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Do you want to be happier? You may want to reflect on how you spend your time. Too much work and not enough play has many of us feeling time-poor. We are always working but seem to be standing still.

How can people free up their time to improve their mood? The goal is to enjoy your time at work, at home, and when relaxing. They are all intertwined and cannot be separated.

It is important to concentrate on high-priority work. Business owners often spend hours, about 23 on average, trapped in meetings each week. Many business leaders also say they often get pulled in to help with colleagues’ urgent tasks, which delays their own meaningful work. To gain control over your time, you must be blocking off time on your calendar for your most challenging work and giving it your undivided attention—no meetings, no calls, no emails. There are other ways you can protect your time, such as declining last-minute impositions on your time.

It is okay to ask for extensions when you need them. You may not want to disappoint a colleague, peer, or director who is counting on you for a deliverable, but if you need more time, ask for it. People are often more willing to grant extensions than people realize. It turns out that leaders tend to view those who request extra breathing room as highly motivated employees who want to produce better results.

You should try to outsource what you can. You may often be spending time doing something that you could pay someone else to do. It becomes the question of whether you are spending your time working on your business or in your business. For example, could you hire someone to deliver your groceries or clean your house? You can outsource unpleasant tasks, you can eliminate drudgery from your days, which leads to more life satisfaction. Many entrepreneurs outsource work that is not core to their initial idea so they can focus on their mission-critical tasks, she adds.

You should build in down time. Rather than trying to cram in several leisure activities on a Sunday afternoon, try building a little bit of slack time, about 15 minutes, into each day. This gives you some time for yourself between work appointments or social commitments that allow you to relax or try something new.

It is imperative that you use your vacation time. With the end of the year approaching, you may have a decent reserve of vacation days to use. Use them as longer periods of rest, these are the key to happiness. We all need time away to recharge, so plan for how you will use up any vacation days.

You need to love your free time and the time you have with family and friends. It is not enough to seek more leisure time; you should also consciously appreciate it. Even if you take a trip and it rains the whole time or go out for a good meal and end up spending much more than you intended, do not worry about the downsides. Instead, look for the good and learn to enjoy your downtime.

With work and life sometimes blurring, it is easy to let various time demands made of you consume your day. Fortunately, you can stay vigilant about how you spend your time by considering some of these ideas. Schedule time for focused work, recuperation and recreation, request more time on projects when you need it, get help when it makes sense, and aim to savor your free time. When life feels frantic, you can take back control by deciding how you use your time. And this will help you thrive.

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