makingthemost24hrsEach day, you get the same 24 hours that I do, and so does that guy you know who’s really productive, and that girl who seems to check stuff off her to do list with more regularity than you dream of.

The issue is not how much time we have each day; the issue is what we do with it. A while ago, I downloaded the iPhone app, Moment. It allows you to see time usage and trends for all the apps on your phone. I was shocked when I realized home much of my time was going to things that didn’t matter. If you took inventory of the things you do and the ways you spend down time, you may be surprised with how inefficient it is.

I’m not as efficient as I could be, but I’ve gotten a lot better. Here are 5 ways I’ve found (or am learning) to redeem the time and make the most of the situation, wherever I am.

1) Listen to books.

I love podcasts, but I have a new love: my Audible account. I’ve listened to 5 books in the first 3 months since I signed up – all in my car while I drive. It’s a far better way to spend 20 minutes than the radio. I’ll admit retention is a bit lower when just listening and not following along with my eyes and a pen. But the amount of content I get in makes up for lower retention. And you can always listen again!

A friend of mine who owns a lawn care business is the one who turned me onto Audible. He listens to hours and hours of teaching or books every day while he mows.

2) Take a book with you.

Gymnastics practice. Soccer practice. DMV line. Doctor’s waiting room. Those are prime times to endlessly browse your Instagram feed, or, even better – read a book! With the iBooks and Kindle apps on my iPhone and iPad, even if I didn’t plan to bring a book with me, I can read almost anywhere I find myself waiting.

3) Have your kids memorize things that matter.

Even the time you spend tucking your kids in bed can be used efficiently. I learned a trick recently when singing to my son before bed. I realized at the ripe old age of 2 that he had memorized all of “Jesus Loves Me.” That’s nice and all, but I thought I’d help him memorize something he could use later in life. For the last 6 months or so, at least 3 or 4 times per week, I quote Psalm 23 to him in addition to or instead of “Jesus Loves Me” and a Veggietales book. Now at 28 months old, he can say all of Psalm 23! Next up, Psalm 119.

4) Wake up early.

I know, I know. You hate rolling out of bed early. I get it. I like sleep just as much as the next guy. But I’ve learned to savor the early morning hours more than my shut eye. I’ve found my day to be far more productive when I start it off on the right foot. 5am is far more productive than 7am when people are awake, texts are coming in, and you’re getting ready for the day. Email, news, and social media will find you, so stay away from them in the wee hours of the morning and use that time to do something that matters.

5) When your alarm goes off, actually get up.

I know, novel idea. I’m not saying you have to spring out of bed, I’m just saying don’t hit the snooze for 45 minutes straight. That 45 minutes is wasted time that you’re not really getting rest anyway. If you need an extra 20 minutes of sleep, set your alarm 20 minutes later, then hit snooze once and force yourself out of bed before the alarm goes off again.

What are some ways you’ve found to make the most of your time?