We'd all love to have an extra hour in the day, here is our suggestions on how you could find yourself 60 extra minutes each day to spend doing something you actually want to:
1. Watch less TV - For most people an easy way to claw back some time is to watch less TV. Now I'm not saying miss your favourite TV programmes, just stop watching TV shows you don't like. In today's world this is easy: PVRs like Tivo or Sky+ allow you to record the programs you are actually interested in and watch them when you are ready without having to sit through the program before and after. Video on demand services such as iPlayer in the UK or Hulu in the US help you with this too. Seriously have a think about how many TV programs you watched in the last week that you didn't enjoy (i.e. X-Factor). I bet they add up to more than an hour a day.
2. Get up earlier - This sounds obvious, and it is. It takes less than two weeks of doing something repetitively to form a habit. The habit of the time you wake up is probably set around the time you need to go to work. Force yourself to get up 1 hour earlier for two weeks and then you will find it easy. You really only need 6 - 7 hours sleep a night, so if you are having more than this then it is time wasted.
3. Don't check your e-mail when you wake up - Do you do this? Stop. Nobody expects you to be responding to emails before 9am, so if you are up at 6am this means you have a good opportunity to do some distraction free work on things that are actually important before being distracted by 10 different emails that require action.
4. Do something constructive after work - As soon as you arrive home from the office or you stop work, don't sit down and relax. As soon as you hit the sofa your brain and body go into chill-out mode and the chances of you getting back up are slim - this is especially true if you have just eaten. Instead, when you finish your daily routine, immediately start on something constructive, this could be your new project, household chores etc. Speend an hour doing this, you can still relax just make it later in the evening.
5. Uninstall your IM client - Google Talk, MSN Messenger, AIM, it doesn't matter. Whichever you use, uninstall it. IM is an even bigger distraction than e-mail and the majority of conversations that take place over it are not important. How many times do you receive a 'Hey, whats up?' message from a bored friend that leads to a pointless and time wasting discussion. Add up the time spent on those conversations, never mind how long it takes you to get back to focusing on what you were doing before your were interrupted. An hour a day, probably.
6. Have less meetings - I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't say this. But seriously stop having meetings. Swap them for a teleconference. Meetings always last in blocks of 1 hour; they start on the hour and end on the hour. Not to mention the time wasted getting to them and all the small talk that takes place before and after. Get everyone to pick up the phone and have a conference call then when you're done you hangup. Time saved.