Time Saving Tips
Sometimes it seems that 24 hours in a day are never enough to check off everything on your to-do list. You try to fit more tasks into fewer hours by multitasking just to catch up, or to finish on time, or to give yourself at least an hour to rest and relax. You sometimes even take hours away from your sleep to make up for yesterday’s lost time or because you’re scrambling to meet a deadline. But no matter whatever or how many adjustments you make here and there, time just always seems to work against you. Time should not control how you should spend the hours of your day. You do not realize that you can take time into your own hands and determine how to make it work best for you instead. Here are some ways how.
Minimize your laundry chores.
- Pre-sort your laundry as soon as they get dirty. Have separate baskets for your whites, coloreds, woolens, and delicates.
- After washing, hang your clothes or put them away on a drying rack right away. This will save you a lot of time during ironing; some items naturally dry without creases when they’re hung to dry.
Pre-soak your dishes first.
- While using kitchen utensils during food preparation, have a tub of hot water nearby to slip them into. Pre-soaking means that washing your utensils will require less time because most of the gunk have already softened and will easily come off.
- Don’t leave your dishes unwashed overnight. You may be tempted to put off this chore until the next day, but this will only mean adding to next day’s tasks. This habit can also permanently stain your washing bowl, which means you’ll have to go out to buy a new one and waste precious time.
Work from home.
Depending on whether or not you wisely use the freed time from traveling to and from work, this practice may either work for you or against you. The time you save not traveling to and from work should be put to use doing work-related stuff with the goal of being more productive work-wise. However, you may be tempted to use this time instead to do some housework, browsing the web, or washing your car. This will then make you feel guilty and to catch up, you will end up going to bed at a later hour, which, in turn, will make you wake up later the next day. Thus begins a cycle of catching up and making up for lost time.
Opt for a laptop.
- Carrying a laptop while traveling on a bus or a train means you can use your traveling time to get some small jobs done. These include sending out emails, typing up a memo, working on a presentation, or writing up a to-do list.
- If you go to school, typing your notes and thoughts can also simplify things especially when you’re working on an essay or a report.
- Sending emails nowadays is a faster and easier option as a means of communication, instead of the slower and more tedious snail mail or telephone.
Mass produce your meals.
After coming home from work, you sometimes feel too tired to prepare yourself a decent meal. Whether you love to cook or not, doing at least a week’s worth of meal preparation in a single day not only means hours saved from daily kitchen work, which can be used instead for other tasks when your work week starts, but will also ensure that you always eat properly and on time. Here are some tips:
- Create at least four dishes, like creamy pasta and tuna, chili, broth, and a chicken meal. Add potatoes and a mix of vegetables to make a complete meal and store these individually in reusable containers and freeze. After a long day at work, you can easily pop one of your meals for half an hour in the oven.
- You can portion out one roast chicken to be included in ten meals.
- You can also pre-cook meals for your Sunday lunches and full breakfasts.
Buy in bulk.
- Buying in bulk saves money because larger and multi-packs come cheaper than when bought as individual items.
- Buying everything you need in one go also saves you plenty of time when you reduce the number of times that you have to go to the grocery store. Getting a month’s supply of soap and laundry detergent, for example, means that you won’t have to go back and forth after every few days to re-stock.
- Try shopping online. This saves traveling time, buying time, and queuing time in a store. This will only be effective, though, if you are familiar with your grocery list and the layout of your online store.
Stock up on necessities.
This tip works hand in hand with the last one. Here are some items you can stock up on:
- Canned food.
- Dry goods and chemicals.
- Frozen foods.
- Perishables can last longer by being frozen too.
- Slice bread and portion out into 2-4 slices and store in sandwich bags before freezing. Defrosting is quick and easy with a toaster.
- Milk can also be placed in a chest freezer if you have one. When you need it, make sure to transfer it to your fridge to defrost a day before.
- Vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, pies, pastry, and cakes can be put in frozen storage too.
Organize your files.
- Organize and store all your paperwork in a single, accessible place. This includes anything from bills, receipts, manuals, brochures, business cards, and scraps of papers with phone numbers on them.
- Index your files to save you valuable time when you need to find, for example, a bill that’s due to be paid or simply to refer back to.
- Each time a bill comes in, pay it, and put it into the correct file.
- It can be a breeze to keep track of your bank statements by placing them together and keeping them in chronological order as they arrive.
- Have a list of all your phone numbers on a single sheet of paper as a backup in case your home phone gets broken, your mobile phone goes missing, or you lose your address book. Keep a separate list of your emergency numbers too.
You will realize that it will be easier to find things when your home is organized. It can also mean the difference between life and death in case of emergencies when you know exactly where your torch is, or your extinguisher, or your house and car keys.
Do your banking at home.
You can save your time normally spent queuing up and waiting at the bank by doing your banking online from the comfort of your home. You can use the internet to transfer money, pay the bills, and make other banking transactions. Your computer can also be used to manage all your money-related tasks like budgeting and receiving bills through email. Online banking is especially useful if you have several accounts with one bank. Keeping track of and managing your finances becomes a breeze.
- Arrange the tasks on your to-do list in a way that several tasks can be done at the same time. You can print pages from your computer, burn discs, or back up files while you’re also typing and completing a project on your pc or even while you’re eating.
- Always have your email accessible to you. You can do this by creating a shortcut tab to your mailbox in your browser window.
- When it comes to seeing your friends and relatives, instead of seeing them individually, you can invite them over all at the same time to visit you for a simple gathering or during a special occasion, like your birthday.
Divide and conquer.
Another way to multitask is to delegate some of your smaller or less important tasks to somebody else while you’re completing a different project. You can have some of your family members to help you out with simple household chores. Other tasks you can assign to other people may include picking up the kids from school, picking up your groceries, or getting you a cup of coffee. But you should also be careful delegating tasks that you have to make sure are done a particular way or completed within a particular time frame.
Break down your tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Some tasks may seem daunting but you can make it easier on yourself if you split them into smaller pieces. If you need to make a delivery of an item, for example, you can split this task down into: phone calls, paper work, mail deliveries, confirmation, and feedback. Moving through a list of smaller tasks one step at a time is more manageable than tackling a huge one in one leap and with no system or organization to speak of.
Do it right.
It is important that when you set out to do something, you get it right the first time. Sometime we are allowed second chances, but even then, going back and doing it again is just a waste of time. If you work through smaller goals, aiming for the finish line, you have a greater chance of getting things right the first time when you finally get there. Do not compromise the quality of your work by rushing to finish a project. It may end up backfiring on you when the end product is not good enough and you have to repeat the process. After breaking down your list of tasks, it is important that you aim to do them in an orderly manner, the right way with little or no mistakes, and to finish them on time.
Always have a To-Do List.
Unless you have a photographic memory, to-do lists are important to keep track of all the tasks you have to finish on a particular day. Here’s a list of the advantages of to-do lists.
- You can arrange your tasks according to priority and convenience. Smaller items you didn’t think of to write down in the first place will be easy to pencil in.
- It will be easier to remind yourself to telephone ahead for something if your reminder is written down.
- Trivial things like calling back a friend or taking out the trash could turn significant when they are forgotten and you have to wait another day or another week to catch up or to accomplish it.
- Writing things down improves your memory. Over time, you will realize that you have become better at remembering the things on your to-do lists. But you shouldn’t take this to mean that you don’t need those lists anymore.
- Keep your lists plain and simple. Have one list for one day on one piece of paper. Or write them down on a white board. Looking through piles of paper or post-its will just waste your time and make defeat the purpose of having a to-do list.
- At the start of each month, take note of all the upcoming birthdays, special occasions, and other events. This way, you will have plenty of time to organize gifts or tasks that need to be done beforehand.
- Have a calendar that shows each month or all of the months on a single page so you can better be reminded of what events you need to prepare for.
Remember this: If it’s worth remembering, write it down.
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
Procrastinating is a bad habit that may be tough to quit once started. It may be tempting to stay in bed for a few more minutes, after all, the first step is always the hardest one to take. But once you push yourself up off the bed, the rest isn’t so hard. Instead, you can get up a few minutes earlier than usual. Going to work will take less time because of lighter traffic. And you start your workday with a clearer, unstressed head. Don’t make a habit out of putting things off until a later time. You may end up forgetting it all together. The best way to save time is to start a task right away and not stop until it’s done.
To sum it up:
- Always start doing things early to save time. Starting late would mean you would have to rush later on in the day, and rushing more often than not wastes more time because mistakes are more likely to happen.
- With a clear goal in mind, make a list breaking down into smaller, easier steps the tasks you need to complete in order to reach that goal.
- Always tackle the harder tasks first, preferably, first thing in the morning. You have more energy and a clearer head during the earlier part of the day to enable you to undertake the tougher jobs. When you’re done, you’ll have the rest of the day to tie up loose ends and focus on the smaller tasks.
- Avoid procrastinating. This not only invariably costs you precious time and affects your productivity, but it may even cost you your job.
- When you have the choice to do something sooner or later, sooner is always the wiser choice. The sooner you get it done and over with, the sooner you get to unwind.