I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with time. On my phone I track every minute of the day and how it is being used. I can even show you a spreadsheet with months of data where my time up to the minute.
For example, I can tell you that on average I sleep 7 hours and 14 minutes a day and I spend on average 87 minutes a week running errands. You might wonder why I’m doing this. The reason is that I want to be on the fast-track to success. One of the ways to reach my destination faster is by maximizing the time I have at my disposal. In other words, by time saving.
Over the months of tracking my time I wanted to figure out ways to shave minutes of certain low value activities so I could refocus that to more important matters. The list of time saving tips below is the one I’ve done myself to free up time, and I have redirected those minutes and hours to work and personal projects.
21 Time Saving Tips That Work
1. Check your smart phone in line – Waiting in line is a waste of time, so use this time to check your email, respond to text messages or participate on social media.
2. Automate your monthly expenses – Stop paying bills through the mail and switch to paying your expenses online. If you are already doing that, the next step is to automate your payments and set a time once a month to review all your monthly payments.
3. Maximize your commute times – Read a book, listen to audiobooks, call people, email or get other work done.
4. Eat your frog – The first thing you do in the morning is the task you dread the most. Brian Tracy coined this term and he got it from the saying: “If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long!” By doing the dreadful task first, the rest of the day is going to be easy in comparison.
5. Stop watching TV – Cut back on watching television and switch over to on-demand media. TV commercials provide little value and revolving your day around the TV’s schedule is an inefficient use of your time. You can still watch most your favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix, but at your own pace and time.
6. Learn keyboard shortcuts – Using the mouse can be slow for certain tasks which oftentimes can be done faster by keyboard shortcuts. Learn a couple keyboard shortcuts of your frequently used programs, like your browser, word processor and spreadsheet software.
7. Stick to 3 tasks – If you only had time for 3 tasks each day to complete to make your day worthwhile, what would they be? Answering this question forces you to prioritize so you spend time on important things and avoid working on things that have little importance.
8. Call people – Sometimes calling is much faster than sending emails. What can be said in less than a minute usually takes you a couple of minutes drafting an email, proof reading and then sending it.
9. Get a virtual assistant – Personal outsourcing is a great to save time because someone else can do the menial tasks you dread (and cheaper). This leaves you with more time for leisure or to do more high value activities. Examples of tasks you can outsource is online research and data entry.
10. Batch your activities – Putting activities that are similar in nature allows you to process them faster and in one batch. For example, if you need to call or text people, do that in one batch instead of spreading it throughout the day.
11. Use a calendar – I’m often surprised when I still meet people who don’t use a calendar. It is also not surprising these people tend to be late most of the time or even completely forget their commitments. Avoid this by using a calendar. Bonus points if your calendar syncs through the cloud.
12. Tame your email – Email can be a big productivity killer. Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read, check it only twice a day at fixed times and set each session to a limit of 25 minutes.
13. Stop playing video games – They are great way to relax and wind down, but video games can also suck up a lot of time. Cut it completely or limit it to one hour every week.
14. Try a different route – We are creatures of habit and we like to stick to the path of least resistance. Once we have commuted to work on a particular route, we stick to that route no matter how bad the traffic is. Have you ever considered planning a new (and more efficient) route to work?
15. Touch it once – Whenever you get something in front of you, decide right away what to do with it. Don’t let it sit around for you to decide another time what to do. Either plan, do it, delegate or delete.
16. Use text expansion software – If you are someone who writes the same phrases and messages each day, you will greatly benefit from using text expansion software. It allows you set abbreviations (or keyboard shortcuts) and the software will fill it up with text. This is great for phone numbers, email signatures, and anything else you often type. Get started with DashExpander (Mac) or PhraseExpress (Windows).
17. Protein shake – If you want to keep your morning routine short, have a protein shake and a snack for breakfast.
18. Two laptop power adapters – If you bring your laptop home and to work, it is worthwhile buying a second power adapter. This will prevent you from forgetting to pack it. Thus save you a lot of time (and headaches).
19. Clean your desk at the end of the day – Before you stop working for the day, clean your desk. This makes it easy for you to get started the next time you start working.
20. Use a password manager – Trying to remember passwords and wasting time on recovering them is a thing of the past. Use a password manager such as 1Password (Mac) or Lastpass, and all you need is to memorize one password for all your logins.
21. Improve your typing speed – Considering you spend a lot of time writing emails and documents, it’s worthwhile learning how to type faster. This will add extra minutes to your day.
Looking forward to your comments. What are the best ways you practise time saving?
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