay focused enough to be efficient with your time, you’ve got to spend enough time sleeping. Aim to get the CDC’s recommended seven hours or more.
Create healthy sleep hygiene by following a schedule (as much as you can as a travel nurse!). Clear your room of smartphones and other distractions. If you’re working night shifts regularly, minimize sunlight with blackout curtains to reduce your risk of shiftwork sleep disorder.
6. Practice mindfulness
Like sleep, this one’s a bit of an investment — but like all good investments, it really pays off. Regular mindfulness will reduce stress, improve health, and foster a mental state that supports productivity. To get started with mindfulness, you can also try popular apps like Insight Timer or Calm.
7. Ask for help
Nurses are wired with a can-do, independent spirit. Don’t let it make you feel like you’ve got to be a superhero! In many situations, asking for help can save you time and help you avoid unnecessary headaches and hassles.
Something that could take you thirty minutes might be solved in five with the help of a co-worker, friend, or family member. Don’t be shy about reaching out. Most people appreciate the opportunity to help.
Like asking for help, outsourcing can make some of us feel like we’re not working as hard as we should. For many tasks, though, you’re going to save time (and maybe even money!) if you find a reliable outsourcing option.
Try to avoid feeling bad about this one. You don’t feel guilty buying bread because you don’t mill your own flour. Why feel guilty about sending your clothes to a laundry service or hiring reliable movers?
Keep technology in mind, too. Many chores can be automated or quickly completed on smartphones, from paying bills to scheduling grocery pick-ups.
And don’t forget your appliances built for automation: get your Roomba vacuuming and crank up your Instapot.
9. Keep it simple
If there’s a thread running through every hack on this list, it’s beneficial to keep things simple! We all get weighed down by facing too many choices, getting caught up in distractions, and agreeing to unwanted commitments. Simplify what you can — you’ll create the space and time you need to enjoy a fuller life.
Looking for more on how to free up your personal time? Check out these tips on how to create more time in your day!
Do you have any ways that helps you free up your personal time? Comment some of your best tips for freeing up personal time as a travel nurse.
Photo credit: Gabrielle Humphries