Early this Sunday—2 AM on November 3, to be precise—Daylight Savings Time for 2013 comes to an end, which means we get to “fall back” an hour. (I believe I just heard a collective sigh of relief from everyone…)

An extra hour in the day is any productivity expert’s dream. There is so much you can do with that time ranging from catching up on household chores to getting ahead with work projects…or just taking a little personal time. Any way you look at it, the extra hour is bound to help you and, in turn, your productivity in some way.

Have you thought about what you can do with your extra hour this Sunday? If not, or if you’re still undecided on how to best use your time, we’ve provided 13 suggestions for 2013 that will help you take advantage of this small gift of time. Note that several of these suggestions have links that will take you to articles providing a deeper dive into the topic, so be sure to click on these:

  1. It’s not too soon for holiday lists: The holidays are literally just around the corner, and we all know the hustle and bustle associated with these festivities takes a big bite out of our productivity. Get a jump-start this year and start making your Holiday lists—Thanksgiving menus, Hanukkah activities, gift lists and holiday greeting cards. You can also start scheduling out events in your planner or calendar.
  2. New Years Resolutions and Goals: Once we survive the holidays, it’s time to set your plan and goals for 2014. One hour is all it takes to get a start on making your New Years Resolutions and planning your personal goals. Or, if you’re a professional and/or own a home or small business, now is precisely the time you need to be setting the course for next year.
  3. Declutter your mail: Whether is emails clogging up your inbox in Outlook or Gmail, or that teetering pile of envelopes, magazines and mailers on the dining room hutch, it really doesn’t take long to get mail under control. Use the Three R’s for email: Read, Respond and Remove. For physical mail, sort into four piles: take action today, file and read later, store for reference, or recycle.
  4. Read and review periodicals and e-newsletters: It’s tempting to subscribe to all of the magazines and online newsletters out there that are free—but it’s a formula for clutter if you don’t review them on a regular basis. Use the same steps noted in #3 above to get periodicals under control. And DON’T be afraid to unsubscribe to any of these that aren’t delivering true value to you.
  5. Update your social media profiles: I personally didn’t think much about this until I was searching LinkedIn and realized my profile was desperately in need of updating! These profiles generally remain static over time, so unless you go in and manually update them, chances are viewers will see you as you were three years ago!
  6. Quality time: Whether it’s Family Game Night or a trip together to the local ice cream shop, quality time with your family is a must. Never let yourself get too busy—neither personally nor professionally—because the result will be neglecting face-time with the ones you love and who support you.
  7. Clean out your closet: Depending on the severity and size of your closet, this could be more than an hour chore! But realistically, most closets can be tidied up and clutter free in 60 minutes or less. Make three piles: keep, relocate to another space or storage, and throw away or donate.
  8. Exercise: If you’re like me, you recognize the importance of exercise—and actually enjoy it. However, when is there time to work out? Here’s your chance to get started on a regular routine. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind which leads to productivity. Plus, you can make this a “quality time” event by going to the gym with your spouse or taking the dog for a walk with you kids.
  9. Lend a helping hand: Much like exercise, we would all like to have the time to donate it to an event or cause in which you truly believe and will help others. Use your extra hour to work at the local soup kitchen or ushering at your church, or keep it close to home and pitch in with the housework or make dinner for the family. A lot of good can be done in an hour.
  10. Update your playlists: Don’t be stuck in the same routine with the same music. Take this time to look at the playlists on your mobile device or MP3 player and update them with some fresh tunes. With the holidays near, why not create a festive list that will keep you going through all your holiday shopping? Make it a soundtrack for your lifestyle.
  11. Treat yourself: You really do deserve it! We all know the saying about all work and no play. Why work so hard on crossing off items from your to-do lists and fulfilling your goals on a daily basis if there’s no reward? Sure, the personal satisfaction for accomplishing these things is reward enough—but an hour of your favorite TV show or a slice of pumpkin pie make it even better!
  12. Write in your journal: We encourage doing this every day, but like everything else, sometimes we fall behind. Get caught up and fill in some journal pages. We like to think of journaling as therapy for the cluttered mind. The benefits of doing so are plentiful, providing better focus, clarity, retention and expression.
  13. Do nothing: Seems a little anti-productive, right? But think of it this way: You’re always firing on all cylinders to keep your life, family and business moving forward in a productive manner. No engine can keep going forever without a little rest. Take this hour to recharge your battery as you get ready to take on the busiest time of the year.

How do you plan to spend your extra hour? What suggestions do you have for others in taking full advantage of this time? Please share and let’s see how large of a list we can create!

Get more productivity, planning and organizing tips for every hour of your personal and professional life by visiting the AT-A-GLANCE Planning Center.

[photo by KSDale03]

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