Five Quick and Easy Ways to Save Hours a Day
Over the years I have given many presentations regarding personal and organizational development. At these presentations I always provide attendees with simple, proven strategies that can literally transform their lives in every way, shape and form. I provide the same general content to my coaching clients.
No matter where I go or whom I speak with almost everyone claims to have the same problem; A general lack of time.
Feeling rushed seems to be a common illness that many our modern world seem to suffer from. Sadly I see people each and every day who wear their busyness like a badge of honor. They rush madly from place to place and task to task; rarely ever taking the time to slow down and enjoy the precious moments in their lives.
Stress caused by a perceived lack of time is a major reason why people don’t eat right, sleep enough, exercise regularly, read books, build a business or spend time with family and friends.
Just pause for a moment and think of all of the great and awesome things you would do if only you had more time; You could get in better shape, write a book, make travel plans, clean your basement, visit your parents, learn a musical instrument or just enjoy more quality time with your significant other.
Luckily I have a bit of experience with such things. Over the years I have become pretty effective in how I use my own time and have had the opportunity to teach many others how to make better use of their time. Below are some simple solutions that, if used, can save you literally hours per day. My goal is to help you waste less time and become more productive with the time you have both at home and at work.
Below are some of my favorite time management tips.
1.) Accept responsibility for your time.
Time is a limited resource, we simply cannot add more time to our days, but we can decide how to spend it. When you say that you don’t have time to look after your health what you are really saying is that your health isn’t your main priority. But, even if your health isn’t your main priority right now, rest assured that one day it will be. As the old saying goes; “Those who do not find time for health will be forced to find time for illness.”
You and your alone choose how you spend your time. Accepting responsibility for this fact is an important first step to gaining more control over your time. Even if you work for a large corporation and your boss and the folks around you seem intent to wasting as much of your time as humanly possible (believe me I understand) you can still take action and have some control.
Trust me, none of the things I suggest in this post will get you fired, although some in my upcoming posts might come close.
2.) Turn off all email, social media and instant message notifications.
Studies have shown that eliminating the distraction of notifications will save at least an hour per day. In fact THIS article written by Caitlen Dewey and published by the Washington Post claims that we may be spending up to 20.5 hours per week on email. Regardless of exactly how much time we actually spend on email on thing is sure; each time you stop what you are doing to check email, instant messages or social media you are wasting time and energy. Merely turning off your notifications will save you both.
Please stop reading and do it now – you will be glad you did!!
3.) Plan your day.
On an average day the act of taking 10 minutes to plan your day will save you at least 55 minutes.
The other great thing about planning your day is that it will help you identify your most important tasks which can have a huge positive impact on your day and your life.
4.) Scale back television.
The average North American watches TV for 5 hours a day – need I say more? In fact THIS article published by the New Your Times places the figure at 5 hours and 4 minutes per day.
Interestingly enough I have shared this information with thousands of people and have yet to hear from a single person who admits to watching so much TV.
I would suggest that a great exercise would be to actually track the time you spend in front of your television and seek to reduce it to whatever number you feel is appropriate.
5.) Use a timer while you work.
Another way to save tons of time is to simply become more productive while we are actually working.
Several years ago I started using a timer when I worked and found my productivity soared. Using a timer has helped me work harder and smarter and as a result I get through my work more quickly and as a result I have much more free time than most people I know.
In other words I learned to do more work in less time and spend less time screwing around instead of working.
As a side note, it is my personal goal to get through all the stuff I have to do as quickly as possible and spend as much time as possible doing the things I like to do. But to be clear my version of fun is climbing mountains, spending time in the wilderness and writing.
Using a timer while working is based on a time-saving strategy is called the Pomodoro Technique which you can read about here. Using it will help your productivity soar.
This very simple strategy involves the following steps;
- Set a timer for a specified period of time. The Pomodoro technique suggests 25 minutes, I set my timer for one hour.
- Work for the whole time. Don’t allow interruptions of any kind – don’t speak to people, answer emails or phone calls. No bathroom breaks or trips to the kitchen. Just focus on the task at hand.
- Once you have completed a cycle or a task take a short break of 10 to 15 minutes and do it all over again.
If you use this technique you will most certainly increase your productivity but you may find that working for a full hour or even twenty-five minutes is much harder than you might think.
The good news is that, with practice you will get better at it, and as a quick tip if you can’t work steadily for 25 minutes try working for just 15 minutes
As a recap I promised to save you seven hours per day so to break it down;
Step 1 – turn off all email and social media notifications – saving of one hour,
Step 2 – eliminate television – saving 5 hours,
Step 3 – plan your day – save 55 minutes (which I rounded up to one hour) – one hour
Step 4 – use the Pomodoro technique – exponentially increase your productivity and personal effectiveness – minimum saving of on hour per day.
Results – Eight hours of time saved each and every day. (I like to over deliver on promises)
What do you think about my;
Five Quick and Easy Ways to Save Hours a Day?
Would some of these time-saving techniques work for you or would you recommend different ones?
Please feel free to leave a comment or to sign up to get the Far Side of Fifty delivered to your inbox. (But please leave your notification off, that way you won’t get distracted)
Have an awesome day.
Written by Joe Grainger; author, speaker, life coach and frequent mountain climber.