What would you do with a little extra time in your day? Earn more money? Spend it on personal interests and hobbies? Enjoy more downtime with family?
Whatever your version of a richer life might be, freeing up time can help you achieve it. And while we haven’t figured out how to stop the clock (yet), we can offer these time-saving tips and strategies to help you become more productive, reduce stress and get more of what you want.
Multitasking may sound like a great idea, but frequently switching your attention may often take more time and energy than focusing on one thing at a time. Rather than answering emails throughout your day, for example, designate a block of time to get it done all at once. The same goes for returning phone calls, completing household chores, filing paperwork or any other task that might divide your attention. Use a timer if necessary and stick to the schedule: having a time constraint may help you be more efficient.
Disconnect from time drains like social media, gaming and watching TV when you need to focus. Lock the door if you must and get down to it!
Making to-do and shopping lists can save you time, effort and money! Whether your list is paper-based or digital, keep it updated and take it with you in case you find yourself with a few extra minutes to accomplish a task. Try to cross difficult items off your list first so that you can address them while you’re fresh. You’ll move on afterwards with a clearer mind.
Leverage Online Services
Make errands fit your schedule and save time by seeking out online apps for retailers and services that you use regularly, such as managing your credit card, gift buying and grocery shopping (using helpful services such as PC Express). Similarly, consider telecommuting for work, saving you and your employer time and money.
Get enough sleep, water, exercise and healthy food so you’ll have more focus and energy to help get you through your day without feeling sluggish or lazy. Taking stress breaks to stretch or meditate is not a waste of time, as it can help you be more productive when you return to the job at hand.
Clean up clutter and designate a “home” for everything, and you’ll eliminate hunting for (or replacing) misplaced items, thus saving time and money! Store items close to where they’ll be used to help streamline daily tasks. Handle things as few times as possible: Don’t let junk mail collect on your counter, for example; toss it as soon as it crosses your threshold.
Throwing things together at the last minute is rarely effective. Prepare as much as you can the night before by making lunches, setting the coffee timer and prepping the next day’s breakfast, clothes and plan of action. Keep separate laundry bins for darks and lights so clothes are pre-sorted for you. Save money and time, by developing a meal-planning strategy and employing batch-cooking once a week or month. Shop for birthday or holiday gifts throughout the year when they’re on sale, not at the eleventh hour.
Whether you’re at work or at home, learn to let go of tasks and hand them to someone else to free up your time. Consider hiring someone to help you out. It’s all about cost-effectiveness—if it costs less to pay someone to do a job than the value of your time spent doing other things, it’s worthwhile.
Optimize Waiting Time
Find useful ways to spend time waiting in doctor’s offices, commuting or during any other downtime. Can you sort mail? Check which pens and markers still work? Write thank you notes? Listen to audio books? Review your to-do list? You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish in these nooks and crannies of your day.
Learn to Say No
Of all the ways to save time (and money), this is often the hardest but most important. Don’t let a desire to please or impress others let you become overbooked and overwhelmed. Prioritize and cut back on your commitments instead.