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There aren’t enough hours in the day…

January 28, 2024

Happy 2024! Amazingly, we’re almost at the end of January, and with the children back at school, we can proclaim that the year is officially in full swing. Here’s the thing we all know– life moves ahead often in full swing whether you’re ready or not. In a world that is becoming increasingly fast-paced, I often find myself in conversations about how there aren’t enough hours in the day, and there I am, nodding in agreement.

In our January edition, I usually write about goal setting for the year, so if you’re in that space, click here and here for my previous articles that have some great tips. This year is a little different; I find myself searching for ways to optimise time so I can create focused time to work on my goals, the coveted one being increasing productivity.

Sharing Ideas for Things in Life That We Can’t Wholly Automate

We have embraced technology to make life simpler; you probably will hear me saying ‘Hey Siri’ a couple of times a day. For example, I find asking Siri to put a reminder in my calendar efficient, as opposed to manually entering it. There are some things that AI can’t do, so I put together some random quick tips that have helped create efficiency in my peers and my daily life.

Car License Renewal

Up until this year, I would religiously fill out my form and queue at my local South African post office for my disc renewal. Did you know that you can complete your disc renewal at a supported Spar or Pick n Pay as well? You could also do this online now.

Quick Meals

I should call this one Air Fryer! I have not taken the plunge yet, but those who use this appliance swear by it. It’s so big that local grocers now include cooking instructions for Air Fryers on their items.

I find having a meal plan for the week helps (there are varying degrees of how detailed this can be), but it does help to at least have a basic idea of the meals you want to prepare.

Online Grocery Shopping

This seems like a natural progression from the point above. I use this often; I add things to my basket as I remember I need them or do a quick online ‘grocery run.’ While waiting, I continue working, and in 60 minutes I have my groceries delivered to me. I ask the driver to meet me at my car, and it goes straight into my boot. Groceries done!

Self-Care and Personal Grooming – Multi Treatments in One Appointment

Finding a provider where you can have more than one treatment is high on the efficiency list and leaves you with a serotonin boost. I can get my hair cut, beard trimmed, and manicured in 60 minutes, and I hear the ladies have similar wins.

A little sidebar for the gents: an instant shoeshine cleaner has been lifesaving, especially before early morning meetings. Also, check out wrinkle-free shirts if you are pedantic about ironing.

Effective Meetings – ‘Winning the Meeting Happens Before the Meeting’

We know that some meetings do not need to be an hour at minimum, and we are seeing a culture shift; where appropriate, meetings are shorter. Preparation is key, and a somewhat detailed agenda with clear intentions can help attendees to bring more meaningful points into the meeting.

Another pain point is meeting minutes; you could use voice dictation features on your smartphone or computer for quick notetaking. There are apps, as well, that assist with at least creating the raw draft for you to edit and finalise.

Work from Home (WFH)

There is a lot of subject matter on this, and most of us have some experience with WFH. The biggest plus of this is time saved on commuting.

One-Touch Rule

This idea revolves around handling each task or document only once to avoid procrastination and unnecessary time spent on decision-making. Once you touch it, you complete the task or document.

Quick Workouts

Having a plan can help you get the most out of your workout when you have limited time. The are a lot of apps that can help you with a guided workout. Check out Caliber, the Virgin Active app or even Netflix.

Mindful Tasking (Audios)

This is a great way to give an audiobook or podcast a listen and learn a new skill while doing another activity. You could do this on your daily commute, or while cooking dinner.


Meditation means different things to different people. The key takeaway here is that you have a clear mind so you can optimise the time you have for specific tasks. A quick round-robin revealed that people ‘meditate’ by taking sanity breaks which could be a walk in the garden, coffee breaks, all the way up to yoga and full-on meditation.

Set Your Intention

The most common idea from everyone I have been speaking to is to set your intention. It creates clarity and helps you hone in on the task/activity ahead of you.

On the point of setting your intention, have you considered what your word for the year will be? Consider selecting a single word that guides you in your actions for the year ahead, a word that keeps you true to your overarching core value. The power of choosing one focus word is to use the word as a lens. Remember, this word isn’t just a label; it infuses every decision with intentionality.

Wishing you well for the year ahead.

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