Most of us feel like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. We feel like we need to sacrifice eating or sleeping to try and claw back precious time. But what if we told you there were some really simple ways to save time that you can implement in your life right away.
Maximise Your Commute
Depending on your commute time, you might have an hour or two of dead time just getting to work or school. You can maximise this time by spending it doing something you need to do. If you are catching public transport or carpooling, the number of activities you can complete increases. If you are driving yourself to work, then listening to a podcast might be the extent of the activities you can complete.
You should use this time to complete things like:
- Make appointments and complete life admin
- Business planning
- Listen to podcast
- Plan your holiday
- Deal with personal emails
- Plan out your week
- Online shopping
There are a number of tasks that can easily be completed and free up the rest of your time.
Leave Work On Time
Unless you are being paid for overtime and asked to stay back, you should not be at work later than you need to be. You get paid for a certain number of hours a week, and that is all that your job can claim from you. Once finishing time rolls around, you should be packing up for the day and leaving the office. If you leave work half an hour late every single day, then that adds up to 2.5 hours you are losing every week and 130 hours you are losing every year!!
Many people can feel the pressure to work late because they believe it makes them look dedicated. As long as you complete your work on time, your boss will have no reason to complain.
Take Exercise Classes Close to Work
One of the best ways to save time is to sign up for a gym close to your work. That way, you can head in slightly earlier, beating traffic and workout near your office. Alternatively, you go to the gym after work and then miss most of the end of day traffic. This will only work for some people depending on their exercise needs and work schedule, so see if this fits into your life.
Cut Down on TV Time
A lot of us are so exhausted after work that we slump mindlessly in front of the TV and switch off. But TV is made to be binge-worthy, so “just one episode” turns into 5 and then you have lost your whole evening. Set a limit on your TV time and find productive things to do on your weeknight instead. Do your housework to free up precious time on your weekend, or conduct life admin that you have been putting off. You might even decide to spend time with your family, do hobbies, or find other ways to unwind instead.
For some people, cooking after a long day of work is relaxing. For others, it is a nightmare, and we reach for microwave meals or order meals in. Even if you like cooking, meal prep is a great way to save time. Instead of cooking for 30 mins or an hour every night, you spend an hour or two one night cooking your meals for the week. Not only will it save you time, but it will also help you to be healthier and prevent you from reaching for expensive and unhealthy takeout.
Freeze them or refrigerate them to give yourself plenty to eat throughout the week. Some people only meal prep dinners; others make all meals and snacks in advance. We recommend keeping only the next 2 days’ worth of food in the fridge and freezing the rest to keep it fresh and ready to eat.
Batch Tasks Together
Batching tasks together cuts down on dead time when you switch tasks or decide what to do next. The more you batch, the more efficient your life will be. Meal prep is a great example of task batching, but some people batch tasks like cleaning or sorting out paperwork too.
By task batching, your brain gets into “cleaning mode” or “paperwork mode”, and you hit a rhythm much easier. It allows you to get it all over and done with rather than losing motivation because you did half an hour of cleaning every day this week.
Automate and Outsource
There are so many services around that make our lives easier for very little extra cost. If you are in a good financial position and really want to save yourself some time, look for things that you can automate or outsource. This could be something like getting your groceries delivered or hiring an accountant. It might also mean you hire a cleaner to come once a week instead of doing it yourself.
Another option is to share the load by organising a carpool in your neighbourhood to get your kids to school or taking turns to host regular gatherings.
Turn Off Email and Phone Notifications
Notifications plague our life and are affecting our productivity. When our phone buzzes, it distracts us from our task, and it takes our brain a little while to settle back into what we were doing. Turn your phone on do not disturb when you can and disable desktop email notifications to reclaim your productivity. You can still check your email every hour if you need to feel like you are reachable, but even an hour of uninterrupted work will make a big difference to your focus.
Split Responsibilities In Your Household
Most households will have a person who is responsible for the smooth running of the household, even in dual-income relationships. Chores should be split among the household in a fair manner. That may not mean an equal manner, but they should be split in a way that makes sense for your lifestyle. Children should be made responsible for one or two things around the house, not just their own rooms. It will teach them self-sufficiency for when they leave home and take a load off your plate. Whole house cleaning can be either outsourced if affordable or set to an evening where everyone pitches in and then pizza is ordered as a reward.
Plan In Advance
How much of the time it takes to do a task is spent planning the task or thinking about what you need to do? Think about grocery shopping. You need to plan out what you want to eat that week and what ingredients you need to buy to make those meals. You need to work out who will be home each day that week if you need to pick up certain snacks or lunches. If you forget ingredients or about an event that week, then you may need to visit the store a second time that week, taking up more of your precious time.
Put some time aside at the start of the week (or the end of the previous week) to plan out your week. Work out what is happening during the week, what tasks you need to complete, and what you need to remember. Plan out a rough schedule so that everything is accounted for. You don’t need to follow it to the letter, and you can swap and change things as needed, but it is all there. Weekly planners, calendars, and whiteboards are essential for these. Get everyone to sit down and tell you about their schedule so you can plan as a family. It will take you 15 minutes to do, but save you a lot of time during the week.