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30 Time-Saving Hacks, Strategies, and Techniques

save timeOne of the most common excuses that people give for not working toward the achievement of their life goals is that they don’t have the time. However, lack of time is just that: an excuse.

In this post you’ll discover 30 time-saving hacks, strategies, and techniques that will allow you to make the time to work on your life goals. The time-saving hacks, strategies, and techniques are divided into the following three sections:

  • Ten Ways to Save Time in the Morning
  • Ten Ways to Save Time at Work
  • Ten Ways to Save Time at Home

Let’s get started with how to save time in the morning.

Ten Ways to Save Time in the Morning

1. Start Getting Ready the Night Before. The night before, write your to-do list. In addition, pack your bag with your wallet, laptop, cell phone, and anything else you’ll need, and set it by the door. Make sure that your keys and anything else that you need to take with you the next day are also by the door. Lastly, pick out the outfit you’ll be wearing.

2. Go to sleep on time. Have a set time at which you go to sleep each night and stick to it. If you go to sleep late you’ll be tired when your alarm rings and you’ll be tempted to hit the snooze button, maybe more than once. Each time you hit the snooze button, you’re wasting time.

3. Transition into a wakeful state quickly. Being in a groggy state when you wake up is not conducive to getting ready quickly and efficiently. Two things you can do to wake up quickly is to open the curtains in order to get sunlight first thing in the morning, and to drink a glass of water shortly after you wake up in order to jump-start your metabolism.

4. Put together a morning playlist and use it as a timer. Timing yourself as you get ready in the morning is a great way to make sure that you’re ready on time. And what better way to time yourself than by making a playlist of songs that you like and using the songs as a timer? You can try the following:

  • Make breakfast and serve yourself some coffee during the first song.
  • Eat your breakfast during the second and third songs.
  • Brush your teeth and brush your hair during the fourth song.
  • Shower during the fifth song.
  • Get dressed during the sixth song.
  • Apply make-up during the seventh song.

5. Streamline your morning maintenance routine. You don’t need to spend lots of time getting ready in the morning in order to feel and look great. There are lots of ways to streamline your morning routine. For example, instead of applying lip liner and several layers of lipstick, just dab on some lip-gloss. In addition, use a spray lotion instead of a cream one—it goes on faster.

6. Rethink your morning routine. Identify where you’re wasting time in the morning. Do you stand in line for 15 minutes at Starbucks? Then that’s fifteen minutes that you could save by getting a coffee maker with a timer and setting it to start brewing your coffee a few minutes before your alarm goes off in the morning.

7. Have a fast nutritious breakfast available. Skipping breakfast in order to save time is a bad idea. However, you can save time by preparing a quick breakfast. As an example, a breakfast of Greek yogurt, granola, and fruit is quick and easy to prepare, it tastes great, and it’s good for you. Another strategy is to cook oatmeal in a slow cooker overnight so that it’s ready by the time you get up.

8. Make lunch the night before. When you’re cooking your dinner, double the recipe. Then, put one batch in a plastic container, put it in the fridge, and your lunch for the next day is ready.

9. Resist the temptation to go online. Resist the temptation to check your email or go on social media in the mornings. Responding to one email can easily turn into two or three, and then you’ve spent twenty minutes online instead of getting ready to head out the door.

10. Set a strict time to leave the house. Put Parkinson’s Law to good use by having a strict time to leave the house. Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Applied to your mornings, it means that the time that it takes you to get ready each morning will expand unless you set a firm limit on it.

Ten Ways to Save Time at Work

11. Re-think your commute time. Time spent commuting can be a huge time-waster. Here are some ideas that will help you to rethink your commute time:

  • Shorten your commute time by moving closer to work.
  • Shorten your commute time by avoiding high traffic times.
  • Use public transportation so that you can get some work done during your commute.

12. Do the most important thing first. Establish priorities and make sure that you know what the most important task for each day is. Then, work on that task before you do anything else. That way, you’ll ensure that the most important things get done each day instead of wasting your time on the unessential.

13. Try to beat the clock. Set a clear deadline for everything that you need to get done, and do the best that you can to meet those deadlines. Leaving the time that you’re going to devote to accomplishing any given task open-ended is almost guaranteed to make the task drag on and on.

14. Have a set clock-out time. Just as in the mornings there’s a set time by which you need to leave your house in order 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.

15. Work in intense 20-minute bursts. Decide what you’re going to work on, set a timer for twenty minutes, and focus all of your attention on that task until the twenty minutes are up. During those twenty minutes don’t work on anything else and don’t allow yourself to be interrupted.

16. Take breaks. Taking breaks is a counter intuitive way to save time. Although you may think that by taking breaks you’re wasting time, you’re actually saving time since you’ll be recharging your batteries, reducing stress, and preventing exhaustion.

17. Focus on what you’re good at. Stop trying to do everything. Instead, identify what you’re strengths are and leave the rest to other people. Start delegating and outsourcing.

18. Batch your activities. By engaging in “batch processing,” or lining up repetitious tasks at certain times, you can save lots of time. For example, if you need to call people, do it in one batch instead of spreading the calls throughout the day.

19. Create an efficient system for dealing with email. Email can be a huge time suck, and you’ll be saving lots of time by creating a system for dealing with email quickly and efficiently. Here are three ideas:

  • Check email only twice a day.
  • Limit email sessions to 25 minutes.
  • Decide right away what to do with each email instead of simply letting emails linger in your inbox indefinitely.

20. Improve your typing skills. Most people spend a large chunk of their day writing reports and other documents. By improving your typing skills, and by learning keyboard shortcuts, you could potentially save enormous amounts of time. While re-learning touch-typing requires a time investment, it’s an investment that will reap large rewards in time saved.

Ten Ways to Save Time at Home

21. Consolidate your errands. Make a list of all the errands that you need to get done each week and then save one day a week to run errands. This strategy is much more efficient than leaving your house every day to run one or two errands at a time. In addition, try to run your errands on off-hours so that you can beat the crowds.

22. Contain the clutter. When your home is cluttered you’ll waste valuable time cleaning and giving maintenance to unnecessary items. In addition, clutter leads to disorganization which is another time killer. By cutting down to the essentials you’ll be saving time.

23. Clean every day. You can save time on your cleaning by doing a little cleaning every day. Do small things such as the following: wipe down the sink and bathroom counter as soon as you’re done using it; tidy up each room as you’re about to leave it; and sweep for a few minutes each day.

24. Clean less by preventing dirt from getting in. Most of the dirt in your house gets carried in on the soles of your shoes. Prevent that dirt from getting into your house in the first place by placing a mat at the entrance of your home. You can even start taking your shoes off as soon as you walk into your home.

25. Establish one or two TV-free nights a week. Let’s face it, cutting out TV watching entirely is something that most people are not willing to do. However, cutting out TV watching for one or two days a week is doable, and it’s a great way to free up time which you can use for more important things. In addition, use TiVo to record your favorite TV shows and fast forward through the commercials.

26. Use technology to save time. Using the right technology can help you save loads of time. As an illustration, there’s a device called the Ikan Wireless Scanner . It sits on your kitchen counter-top and when you notice that you’re almost out of a food item—such as cereal or milk– you scan the barcode on that item. The item then appears on your online grocery list. When you’re ready to buy groceries you press “send” and everything on your list is delivered to your doorstep.

27. Design an efficient kitchen. Save time in the kitchen by keeping items stored in a way which makes the most sense. Here are some examples:

  • Identify the utensils which you use most often and keep them in a jar next to the stove.
  • Pots and pans should also be near the stove.
  • Keep everything that you need to make coffee—coffee maker, coffee beans, coffee mugs, and so on—in the same area.
  • Keep strainers near the sink, keep knives and cutting boards near each other, and so on.

28. Learn cooking hacks. You can cut down on your kitchen time by learning some good cooking hacks. For example, you can save lots of time by learning the proper way to chop an onion. In addition, add baking soda or vinegar to water when boiling eggs for easier shell removal.

29. Streamline your cleaning. Fill a bucket with everything that you need for cleaning–cleaning sprays, a sponge, a toothbrush, a squeegee, a scrub brush, cloth towels, and so on. As you’re cleaning, carry the bucket from room to room. By not having to go back and forth looking for cleaning supplies you’ll be saving time.

30. Have a place for everything. Think of the well-known adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place”. By assigning a place for everything in your home, and making sure that everything is put back in its proper place after each use, you’ll be able to avoid losing time searching for items.

Conclusion

Start applying the 30 time-saving ideas explained above right away. Then, take the time that you save and use it to live your best life by getting to work on your life goals.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Wan May 5, 2014, 2:59 am

    One thing I recommend everyone does if they want to save time is to be aware of how we use them. Greater awareness of time can be achieved by tracking how we use our time everyday through time-blocking.

    Good stuff.

  • Marelisa May 5, 2014, 4:18 pm

    Hi Wan: Thank you for stopping by.Indeed, tracking how we use our time is a great way to determine how we could make better use of it.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling May 7, 2014, 7:37 am

    Thanks for the useful tips, Marelisa! It definitely helps to save my time especially no. 30 ‘have a place for everything’.

  • Chris January 11, 2015, 10:37 am

    Marelisa,
    I really enjoyed this and another list on ways to improve life. So I wanted you to know your writing has made and will make an impact on your life. Thank you. So many of these types of lists are contrived writers regurgitating the same general blather or just hearing themselves talk. Your work is concise and gives solid, immediate (if only to start) solutions to many basic life challenges. I am excited to try many of the ideas I got from you today in 2015.

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