In Practice

Putting social psychology to work for you

6 Ways to Find Extra Time

Have more time for things you enjoy.

1. Assess projects you're only continuing due to "sunk costs."

Do you have projects you feel obligated to finish because you've already invested time and/or money in them?

Make an executive decision to abandon them.

2. Assess your boom and bust cycles.

Do you end up spending 3 hours a night watching trashy TV or reading gossip blogs because you're stuck in boom and bust cycles of activity i.e., you work too hard ("boom") and then you feel like you need a massive break "bust" to recover.

Run your own experiment to see if stopping earlier (before you're scraping the bottom of the barrel of your willpower tank) results in you bouncing back quicker. 

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

3. Address awkward situations sooner.

Although sometimes you'll want to sleep on an issue, make decisions about awkward situations straight away where possible, or within a day or two (max).

Trust yourself to make the decision that's most consistent with your personal values and that any uncomfortable feelings you experience will pass.

4. Track your time use.

If you spend most of your time on your computer, try running an app like RescueTime for a week to see how you're spendng that computer time.  

What's great about Rescue Time and that you don't to need to spend time setting up the app. Just installing it and letting it run will give you useful data and you might be surprised by the results.

5. Reduce decision making.

Create routines that allow you to reduce the time you need to spend making decisions.  

6. Try StayFocusd

StayFocusd is a Chrome app I use to block myself from using social media sites on Sundays. You can configure it any way you want. My settings are that it blocks me from Twitter and Facebook after 10 minutes use on Sundays but allows unlimited time other days. Set it to whatever you want and change your settings as required.

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Photo credits: JD Hancock kevin dooley kevin dooley via photopin cc

Alice Boyes, Ph.D. translates principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and social psychology into tips people can use in their everyday lives.

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