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  • Time, according to Greek philosopher Theophrastus, is the most valuable

  • thing you can spend.

  • We may want more of it, but we're stuck with the same 24-hour wad

  • every day of our lives.

  • Beyoncé's Single Ladies was written in no more than 20 minutes.

  • That's one stonking pop banger created in less than 2% of a day.

  • Imagine what you could achieve in the other 98%.

  • The question is, how?

  • Well, how you think about time can actually help you use it

  • more wisely, and could leave you a lot healthier and happier.

  • You know that rare feeling of having plenty of time to do what you want?

  • Psychologists call it 'time affluence',

  • and it does a lot for your sense of wellbeing.

  • Bizarre as it may sound, it's possible to make yourself feel more

  • time-rich by handing over some of your hours to others.

  • One study took a large group of people.

  • Some of them helped others in their spare time -

  • doing things like writing letters to cheer up a sick child -

  • while the rest did whatever they liked.

  • The helpers later felt they generally had more free time

  • compared to the rest of the group, despite giving some of it away.

  • So rather than bingeing on that box set, do something for someone else.

  • You'll end up feeling it's possible to achieve more in the time you have.

  • Now, think about all those tiny chunks of your day when your brain

  • isn't doing very much at all.

  • Like going for a run, sitting on a bus, or making a cup of tea.

  • Scott H Young, author of Ultralearning,

  • specialises in making time work better for people.

  • He sees these mini downtimes as chunks of opportunity

  • to use more wisely.

  • So how do you want to use that time?

  • You could try 'productive meditation'.

  • If something's turning out to be a pretty knotty problem,

  • use your daily jog to focus your mind on your surroundings,

  • and your subconscious may find a solution while your mind relaxes.

  • Or while the kettle boils, listen to the sound of the water.

  • Watch steam rising from the spout. Be truly mindful and in the moment.

  • Evidence suggests that when you get back to your desk,

  • you'll get a lot more done in the time you have.

  • Start creating habits,” Young says.

  • You'll be surprised how much materializes,

  • once you simply start doing things for a few minutes a day.”

  • Whatever route you take, bear in mind that several recent studies

  • have shown that trying to fit more in by working longer hours

  • can lead to stress and illness. And nobody wants that.

  • Psychologist Claudia Hammond suggests that the best way to make free time

  • feel worthwhile is to indulge in the holiday paradox.

  • This says that doing something new sees your brain make an extra effort

  • to remember it.

  • So vary your routine, try new hobbies.

  • Different experiences, however small, will be more rewarding,

  • and when you're looking back on them, your sense of time will be expanded.

  • Did you realize that if you add up sleep (very important),

  • eating and working, most of us have around five hours a day left

  • to do what we want to do.

  • So take advantage of it.

  • You could even write a fifth of a novel.

  • John Boyne wrote The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

  • in just two and a half days

  • (not sure how much sleep he got though).

  • Or you could climb to the top of Ben Nevis in five hours.

  • If it was a weekend, you might have time to get down again.

  • But don't be too hard on yourself if you just need that time to chill.

  • A study in 2010 showed that playing computer games or watching TV

  • can restore us emotionally and help us recover intellectually

  • after a hard day.

  • But you've got to buy into the experience totally,

  • and don't feel guilty.

  • Isn't that a relief?

Time, according to Greek philosopher Theophrastus, is the most valuable

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How to feel more in control of your time | Productivity tips and hacks | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2021/02/11
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