Who doesn’t wish they had more time?
While there is no magical tool to add a few hours to our days, there are countless ways to make better use of the 24 hours that we have. And if you are looking for tips on how to save time and have more freedom to do what you want, then continue reading!
Declutter your schedule and your life
Before we go ahead with the tips that unlock the extra time for you, it’s worth having a look at your current situation, for example, using a GTD Mind Sweep method, and seeing what can be dropped and forgotten.
It is common for people to grab all the tasks and commitments they can in order to feel busy, productive, and worthy. In reality, a lot of the things we do can easily be eliminated or reduced. Getting rid of all unnecessary clutter is really the best way to save time.
Start with the following steps:
Tip #1: reconsider favors
Check what tasks you were doing as a favor to someone and re-consider. It’s great to be supportive and help someone out. However, it should never come at your expense.
Remember what they say during the pre-flight safety demonstration? You should always put the mask on your face first and then assist the child next to you. And however cruel it may sound, it helps both get a better chance at surviving. Same with doing people favors. You need to take care of yourself first, and only then you can sustainably assist others. So, if you feel like your current workload is too much, please-please-please drop certain tasks from your to do list.
Tip #2: drop hobbies you no longer enjoy
Maybe there are hobbies you no longer enjoy but keep on doing out of habit? It’s time to drop them! We are taught that winners never quit, and losers never win, so some people feel that they are failing if they stop doing something.
It could not be further from the truth. Our preferences and priorities change. It’s a natural part of growing and developing. If you took tennis lessons five years ago, there is no obligation to continue if it no longer excites you. And if you ever want to go back, you can just do it.
Tip #3: re-evaluate your relationships
Are you spending time with people who bring you down? They are not worth your time and energy. Whether it’s a relative or a childhood friend, there is absolutely no reason to tolerate people who are mistreating you. Sometimes, we don’t realize how much someone is draining our energy until we stop communicating. Take some time to think about your relationships. See if you should work on anything. Cut off those who are not right for you anymore.
Your valuable time needs to be spent with people who will lift you up.
Tip #4: pay attention to incoming requests
After you’ve cleaned up your schedule and commitments, remember to evaluate any incoming request before agreeing. If something doesn’t make sense to you right now (=doesn’t add value to your life), don’t be ashamed to say no.
Don’t worry about offending people. They will understand. And those who won’t understand will learn to accept it.
Plan your day and be smart about your activities
When it comes to your daily life and everyday tasks, so many things can be optimized! Below are the time saving tips that anyone can and should apply to better their routines.
Tip #5: make a single to do list
Use a single system to store all your to-dos, so you won’t waste time checking different apps, notebooks, and calendars each time you need to figure out your task list for the day.
People underestimate how much time and energy they waste going back and forth between different systems. And how often do we forget to check one of our 7 to do lists and end up missing the deadline? Even a couple of times is too many.
So, instead, you should add all your tasks and events in one place and separate them by categories (e.g. with colors), so you can easily spot if that task is work-related or belongs to your personal goals. We also recommend putting your unassigned task or events in the same system too. That way, you can check them out periodically and see if they can fit into the upcoming day or week.
Bordio has a convenient waiting list located just to the right from the user’s calendar for easy access. It takes a second to write something down, go through the waiting list, or choose which tasks to schedule next.
If you’ve been experimenting with popular calendars but haven’t found the perfect one for you, then give Bordio a try. It combined all the best features known on the market, plus more!
Bordio is the only task management solution that supports events along with tasks. The events are nothing short of what Google calendar or Apple calendar have to offer. Bordio’s main view is the calendar, and you can do advanced event planning in the system instead of listing them as simple tasks, like with other productivity software. Another unique feature that Bordio includes is the innovative time block system for planning the weekly schedule and setting placeholders for tasks that take longer to complete.
Tip #6: task-batching is king
Practice task-batching. Grouping similar tasks together and completing them all at once is an excellent time-saver.
If you have 3 emails to write, 4 calls to make, or 2 things to clean at home – it really does work going through them all at once. While there are some theories as to why that works, the leading guess is that each task requires different energy. So instead of typing one email and then mentally preparing to make that call you kept postponing, you just power through all emails and move on with your day. The first one is the hardest one. After it’s done, the rest is easy.
And you can apply time-batching to any area of your life. Even job interviews! If we are looking for a job, we like to have one interview a day to prepare, concentrate and whatnot. However, imagine you just did 2-3 interviews in one day? By the end of the last one, you will probably feel like a superhero. And the added bonus would be not having to worry about those meetings for the rest of the week.
A less extreme example would be meal prepping. If you are already cooking soup, you might as well put those salmon stakes in the oven and work on a few side dishes. You will practically spend the same time in the kitchen, whether you make one dish or three. Yet, the outcome can be very different.
Tip #7: be strategic about your trips and commutes
Our next tip resonates a little with task-batching, but this time it’s location-batching.
Let’s say you live in the suburbs and have an appointment downtown on Monday. Then you plan to hit the gym on Tuesday, need to drop clothes at dry cleaners at some point in the week, and have a client meeting on Thursday. Guess what? All these events don’t have to happen on separate days.
So, we identify the least flexible task, which in our example would be a client meeting. And then we schedule everything else around it. That way, we won’t have to drive back and forth to the same area.
Tip #8: mix your social circles
Don’t have time for all your commitments and friends? Throw a party!
If you are struggling to keep up with social life, or feel like there is too little time left after hanging out with all your friends, group them together and arrange a social gathering for everyone (once it’s safe and allowed).
Let’s say you only have 2-3 hours a week to meet friends. Throw a little BBQ party and invite people over. You’ll catch up with everyone at once, and your friends will mingle and get to know one another. It’s a win-win!
Tip #9: traffic and rush hours are your enemies
Avoid the traffic and rush hours. Now, it’s not always possible to avoid the traffic entirely, but there is usually something we can do.
The most basic tip is not going to the office at 9 am and leaving at 5 pm. Suppose your working day is not flexible and you have a daily commute. In that case, you can arrive earlier and leave later but do other things outside of working hours. It would be a good opportunity to try out all the breakfast options in the area. Maybe even meet a friend for a coffee before work! Alternatively, you can come to the office and work on personal projects, watch something or read books. Although, be careful as it might be frowned upon by others even if you do it before your workday officially starts.
After work is the perfect time to hit the gym, go shopping, meet someone for early dinner. You don’t have to commute straight home from work. Instead, use the infrastructure around you and then head home once the rush hour is over.
Effectively, you can create an entire morning routine or evening routine around your work. Whether you use it to complete important tasks from your personal life or relax and enjoy yourself, make sure it’s sustainable and allows you to save time in the end.
Tip #10: avoid the lines
Don’t stand in lines. While technically you can listen to an audiobook or message friends while you are waiting, it is still a massive time waste.
Nowadays, pretty much anything can be delivered to your doorstep and returned in a few clicks. Think of what you are comfortable ordering online and make the switch. Also, try to be open-minded about the rest. For example, it’s not the most comfortable thing to order a couch without seeing it first. Online retailers recognize that and offer a bunch of tools to make the shopping experience as real as it can be. Things like 3d modelling or scanning and downloading your own room to the retailer’s website allow you to get the right impression of your future purchase. So, be creative with your shopping and save time. A single task of a big purchase can take up to a few days compared to hours if done online.
Another tip is to shop outside of rush hours. If you start working later, say 11 am, many stores open earlier than that. So, you can easily squeeze in a 40-minute shopping session before you have to clock in.
Tip #11: try a timer
Set a timer when you are working on something. Some tasks will take all the time we give them. Knowing you have 40 minutes only to finish that presentation, you will increase the chance of doing it in 40 minutes, rather than 1,5 hours as usual.
YouTube has countless playlists with timers and ambience or white noise. And there is a whole subculture of ‘study with me in real-time’ videos that you can turn on for the sense of companionship. Those can really help focus, get in the mood, and save time. So, if you find that a simple timer on your smartphone doesn’t cut it, go for something more creative.
Tip #12: experiment with home exercising
Exercise at home and save time on the trip to the gym.
Disclaimer: be careful and make sure you understand what you’re doing. Exercising unattended might result in an injury, so it’s important to get some experience and advice from a professional before you start.
Don’t we all want to be toned up and strong? However, going to the gym is not always possible. It can be due to our low motivation to go or that a trip to the gym takes too much time. New parents or just busy adults might find it unrealistic for the time being.
And that’s where home exercising comes in! The beauty of home workouts is that you can start anytime and finish whenever you want. So, even if you only have 20 minutes, there is still so much you can do. And 20 minutes is much better than nothing. Again, go to platforms like YouTube that offer millions of videos with warm-ups, stretching, abs routines that you can do without any equipment.
With the home workouts, you will be able to get fit and cross off a few things on the to do list at the same time that would take you just to go the gym.
Working out at home can be your ticket to time saving, money saving, and a more consistent routine.
Once you’ve integrated these basic recommendations into your day, you can start looking at additional productivity tips to save even more of your time and revolutionize your life.
Multitask but in a good way
The next bundle of time saving tips covers multitasking. And yes, we all know that multitasking isn’t a thing, really. We can still make it work, though!
Tip #13: listen to something when walking
Listen to some Podcasts or Audiobooks when walking outside. If you are a regular walker, whether recreational or because you live in a walkable city, it is a great activity to combine with listening to podcasts, books, audio lectures.
Even if your walks are 15-20 minutes long on average, those minutes add up really quickly. Start listening to an audiobook, and you’ll finish it before you know it! It can also be an exercise for you if you struggle to concentrate on audio.
Please note that if you feel stressed or anxious, skip this tip and just walk in silence. It will help you relax and feel better. Time management can wait, but your mental health has to be the most important project.
Tip #14: listen to or watch something during commute
If you drive a car, please stay focused on the road and opt for listening only. If you are using public transportation, then you can watch series, lectures, Ted talks, and anything else while you’re there. You won’t feel like you are wasting time, and you’ll entertain yourself or learn something new.
Driving a car is a good time to listen to useful content, but maybe not topics that require too much focus. The last thing we need is a dangerous situation on the road!
This time would also be great to make phone calls to your family and relatives to catch up.
Tip #15: Have to wait often? Utilize that time!
When your days get hectic and filled with responsibilities, it is easy to waste any waiting time and opt for social media, unhealthy snacking or something similar. If waiting for someone is a part of your routine (e.g. you need to drive the kids to their extracurricular activities twice a week and wait for them to finish), you can plan that time. Dedicate it to catching up with work, completing simple tasks, personal projects, making phone calls, reading books. Maybe even sleeping if you can do a power nap in the back seat of your car!
Delegate, delegate, delegate
Many people think they need to be at least C-level to afford delegation and outsourcing, but it’s really not the case!
Tip #16: delegate house cleaning
Having a professional cleaner come to your house every other week is not going to be that expensive. They can do the deep clean, and you will only have to maintain their work with minor cleanups here and there.
Calculate how many hours it takes you to make your home sparkling clean and multiply it by your hourly rate. The total will probably be higher than what cleaners charge you. And even if not, when you are overwhelmed and trying to catch up on your to do lists, outsourcing some help to buy yourself a few hours can do wonders to your mental health, productivity and overall happiness.
Tip #17: try food deliveries
If your local supermarkets deliver – make use of it! They are very efficient and the quality of food delivered is the same. Some supermarkets will allow duplicating your previous purchases. If not, create a checklist for all foods you regularly purchase and go through it every time. That way, you won’t forget anything and have to run to the shop.
The next step in delegation could be a virtual assistant if you feel like you have enough workload and tasks to outsource.
Great time saving tips that work, but we don’t like to hear them
And now we are approaching the next set of time saving tips that are all well-known and not a secret, but we tend to ignore them anyway. And hey, it’s not your fault. That’s how our brain works. But we can make a change if we put in the effort.
And sometimes, what we need to get started is to hear the same advice a certain number of times. So, here we go:
Tip #18: work on minimizing procrastination
Yep. Not very groundbreaking but revolutionary if you start acting on this tip. Procrastination is natural and happens to the best of us. However, anyone can reduce its effects if they try hard:
- Identify what causes you to procrastinate. It can be triggered by the subconsciousness that tells us something about the task we try to avoid. If you are bored or not interested in certain activities, you are more likely to procrastinate hard. Do some reflection to understand yourself better.
- Once you know what causes procrastination, see if you can delegate or ignore it altogether. If not, think of creative ways to motivate yourself. Like an early night if you finish that report before 3 pm. Or working with a Pomodoro timer to add a little bit of gamification to the process.
- Identify how you procrastinate. Do you turn to Instagram? TV series? Playing with your pet?
- Try and remove the procrastination tools from your working area to help yourself focus better on work.
These are just some of the tips that work for many people. You might have a completely different strategy, and that’s fine. The key thing here is to acknowledge that you are procrastinating, not sugarcoat it, and work on yourself.
Check out our guide on being productive at home for inspiration and more recommendations that will support you on the time saving journey.
Tip #19: practice self-discipline and deep focus
This next tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. The more disciplined you are and the better focused you stay, the less time it takes to finish the work. And that’s what we want, right? To spend less time working while accomplishing everything we need to do.
Working on mastering the deep focus and self-discipline resembles the work that we do with procrastination. But here are some more tips on doing it:
- Review your goals regularly. And if you haven’t specified them yet, do it now! When you have a clear goal in mind, you are much more motivated and eager to hustle. And when you’re down, looking at your desired outcome can change the energy completely.
- Minimize the distractions: mute your phone, turn off notifications in your browser, log out from messengers. Find a quiet space and remove the clutter from your working area.
- Be careful with background music or radio. Some people find that they focus better with white noise, but others can’t tune off and just keep on listening instead of thinking about their tasks.
- Create time blocks in your calendar for various projects and practice only working on them during that period. You can start with a half hour time block and gradually move to two hours and even longer. Remember to pace yourself. This era of 15-second TikToks is not helping anyone’s attention span.
With focused work, the same task that usually takes you 2 hours can be completed in 1 hour or even 40 minutes! The effects of self-discipline and deep focus are astonishing in terms of saving time and energy.
Tip #20: follow the 2-minute rule
It is a fundamental tool for time management and is irreplaceable for those seeking to use time efficiently.
The 2-minute rule means that if the task takes 2 minutes or less to complete, you need to do it right away. It is unbelievable how often we drag items on our to do list for months, adding so much pressure and guilt on ourselves. Often though, these tasks demand maybe a minute or 2 of our time.
So don’t add more pressure to your life. Just deal with that one task that you’ve been delaying for weeks! Trust us. You will instantly feel ten times better.
Tip #21: address issues immediately
If your tooth aches but you ignore it for a month, you will have to deal with much more pain (and potentially dental expenses) later. Same with all of your problems. We hate when things go wrong, but not dealing with something is never the answer.
Tip #22: get off social media during work hours and limit it during time off
Social media addiction is one of the top bad habits these days. Mindless scrolling, often on multiple devices, can be very detrimental. If you look at the smartphone screen time stats alone, the amount of wasted time will shock you.
So, if you want to save time and create a better work life balance, remove social media completely when you are working. And don’t fall for the trick our brain plays with us of promising yourself only to check Facebook for one minute. Unless you are a superhero (and we are not saying that you’re not), this self-promise never works.
Tip #23: find your peak productivity hours and adjust your schedule
If you find yourself most efficient early in the morning, scheduling most of your work during this period will likely make you more productive. As a result, you’ll do more in less time. And even if you don’t experience a huge time saving, you will walk out from your desk with more energy to do other things than if you were to force yourself to work when you are not feeling it.
For example, if you happen to be an early riser and can really focus during those early hours in a day, then it makes sense to do the most important task first thing in the morning.
Final Tip #24: track time for everything you do
Exercise time tracking for a short period (1-2 weeks or a month if you can) to see where your time is actually going. It’s the same with money – once you understand your spending, you are more diligent about your purchases. So, once you know what your day consists of, you can make informed decisions on what to do/not do next.
As you track time, you will inevitably spot distractions and time-wasters. Once you know your enemy, you can create an elimination strategy.
You will see how much time you actually dedicate to the most important tasks. It’s one thing to see how much time we waste, but it’s very different (and, frankly, often disappointing) to see how little time we leave for the high priority tasks.
To do time tracking, you can use multiple timesheets for each area of your life or go with Bordio instead. Bordio was created to facilitate effective time management. It has a built-in timer to track how long a task will take, and you can set time estimations for different tasks on the to do list. You will get complete statistics on the actual workload versus your estimates which will help you plan ahead.
Time management skills and time saving tips can turn your life around and help you become the best person you can be. However, they will not work unless you do. Remember, just reading about ways to manage your time is not enough. It’s you who needs to set goals, prioritize tasks, work with your online calendar, stay focused, and spend time effectively.
There are not enough hours in the day to do absolutely everything. So as you go on with your time management journey, learn to say no, focus on one task at a time, and delegate. That’s how you manage to get the most important and valuable things done.
As you start testing out the tips we shared, remember to take it slow and be kind to yourself. Once you feel like your new habits because an inherent part of your routine, start working with new things and test out additional time management tips to become even better with your time.
That’s it for today, guys! We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and found a few ideas that you can implement today! For more tips on time management, productivity, and a better approach to work, check out the rest of the blog and stay tuned for new posts!