10 Clever Ways to Save Time (so you do more of what you love)
Having the time to do the things we love is vital to our mental health. After all, what meaning does life have when we’re constantly on the go, chasing our tails in the rat race of life? Having the time to do what you love will require you to take control of your time and take your power back.
If you would like to become more productive and save time so that you can spend more time doing what you love – even if that’s hanging out on the couch with your pooch and catching up on your favorite series – read on.
Have you been getting through the week only to feel like TGIF has lost all of its TG? Are you constantly catching up with work that you know full well you could have completed during the week? Are you feeling less than productive during your workweek only to end up with virtually no time for yourself, your loved ones, or your hobbies?
Well, the best way to curtail this is to actively plan your upcoming week on a Friday afternoon. Pencil in all of your important tasks for the week first. If you have any free time for additional meetings, tasks, or activities, add them to your schedule. If you don’t have time for an extra Zoom meeting, say so. If you don’t have the space to take on the extra workload, speak up. There is no point in burning yourself out and spreading yourself so thin that all your work suffers – as do you – in the process.
Silence of the Lambs Devices
If you can, turn off all push notifications on your phone except for your work email and your messenger apps during working hours. When you get home, leave a one-hour window open for emergencies – especially if you’re your own boss or have a team that reports to you – then put your phone on silent. Night time is your time to relax and unwind so that you have energy for the day that is to come. If you can turn off all notifications altogether, even better! Schedule time to check your work messages, team boards, and emails and stick to addressing those communiques at that time.
Whether you predominantly have in-person meetings or virtual meetings, try to schedule them all in for one day of the week. Sure, a Zoom is pretty easy to dive into in theory, but it still takes a considerable amount of time to prep. Plus, people tend to go over their allotted time with you when you’re meeting them virtually. The whole process of prepping for, hosting, and touching base after a Zoom eats into valuable work time. If the subject matter could be an email, set your boundaries. Zoom fatigue is real! When it comes to in-person meetings, traveling to and from the meeting also eats into precious work time. If you have all of your meetings on the same day and in one location, you’ll be saving yourself at least two hours per meeting per day. Stack your meetings on one specific day of the week and thank us later.
Make Fridays Sacred Again
Avoid taking on tasks that require a heightened level of productivity on a Friday. If you can avoid meetings and rigorous tasks on a Friday, jump at the opportunity. This day should ideally be spent prepping for the week ahead and winding down the current week’s work, not taking on more mental burdens that will weigh you down over the weekend.
Create Work-Time Blocks
Have specific blocks for specific projects. Being able to fall into a routine at work will make you more productive because the predictability of your week will have you working in your stride as opposed to swimming against the current. Have specific days and specific times of day for certain tasks – just as you will have done with your weekly meetings. Be honest with yourself about what time of day you’re most productive and pencil in your most mentally straining tasks during that time slot.
Kill Two Birds with One Stone
Pairing tasks together to save time is an incredible way to reclaim your power over your workweek. For instance, if you’re meeting someone for a meeting and need to pick up dinner, why not pencil your meetings in at a location nearest to your preferred eatery – or even in it! That way you can order your meal just before your last meeting, wrap up that last meeting, grab your food and go! If you have a bunch of sales videos to go through, why not do so via your phone while you hit the treadmill? I think you see where we’re going with this. If you can be proactive about how your day is planned out, you can check off two or more items from your daily checklist in one go.
You need to have a set of clearly defined boundaries to make sure that you are being firm with yourself as well as others. If you are committed to not answering calls for the first two hours of your morning, stick to it. If someone asks why you didn’t take their call, when you eventually call back, don’t just say you were “busy”. While you don’t owe anyone an explanation for how you choose to live your life, it could save your clients, colleagues, friends, and family a lot of unnecessary frustration if they knew you were committed to being off the grid for a certain amount of time during your day. They might not understand it and might seem confused by the concept at first, but they’ll get the hang of it.
Schedule Time For Check-Ins
Whether it’s emails, texts, or calls, consciously carve out time in your day to attend to them. You can’t be so consumed by responding to people that you don’t actually have the time to get your work done. This goes the same for potential clients. You would rather get back to them all at the end of the day with a finished project than spend all day explaining to them how far you are, only to fall behind because you spent all day communicating with them all! If you must have an early morning check-in time and a late afternoon check-in time. Save the time in between to focus on your work.
We live in an amazing time where you can order practically anything online – from food and your groceries to prescription medication and gifts for a loved one. Trips to the store can be such time wasters. You’ve got to find parking, pick out what you’re there to get, and then stand in a checkout line before hauling what you’ve bought into your trunk. It’s just not worth the effort. If you have a reliable delivery service for one or more of the above in your area, use it! A few extra bucks spent to save you time means you have more time to make more of it and more time to yourself.
Review Your Week
Reviewing your current week is just as important as planning the week ahead. By Friday, not only should you be planning the upcoming week, but you should also be reviewing the week that you’ve just completed to find areas for potential productivity overhauls. You might just find that there are only a few minor adjustments that need to be made in order to really maximize your time.
Having more time to yourself to focus on the things that you love doesn’t happen by accident. You need to be aware of how you spend your time and become more productive during your workweek. If you’re constantly catching up on work or feeling like you’re missing the mark during the week, you won’t feel well-rested or well-adjusted during the weekend or any of your time off for that matter. Ultimately, you’ll be anxiously anticipating the batch of work that you need to get to instead of feeling like you have control over your life and your schedule.