I remember a time when I, as a harried new mom, would sit in front of a TV after the baby was asleep, watch whatever movie was on HBO, munch on a bowl of popcorn and do absolutely nothing other than immerse myself in a story which had absolutely nothing to do with my life.
Then came the career that required more time, a family which needed attention and a home which was begging to be taken care of. Suddenly, two dedicated hours with the TV was no longer an option and I discovered some unexpected ways to save time. There were many things which could be planned better or done together so that I could have a more fulfilling day.
If you’re at a point in your life where 24 hours in a day just don’t seem enough, take a look at these unexpected ways to save time. Some people may say these a bit extreme, but they’re guaranteed to help you accomplish more on a daily basis.
Make Phone Calls While Doing Something Else
Conference calls while doing the laundry or cooking dinner? Absolutely! Or how about while you’re in the subway or in the car? Obviously keeping all safety elements in mind, the ‘mute’ option on a cell phone can allow you to double your efficiency while you’re on the phone. The person on the other side doesn’t have to hear the banging of dishes or the echo in the laundry room.
You’ll have to be selective about which calls you make while doing another task. Obviously this time saving tip is not a good idea with conversations where you’ll be required to take notes or participate extensively. But regular calls such as checking in with family members, calling a handyman or even the bank can easily be done this way.
Put To-Do Lists Online
There are tons of apps which are available for free or can be bought at affordable prices that let you synchronize your to-do lists between your laptop, tablet and smartphone. Most have sharing options so that multiple collaborators can work off of one list. Consider the time saving benefits of updating your grocery list while on your way home and your partner automatically getting the revision or adding a task to a to-do list for your big project and everyone on your team being notified instantaneously.
A few apps that work really well for professional and home lists are shown below. They all have their strong points so make sure you pick one which works best for you. By having all your lists on all your devices, you’ll be able to stay organized anyplace, anytime:
Routine! Routine! Routine!
You must have a set routine if you’re going to get the most out of your day but realistically we all know that each day differs from the one before. It helps if you have ‘Day Categories’ such as cooking day, laundry day, carpool day, etc. For each of these days you should at least in your head know when you’re going to do what.
Unfortunately this means always looking at the clock. But when you reach a point where you’re able to wrap up everything you have to do by a certain time every day, you’ll discover the pleasures of having a little time to yourself. This goes a long way if you currently feel like you’re fighting fires all day long.
Have ‘Backup’ Precooked Dinner Items in the Freezer
A lot of people are actually organized enough to cook and freeze food over the weekend for a stress-free, healthy week. It also helps if you have ‘backup’ dinners which you leave in the freezer for one of those days where you come home and just want to collapse in bed. For those who’re not the cooking type, readymade meals are a good option as well.
Foods which freeze well for relatively extended periods of time are pizzas, casseroles, curries, pot pies, breaded chops, and meatloaf. As a standard rule of thumb, it’s a good idea not to freeze anything longer than three weeks so make sure you label your backup meal and eat it before time runs out.
Don’t Just Watch TV
Rather than turning your brain to mush, consider doing a hobby while watching TV. Activities such as crocheting, scrapbooking, drawing or even browsing the internet go really well with the TV. That way you can keep up with your favourite TV shows and movies and have a sense of accomplishment as well.
You may find this irritating at first but with time you’ll reach a point where you won’t feel like simply watching TV. It’s a simple mindset of wanting to get the most out of your time.
These are just a few ways you can squeeze more out from your busy life and save time. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a work from home parent or someone who spends most of their days in a corporate office, you’ll be sure to get more done if you implement just one or two of the tips above.
Let us know if you have a phone call while doing something unexpected or pick up a hobby now that you’ve made the time!
Got more unexpected ways you can save time? Please share with us!
Photo by freedigitalphotos.
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Nice tips! I also used Springpad as well. Very good for saving things to read on my commute.
IMO, I would say to create routine for the tasks you do not enjoy or “auto pilot” through those mundane tasks and focuses your creativity and your mind on tasks you care about.
Ironically, this is somewhat counterproductive. There has been research that tells us that multitasking is quite bad (not just for the things at hand, but as a “habit”). And then again, I am sure you have head — the only way to do multiple things well is to do them one at a time!
Great article Caroline! In todays busy world time is truely of the essence. I will definitely put these suggestions to good use. Thanks, Mike
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