A while back, I wrote a Creatures and Happiness Series, where I talked about magical creatures and what they can teach us about happiness. Now I would like to do the same with magical objects. This series will be a little different though; instead of simply talking about the metaphor behind the magic, I will be relating the magical object to a real-world equivalent. Hopefully, this can open our eyes to the wondrous things that are already all around us.
In the Harry Potter series, there is a device called a time turner. In the series, it is primarily used in such a way that the user gets some extra time in their day to accomplish things. Wouldn’t we all like a device like that? Alas, I have no magical time-giving necklace, but I do use a few apps and tools that, to me, are just as magical in terms of helping me use the time I do have more wisely. I’m not affiliated with any of these companies; I just wanted to share some nifty (free!) ways to give yourself a little more time.
1. Overdrive– Lately, I’ve had a hard time finding the time to sit down and read a book, but I do have plenty of time in the car or while exercising to listen to a book. The overdrive app allows you to get free audio-books on your phone through your local library. In addition to being fun, this is a great resource to learn something new. If your library is participating, all you need is a library card. Think of it like a free audible.com. Ebooks are also available. Sometimes, you have to place a book on hold until it becomes available, but, I figure that I technically do the same thing with audible, as my subscription only allows me to check out one book a month. So, make sure to leave a little shopping time a couple of weeks prior to when you want to read your book, especially if it is very popular.
2. Headspace– I know this is a pretty common one, but I wanted to talk specifically about how Headspace helps me to save time. In addition to allowing you the benefits of meditation- including feeling more clear-headed and focused and therefore more productive, Headspace allows you to set a daily time in which to meditate. I set mine to 12:30 (around lunchtime) and right now it’s set to just five minutes a day. Headspace will send you a reminder when your scheduled time approaches. You can also opt for daily messages of encouragement. Where I would normally drag my feet in finding time to meditate, having a daily reminder and a brief meditation time helps me to make it a habit.
3. Drops– This is a language app that teaches you a language in just five minutes a day. It’s in the form of a game, and you can play it while waiting in line, while on your lunchbreak, or even in the bathroom if you are so inclined. Five minutes might not seem like much, but over time, you can learn a lot! And did I mention it’s beautiful?
4. Stay Focused– These apps go by different names but this is the one I use. This limits website time on certain sites. I have mine set for 20 minutes. Currently, it’s just on Facebook for me, but you can select any websites where you feel you are spending more time than you would like. I only wish you could customize the time for the website (such as 1.5 hours for Netflix, 30 minutes for Pinterest, 15 for Facebook, etc.) If anyone knows of an app that can do that, please let me know!
5. The Skimm- I don’t have this as an app although I believe they have one (I’m just on their email list). They send you news highlights that can be read in about five minutes, along with links to longer news sources if you want to read more in depth, or verify the info. They are geared more towards millennial women and the writing style is very colloquial, so it may not be everyone’s thing. For me, it’s an easy way to get some quick highlights for those days when I don’t have time to read all of my traditional news sources. And bonus: they emphasize quick and easy-to-follow updates on international news, something I struggle to find with many American newspapers.
You may be asking though, what does all this have to do with happiness? While time management may not directly lead to happiness, it certainly leaves us with less stress and more time to prioritize happiness. The trick is to be intentional about using that extra time in our day to invest in things that truly bring us joy. So, while we may not be able to turn back time, we can set aside more time for happiness.
What is your favorite time management tip?