Time. The finite resource we often take for granted. It slows when we pay attention to it, and vanishes when we don’t – it’s ironic in that way. Regardless, time is not something we can afford to ignore. It’s the one thing we can’t get back. Most of us go around trying to squeeze every last-minute out of our day. A lot of us lose sleep because of it – leading to multiple forms of stress.
Is it lack of time though? Or just the inability to manage it that stresses us. I’ll be the first to admit, in the chaos of it all I’m left wondering where the day went come sunset. I become so preoccupied with the tasks surrounding me that I forget to appreciate the time given me. Somedays we feel unaccomplished. Like nibbling off portions of huge tasks without ever having enough time to complete them.
These 10 strategies to save time every day will assist you in managing your time, instead of letting time manage you.Managing your time, instead of letting time manage you. Click To Tweet
Before You Start
One of the easiest most effective time saver strategies actually begin the day prior. Picking-out clothe, preparing your lunch, or simply making sure the keys and wallet are where they’re supposed to be. Doing these things allows you to save yourself the extra time required to do all that in the morning. Organizing yourself the day before gives you a jump-start to your day. Like picking stuff off a conveyor belt when you wake up.
Starting your day early may not sound very appealing, but trust me it has big returns. In addition, working on your hardest task of the day soon after you wake will help your day run smoother – this is assuming you got a good night’s rest. Your mind is much fresher in the morning, and so tasks that may have taken you a few hours at the end of the day, might only take you minutes to hours earlier in the day; due to our mind being well rested.
Review Your Day
It’s important to look ahead and know what to expect throughout your day. Anything that has the chance of taking you by surprise has the likely hood of making you lose precious time. Whether it entails rearranging your day, planning for something unexpected, or requires extra time for decision-making and planning. Encountering anything in the middle of the day that wasn’t expected can throw you off, and thus requiring you to spend more time attempting to fix the unexpected occurrence.
It might also be beneficial to not only review your day, but also your whole week or even month on occasion. Circumstances are ever-changing, what may have worked yesterday might not be the wisest or most efficient course of action next week. Maybe you had planned to take your shirts to the cleaners today, you don’t need to do it today, but it’s what you had planned. Next week, you’ll be on the same side of town running errands. Why not put off taking your shirts to the cleaners till the week you’ll be running the errands on that side of town? Saving time and gas money. This is just one simple example of how taking a few minutes at the beginning of your day to organize or reorganize your calendar – looking at the whole picture – can save you time.
There have been many studies on practice of visualization and how it can help us on our day-to-day. Begin your day after visualizing it, this will help solidify the most time efficient way to go about your day. After looking over your day’s events and tasks, find a quiet place and spend a few minutes going through visualizing it in your mind. Visualize the details, your reaction, how you feel, your performance at work, what you’ll do after work, and so on. This helps you visually map out your day, and what you visualize is more likely to be followed by action. This is why some of the best professional athletes have the habit of spending time visualizing the game before playing. This strategy will certainly help you stop tinkering around and get straight to business when your day starts.
This is a big one. With smart phones, the internet, and many conveniences at our finger tips we have become a society that prides itself on “multitasking.” However, what we do not realize is that multitasking is not as beneficial as we realize. Much research has been done on this topic, and time again results show that multitasking leads to underperformance, longer times completing a task, and an actual decrease in our attention span. If you think about it, it makes sense. Starting one task then simultaneously beginning to perform another knocks our focus off. Any momentum or “zone” we created while performing the first task vanishes when starting to perform another task at the same time. Trying to regain that momentum takes more time, and more often than not multitasking results in sub par work.
Mono-tasking is the way to go. It allows you to put your full effort into one thing, allowing you to perform better and finish faster than if you were trying to juggle 3 different tasks. Now I realize this may not be ideal for everyone; new mothers often don’t have a choice. Newborns, or toddlers don’t really play by the rules a lot of the time. For those of us that can however, developing the habit of mono-tasking is an investment well made.
How many times have you while performing one task thought about something else you need to do? Quite frankly it happens to me more times than I’d like to admit. What helps? To-Do-Lists, and here is why. Thinking of something else to do while in the middle of a task can be rather distracting. However, if just then I take note of it – on my To-Do-List – I can then continue focusing on the task at hand without being fearful of forgetting the other errand. Like we mentioned earlier, focusing on more than one thing at a time leads to underperformance – making you lose time. If you don’t do something right, you might end up having to redo it. The To-Do-List’s hold everything you need to do, and allows you to organize accordingly.
Make room in your calendar for your To-Do-List’s tasks. Place them in, considering priority, and do not try to place all of them in one day. I would probably recommend no more than three To-Do tasks per day. Otherwise you risk feeling overwhelmed and not doing any of them. It’s important to be realistic.
Procrastination, one of the biggest time wasters of all. The longer we spend thinking and rethinking, putting off what we need to do, the more time we waste. Research tells us we are more likely to meet goals if we take the time to write them down. Good goals need to be realistic, specific, and measurable. So instead of just telling yourself you need to do something, take a sheet of paper and write your goal down. Make it realistic, specific, and measurable. Example: “I will write a 600-word paper on the civil war by June 16, 2017.”
Always, always, always mark your calendar. Marking your calendar with events and tasks that need to be done puts you at a great advantage. The reason being, if you don’t know what to expect, how can you possibly plan for it. If you do not plan for it, you will most assuredly waste time when you get caught off guard when suddenly made aware of the that one thing you were supposed to be doing. It’ll throw your day off, and your focus or momentum will suffer. Having an up-to-date calendar guards you against this.
Marking your calendar also guards you against overcommitment. Overcommitting can in many ways lead to multitasking. Which as we have discussed, leads to poor performance and an inefficient use of your time.Overcommitting can in many ways lead to multitasking Click To Tweet
Email and Social Media
Checking emails, or social media for that matter, has the very real potential of devouring several hours of your day. Receiving account notifications every couple of minutes is distracting, and prevents you from completely focusing on the task at hand. For this reason, setting up specific times solely for checking emails and social media accounts is a great idea. This way you have designated times to focus on this task, and not spend every single minute checking your accounts – allowing you to finish quicker and perform better. In fact, turning off your notifications would be an even greater idea. Choose two times of day to review your emails and social media accounts – say, 12pm and 6pm – for no more than one or two hours.Checking emails, or social media...has the potential of devouring several hours of your day Click To Tweet
Another simple way to save time is to automate all your accounts. By accounts I mean credit cards, loans, transfers, payments, subscriptions, and any other transactions that allows you the option to automate. Most services allow you the option of automation, some even offer discounts if you set it up. What this does is free you from having to sit down in front of a computer month-after-month going from account-to-account paying or transferring money. Now don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t mean you stop paying attention to where and how your money is moving. On the contrary, you should always keep an eye on your money. There are many apps that make this easy. Automation simply allows you to step away from directly engaging in the process. Instead, you can passively supervise the process and intervene when necessary.Automation simply allows you to...passively supervise the process and intervene when necessary. Click To Tweet