Use a timer for everything
iStock/fstop123 “If you tend to take too long in the shower, time it. Set a timer to remind you that it’s time to leave the house to go to a meeting, or it’s time to get off social media and get back to work,” says Dr. Guttman. She suggests making a plan to work for a set number of hours and then put on a timer to go on social media as a means of self-reinforcement for another set amount of time. When the timer goes off, hold yourself accountable. Go back to work for another set amount of time, and self-reinforce again with social media for a job well done. “You will feel better for having gotten more accomplished and having held yourself to a higher standard, and most people feel proud for spending less time on social media each day,” Dr. Guttman says.
Meditate on your tasks
iStock/Olgaorly Mike Dow, PsyD, a psychotherapist, author, and television personality in Los Angeles, knows that most of us would love an extra hour or two to hit a meditation or yoga class, but people who hurry tend to have very little “extra time.” That’s why he suggests mindfully meditating while you do everyday tasks—by simply tuning in to the present moment. “Pay attention to all of your five senses while you’re engaged in an activity. Instead of eating while checking your email or worrying, just eat. When you shower, shower. Same goes for walking, washing dishes, or even making love,” he says. Chances are, if you’re focusing on what’s in front of you, you’ll feel calmer and more able to handle all of your other tasks—and you’ll likely get them done faster if you don’t stop and start or get distracted.
Do less at once
iStock/Rawpixel-Ltd Dr. Dow also suggests trading in multitasking for strategic “doing.” “Hurriers think they’re saving time while multitasking, and this may be true when you’re doing two very simple things like stapling a stack of papers while you’re watching TV, he says. But brain scans show that what you really do when you multitask is rapid single-tasking, and, in doing so, you lose time and efficiency by switching back and forth. “This is especially true when you are doing something more complex like working on a spreadsheet while having an important conversation with your significant other,” he says. “Do one thing at a time, and you’ll end up saving time. The more time you save, the less you need to hurry.”