From your morning routine to running errands to getting dinner on the table, employ these time saving tips to complete everyday tasks in a fraction of the time and tick off that to-do list in no time!
None of us has the power to slow downtime, but we can make the most of the time we are given. How we manage our time has a significant impact on our lives.
In his play “Macbeth,” Shakespeare wrote, “Let every man be master of his time.” Being the master of our own time means we can achieve more at work and in our personal lives and allows us more free time to do the things we love.
We only have so many hours in a day, and we don’t know how many days we’re going to get. Good time management can help you in every area of life and ensures you make the most out of every moment. It’s often said that whether you fail or succeed at something often breaks down to time management, not skill. That’s interesting, right!?
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But how precious is our time, and why is time so important?
When Buddha was asked, “What is the biggest mistake we make in life?” he replied, “The biggest mistake is, we think we have time.”
Do we really know the reality of the life span of a person? I’m often banging on about how many hours the average woman is here on the planet. It is 726,000 hours, if you were wondering!
Let’s look at some averages to put them into perspective. An average person lives about 75-80 years. Here’s a list of how we spend it:
- 25 years of our life asleep. That’s a considerable number which accounts for almost one-third of our entire life.
- 10 years working
- 8 years of our life on social media and online
- 6 years doing chores
- 4 years eating and drinking
- 4 years in education
- 2 years grooming
- 2 years shopping
- 1-2 years travelling
- 1 year in childcare
That leaves us with only about 10 years to do what we love!
Every day 86,400 seconds are deposited into our life account. At the end of the day, once they’re all used up, we get another new 86,400 seconds to start a new day.
“Each day we only have 86,400 seconds”
Today, we keep ourselves and our families alive by selling our time.
As “Time” is the most frequently used noun in the English language, we know it’s a subject widely discussed and not far from our thoughts; who’s not time-poor these days? We are all rushing around and not using our time as effectively as we’d like.
Let us help you
I thought as so many of us struggle with this subject I’d gather the best time saving tips from you guys. I went out to my network of Small Business pals and asked them for their best time savings tips, some of which are featured below.
Others are ones I’ve researched or use myself to bring you 52 time-saving tips to help you save some time every single day. From the simplest of small daily habits to tackling a busy workday.
We’ve listed our best below to help you, buy some more time!
Let’s start with a few time saving tips from my small business pals…
“I like to use a scheduling calendar (I like Calendly) to schedule calls. It saves time emailing back and forth to set up meetings.” – Susannah Davda – shoeconsultant.com
“I do everything in 1-hour slots. Spend an hour on it, get up and get a glass of water or a cuppa, and then have a snack, another hour, then a walk and lunch. Sounds super simple; however, it keeps me focused and productive. If I give myself an hour to do something, I usually get it done or near to. If I give myself all day, it takes all day!” – Tammy Gee – sevencoloursofnutrition.co.uk
“Mine is bullet journaling my time carefully and getting rid of things off my task list that I don’t need to worry about now/ever.” – Cate Hamilton – facebook.com/TheLanguageRevolution
“Kids toothbrush downstairs as well as upstairs. Sending them upstairs for that 2 minute clean just before leaving for the school run is dangerous… too many distractions!” – Claudine Hopgood – southwoodliving.co.uk
“In my view, life is too short to make pastry from scratch. Just buy the damn stuff.” – Louise Creswick – louisecreswick.com
“If travelling or going to an important event, I will put my clothes out the night before and make lunch in advance if I need to. Saves last-minute rushing around, and you can start the day with ease.” – Louise Creswick – louisecreswick.com
“Set yourself ‘thinking time’ while you’re doing something else… I created my coaching programme in the shower and lots of content while doing housework! I have my phone nearby to capture phrases/ideas on voice notes or notes, so I don’t lose the thread.” – Emma O’Brien – @emmathemindsetcoach
“I use various software to systemize and simplify my workflow, e.g. Calendly to schedule appointments to avoid the back and forth trying to arrange suitable times & Studio Ninja to manage leads, jobs and create consistent and efficient client workflows. That way, I don’t have to recreate the wheel every time.” – Sally Dreams – sallydreams.com
“I have written templated emails for my most sent emails. I then only need to customize when sending out.” – Sally Dreams – sallydreams.com
“I meal-plan to avoid multiple trips to the supermarket (and wasted food), and I also batch cook where possible – my future, hangry self is ALWAYS grateful for this!” – Sally Dreams – sallydreams.com
“I buy my meat already diced and veg pre-chopped where possible. If I am chopping veg, I’ll chop more and freeze in portions when I next make the same dish.” – Sally Dreams – sallydreams.com
“Prepare for my next day at work the day before. Whether that be a to-do list, making lunch, packing a bag or laying out an outfit.” – Mieke Gadd – East Meets West Networking
“Learn to love my natural hair – saves blow-drying and straightening for special occasions.” – Mieke Gadd – East Meets West Networking
“Get your groceries delivered. 2 hours at the supermarket could be better spent and more economical as you only order what you need.” – Janine Edwards – janineedwards.co.uk
“Focus on what you’re good at. Stop trying to do everything. Instead, identify what your strengths are and leave the rest to other people. Start delegating and outsourcing. Definitely outsource the stuff you are shit at. You’ll only waste more time!” – Janine Edwards – janineedwards.co.uk
“Do everything right the first time if you can, so invest time now to save more time of reworking later.” – Janine Edwards – janineedwards.co.uk
“Get a sound CRM system; you will save oodles of time, keep looking over the same tasks/piles of paper and makes you more organized and in control.” – Janine Edwards – janineedwards.co.uk
“Get a sound speech recognition dictation system such as a BigHand. Saves lots of time writing or typing and means you can dictate notes or tasks whilst on the move, walking the dog, sorting the kid out, unpacking your groceries that have just been delivered!!” – Janine Edwards – janineedwards.co.uk
“You know that one job you’ve been putting off? Well, do it today. Putting off stuff creates stress and takes up so much energy, so get it done today and tick it off that list or get rid of it and move on.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“Create a food menu board for the family. Saves time and stress thinking about what you’re going to feed the family each day.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“Power-hours for working around the kids set them up with a game or something to do. Get your to-do list & go!” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“For household chores, I give myself time slots. For example: By 2 pm, I have to have completed XYZ.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“Put notes or valuable links on your phone for quick access. I keep videos that I share or send to clients, passwords, login details etc., for easy, fast access as I always have my phone with me.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“Get everything ready and set up for your week on a Sunday. When you wake up on Monday, you’re prepared for the week ahead. This is better than using Monday to get yourself ready and not start till Tuesday.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“Get up ten mins before anyone else in the house. Calm your mind. Have those moments just for you. Do whatever you need to do to start your day well. How you start your day impacts the rest of it.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“Plan when you’ll go onto social media and how long you are on it for. Limit the time. Otherwise, down the rabbit hole, you’ll go.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“Sometimes stopping everything you’re doing when you feel stuck is the best way to reignite your energy and become more productive. Take ten mins to just stop, do something fun. This break can often add an hour to your day and increase your productivity.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“When you find yourself saying I’ll do it later, stop and ask yourself, “Can I do it in 5 minutes” if the answer is yes, do it now. Don’t put it off. Otherwise, that list builds up. Doing jobs in little chunks of time saves you more time.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“Pull up to all appointments early. Gives you 5 minutes to scroll through your phone, catch up on messages or social media.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“Toilet breaks, take 1 more minute longer than you need & take your phone. Use that time to engage in groups, reply to people on your messenger and connect on social. This limits how long you are on social for and gets your engagement up!” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“When driving, I always do my calls (hands-free) to my team and friends on the or school run. I use time wisely to save time when I get home.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“Have a place for everything at home. So you don’t spend time searching for the same stuff! Wasting time screaming, ‘where is 😧😧😧?’ getting organized at home was a HUGE one for me.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“And it may sound silly but SLEEP!!!! If you don’t get enough sleep, you feel shit; when you feel shit, you are not productive, and you waste time. Get enough sleep.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
“The old school business style of working until you burn out and ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead is so 1990’s! If you nourish yourself, you’ll always get way more done. Feeling good raises your vibration, meaning you’ll attract great things.” – Samantha Issacs Pearce – facebook.com/SamanthaPearceGlobal
THANKS SO MUCH, GUYS, FOR THESE TIPS; SO FRICKIN AMAZING!
Here are my favorites…
THIRTY FIVE – The Food Box:
This one saved my marriage – haha! They are the best. You get sent a weekly box with your meals in; you choose the number of meals and the number of people you want to feed. They are delivered the same day each week with recipe cards and all the ingredients. All you need is cooking oil and sugar. These save time on shopping trips, but most importantly, you don’t have to think about what you will have each week. You get variety and things you wouldn’t ordinarily consider cooking. You can choose from vegetarian I options, healthy options, or richer food for weekend treats. I’ve tried them all, but my favs are Gousto, Hello Fresh and Mindful Chef.
THIRTY SIX – Attention Management:
In some ways, it’s more precious than time. If you run out of attention, it doesn’t matter how much time you have or haven’t gotten.
If you experience back to back meetings and get desk to your desk at 4pm, you might not have run out of time, but you will have run out of attention/energy. Complex and challenging meetings take a lot of your attention and focus, so you’ve got little left at the end of the day. It’s a massive drain on your resources.
For more information on Attention Management, see our blog to Master prioritizing tasks and time management using this simple technique.
We have 3 kinds of attention:
- Proactive attention (complex tasks)
- Active attention (ticking along efficiently)
- Inactive attention (lights are on, but no one home value is limited)
Think about what your day usually looks like? If you pick the right time of the day to do the right task, you’ll achieve so much more. Try mapping out your day. Identify the best times to give yourself the more complex tasks and the more manageable tasks, and you’ll feel a greater sense of satisfaction.
THIRTY SEVEN – Write Lists:
Get your to-do’s down on paper and out of your head. I manage my work with 4 types of lists which sounds complicated, but it’s so not!
Checklist of all projects I have got going on, not detailed, just an overview of where I am at with each one. They are listed by each client on a whiteboard in my studio.
Master Action List – General To-Do List
This sits in the to-do section of my planner. This is where I dump all the things I need to get done. You can have one list or break it down. I tend to keep one list and refer to it daily. At certain times of the year, I might need to break the list down to keep myself focused and keep overwhelm at bay.
Daily To-Do Lists
This sits opposite my diary page; anything that is specific to a particular day goes here.
Weekly To-Do List
I jot down things that I need to get done each week in the MY WEEK page’s top right-hand corner. These are the tasks that I need to focus on that week, but I can fit in and around other commitments throughout the week.
THIRTY EIGHT – Good Ideas Hub:
I jot random ideas for development in the Creative Juices section of my planner. If I am out and about, I will often jot ideas on my phone, then I’ll pop those on the relevant list when I get back to my desk.
These lists act as my ‘second brain’, a place to dump things, so you don’t forget anything and help you clear your mind.
THIRTY NINE – 5-Minute Checklist:
I take 5 mins at the end of the day to review the following day’s tasks, actions and appointments. You can then start the next day with clarity and hit the ground running. This helps with distractions. Doing the same thing on a Friday before you switch off your computer and leave work really helps you switch off for the weekend.
Kick start your day, 5 questions in 5 minutes if this suits you better.
- Calendar what’s in today / any deadlines?
- Good day of actions
- Resistance, which am I most likely not to do, do first so hardest thing first
- Attention management which requires proactive and inactive
- Dependency people, time etc.
FOURTY – Emails:
The worst thing you can do at the start of your working day is to go straight into your email. This means you’re prioritizing others tasks over yours. It can feel quite overwhelming too. You are effectively adding more things for you to do before you’ve had a chance to get anything you had planned done. This often turns into a day of fire fighting. You’ll get to the end of your day and realize you’ve completed nothing on your list.
Schedule email time so you can be productive if you can.
FOURTY ONE – Short Work Bursts:
Have you tried short bursts of attention, 25mins then 5 min break. Breaking the whole day into smaller chunks or more significant tasks into bite-size pieces can help with focus.
FOURTY TWO – The Power Hour:
If you are struggling to get the big tasks done or avoiding doing something, try a power hour. Commit to an hour you’ll find it’s not as scary as you thought. We all experience resistance; be mindful of it.
If you complete that task first thing, it will avoid you building more resistance to do it and makes you feel much better!
FOURTY THREE – Batch Working:
Batch up similar tasks and do them in one go. Batch your emails or calls, go outside get some air. This increases productivity.
FOURTY FOUR – Time To Say No:
Be choosy about what you say yes to, and don’t bite off more than you can chew (easier said than done, I know!) As it says in my planner – ‘The most difficult thing to do each day is to figure out what you’re not going to do!’
FOURTY FIVE – Distractions:
We need to be at the top of our game for proactive attention & if we are in our flow, this is our most precious resource. It should be nurtured, valued and protected. Stop dead distractions & interruptions if you can. I know we often like a distraction, especially when trying to do the more challenging of tasks!
FOURTY SIX – Available 24/7:
Don’t answer your phone unless it’s more important than what you are doing. Be conscious of when Skype and email are on. My advice, go dark if you need to, turn off your internet. Protect your attention.
FOURTY SEVEN – A Wakeful State:
Being in a groggy state when you wake up is not conducive to getting ready quickly and efficiently. There are two things you can do to wake up quickly. 1. Open the curtains to get sunlight into your room first thing in the morning, and 2. drink a glass of water shortly after you wake up to jump-start your metabolism.
FOURTY EIGHT – Morning Routine:
There are lots of ways to streamline your morning routine. For example, instead of applying a lip liner and several lipstick layers, just dab on some lip gloss. Also, use a spray lotion instead of a cream one – it goes on faster and remember dry shampoo is your best friend.
FOURTY NINE – Clock Out Time:
Just as in the mornings, there’s a set time by which you need to leave your house; to get to work on time, you need to establish a set time at which you’re going to stop working and go home. You’ll be more productive if you know that your time at work each day is limited.
FIFTY – Take A Break:
Taking breaks is a counter-intuitive way to save time. I know it seems a bit mad, but it really does work! Although you may think that by taking a break, you’re wasting time, you’re actually saving time since you’ll be recharging your batteries, reducing stress, and preventing exhaustion. You’ll come back with more energy and focus, I promise.
FIFTY ONE- The Dishwasher Cleans More Than Dishes:
If you’re only using your dishwasher to clean dishes, you are not using it to its full potential. Other things you can wash safely in a dishwasher, saving you valuable hand washing time.
- Rubber flip-flops
- Makeup brushes
- Rubber toys
- Fridge shelves
You can wash these items together, but I wouldn’t recommend combining them with dishes. Simply rinse the items off and run them through the normal cycle to clean quickly and efficiently at your own risk of course!
FIFTY TWO – Colour Block your Wardrobe:
When getting dressed, people typically look for specific styles or colours to complete a look. Try organizing your wardrobe and drawers by style, as well as colour. This allows you to get out the door faster and in a good mood! I have all my t-shirts together, running stuff together, vests and so on. These are in sections in a cupboard so I can find things quickly. I also hang all my jumper together, trousers, dresses etc. in my wardrobe, it works a treat!
I hope those time saving tips have given you some ideas and food for thought. Perhaps one of the most important quotes I heard recently was:
“Focus on being productive, not busy”
I love this quote. It really focuses my mind. It’s so easy to be busy but are we being productive. Are we spending our time wisely and effectively?
To be more productive rather than busy during your workday, try these 3 time saving tips:
1. Find your focus. With so many notifications and alarms going off, workdays are filled with distractions that can derail our productivity. Commit to whatever it takes to stay on task. “If you have to throw your phone across the room or put on headphones to tune out distractions, so be it.
2. Don’t work blindly. When you set about doing a task, do so with a specific intention. Don’t just sit down to answer emails — five hours can pass so quickly—instead, approach emails or other similar tasks with an action plan considering a desired outcome or timeframe.
3. Align your to-do list with your calendar. By blocking out time on your calendar to tackle to-dos, you won’t be derailed by meetings and lingering action items.