30 Easy Ways to Save Time
Do you have a lot to do and little time to do it? Here are some helpful hints about how to be productive and efficient in everything that you do.
MAKE A LIST – Last thing at night or first thing in morning. Making a list helps you organize priorities and keeps you on track throughout the day.
FILE, RESPOND TO, OR TRASH EMAIL AS YOU OPEN IT. Do not allow yourself to accumulate miles of files of emails- place them in sub-directories, answer them, or delete. Don’t let them accumulate. Same for snail mail.
ELIMINATE NEEDLESS INTERRUPTIONS. Close your door (post a sign saying, “In conference” if you have to). Let your voice mail or answering machine record your messages, then return calls all at once.
UTILIZE THE “SLINGSHOT PRINCIPLE” by taking a vacation! There are times when you need to pull back in order to really fly. Burning yourself out is not an effective usage of your time. Some of the greatest ideas and solutions occur to you when you are relaxed and refreshed.
FINISH ONE TASK BEFORE GETTING INVOLVED IN ANOTHER… or at least stop at a natural stopping point. Try to bring closure to tasks or “chunk down” large tasks into smaller components so you work on it a little at a time but are always making progress.
CONSOLIDATE ERRANDS: Make one shopping trip to go to the dry cleaner, drug store, barber and grocery store… instead of four trips. Organize your route to avoid backtracking. Keep an ongoing list of supplies that you need to eliminate repeat trips for forgotten items.
CLUMP SIMILAR TASKS TOGETHER AND DO THEM ALL AT ONCE. It is far more time efficient to make phone calls all at once, then work on all correspondence, then open all mail…. than it is to intermingle these tasks.
ORGANIZE LIVING AND WORK SPACES. Disorganized space is not just inefficient, it is psychologically exhausting. Pick one area to organize every day for a month. Start with the area that bothers you the most, or if disorganization doesn’t seem to bother you at all, start where you spend the most time. If the very idea of organizing overwhelms you, hire a professional to do it for you.
LISTEN TO TEACHING TAPES AND MP3S WHEN IN TRANSIT. Instead of being stressed out by the trip, you can engage your brain. Learn another language, listen to scripture or a sermon, or review class notes.
UTILIZE WAITING TIME. Always keep a book that you have wanted to read with you so that you can make good use of the time you spend waiting for appointments.
SCHEDULE YOUR RECREATION TIME (You can schedule “nothing time” too). Those who work harder on the job than they do on themselves tend to burn out. Remember what you are working for – schedule time with your roommates and friends. Pencil in some time for yourself while you’re at it.
PROCRASTINATE after you finish doing what you want done.
READ JUST THE FIRST SENTENCE OF NEWSPAPER PARAGRAPHS. This is a common practice of many busy people. The relevant news is usually summed up in the first sentence of each paragraph.
LEARN TO NAVIGATE YOUR CITY BETTER. Finding a new and better route to places you go routinely can save you hours every year.
INVEST IN THE PROPER TOOLS NEEDED TO GET YOUR PROJECTS DONE MORE EFFECTIVELY. In the long run, it is far more costly to make do with outdated tools and ineffective equipment than to buy what you need to get the job done.
MINIMIZE “SCHMOOZING”. Don’t let friends and classmates waste your time. Schmooze at lunch or during breaks. Tackle your work the rest of the time.
START A GREETING CARD FILE. Buy a few dozen birthday, anniversary, get well, thank you and congratulations cards and file them according to occasion. This will save you dozens of trips during the year and assure you of always having card on hand for emergencies.
SHOP FOR GIFTS YEAR ROUND AND START A GIFT CLOSET. Whenever you see a nice gift item on sale, pick up a few of them and you will always have an appropriate gift on hand.
TAKE A SPEED READING CLASS, and learn to type faster. You can do both on a personal computer. Investing this time now will save you infinitely more time later.
UTILIZE DELIVERY AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. Ask yourself, “Will doing this cost me more in time than it would in money if someone else did it for me?” If so, pay to have someone else do it and utilize your time more effectively.
IF YOU HAVE A PET, GET A LOW MAINTENANCE PET. Cats are less work than dogs; small birds are less work than cats; fish are less work than birds.
DON’T LET CLUTTER ACCUMULATE. Clean as you go.
AVOID PEOPLE WHO DRAIN YOU. It’s good to invest time in people, but there are certain individuals who practically suck the life right out of you. They exhaust you. Identify those individuals in your life and limit your exposure to them.
EXERCISE FOR ENERGY. Improve your health and you improve your life, extend your life, and accomplish more with less fatigue. Make time for exercise.
EAT FOR ENERGY. Eat a variety of wholesome, nutritious foods and resist the temptation to overeat.
STUDY THE HABITS OF PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just do what the wheel-maker does. Observe and imitate the time management experts around you.
DEVELOP YOUR FILM BY MAIL. You’ll save time and money.
LEARN TO SAY “NO”. You are not superhuman. There is a limit to your energy and ability to accomplish an endless list of tasks. Say “no” to low priority items. Repeat after me: “It seems like an exciting project and I would love to do it, but I have already committed to another project that is consuming all my free time. Thanks for thinking of me though.”
CLUMP ANNUAL CHECKUPS, DENTIST, AND RENEWALS TOGETHER IN YOUR BIRTHDAY MONTH. You’ll never forget annual items if you do them in your birthday month.