Do you sometimes feel like there isn’t enough time in a day to accomplish your tasks? Well, you’re not alone. Most of us feel this way at some point and are constantly searching for ways to improve things.
The fact remains that you can’t manipulate time.
So, how come some people get more done while others struggle to complete half their tasks? What are they doing wrong? Or rather, how do other people manage to find time to accomplish goals and become successful?
In this post, we share the best tips to save time, so you can maximize the hours you have, and achieve more, every single day!
20 Time-Saving Tips to Add More Hours to Your Week
Let’s get right to the details.
1. Wake Up an Hour Earlier, Science Proves it Works
Have you ever heard of the early to bed, early to rise mantra? According to several studies, it’s been proven to be beneficial not only to your health but also to career success:
- A 2014 study determined that people who go to bed later are more likely to be overwhelmed by repetitive thoughts.
- Another research found that children who rise early are more active than late risers. The study suggested that “promoting an early rising time is an important element of cultivating good health in your children.”
- This study published in the National Library of Medicine determined that waking just an hour earlier than usual can reduce your risk of depression by up to 23 percent.
- According to a Harvard Business Review report by Christoph Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany, “people whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success.”
All these studies agree on one thing: Waking up early has positive results. Starting your day before the sun rises and everyone wakes up can save you time in your daily life. Since our brains are more active in the morning, we can focus better and engage in complicated tasks.
2. Have a Morning Routine
Schedule yourself so that you wake up at the same time every day. Doing so enables you to create a more efficient routine. This could range from going for a run, working out, meditating, walking the dog, making coffee, and so on.
In addition, start work at the same time every day. That way, you eliminate unpredictability in your days and ensure your days flow better, with minimal stress.
Where possible, organize your morning routine before bed so that you wake up knowing exactly what needs to be done.
3. Create an Evening Routine
Just as having a morning routine saves time, an evening routine can be helpful, especially for remote workers, who face challenges unplugging from work. Establish a routine that helps mark the end of a workday.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. You can:
- Turn on the radio
- Light a candle
- Have a drink
- Set an alarm
- Go for a walk, jog, or ride
- Walk the dog, etc.
Over time, your brain will associate that activity with unplugging from work and automatically relax.
4. Get Organized
To set yourself up for success, you need to organize your daily tasks and targets and then block time to accomplish them. By time blocking your day, you can schedule those urgent and important tasks at different times, depending on when you’re most productive.
In addition, having a plan helps you keep stock of what’s done and what’s pending, ensuring you don’t miss anything. Therefore, spend a few minutes in the evening or morning to create a to-do list that will help structure your day.
You might be thinking to yourself; doesn’t spending time planning your day every day add to your time struggle? Quite the contrary. Time management experts say that spending 10-12 minutes planning can save up to two hours of time that would otherwise go to waste.
5. Track Your Time
One of the best time management strategies is to collect data on your work habits to determine where and how you spend your time. Tracking your time empowers you to beware of your use of time, which can help you manage your time more effectively.
Take Traqq, for example. It’s an automatic time tracking software that captures your daily work activities, organizing your data into a neat presentation. You can later analyze the collected data to see how you spend your time daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
These insights are helpful for any entrepreneur or remote worker who wants to improve their productivity. You can identify issues like time waste and what’s impacting your performance – whether it’s workload or distractions.
6. Schedule Breaks
It’s easy for work hours to spill into your personal time, especially when working remotely. Before you realize it, work-related stress starts to build up, you’re burned out, and your health starts to deteriorate. In this state, you can’t function properly, and this will affect your performance and productivity.
That’s why it’s imperative to take breaks throughout your workday to re-energize and improve focus. Breaks allow your mind to recalibrate before you continue working on an existing task or start a new one.
They offer clarity and perspective to help you focus better. To ensure you take regular breaks, try the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for short bursts of 25 minutes, separated by 5-minute breaks.
If the Pomodoro method doesn’t work for you, you could try the:
- 52/17 rule where you work for 52 minutes straight and rest for 17 minutes.
- 50/10 rule, where you work for 50 minutes and take a break for 10 minutes.
7. Delegate Tasks to Others
It’s understandable to try and do everything yourself, especially when you feel you’re the only one who can do that particular task well. However, delegating tasks to other people can save you time to do other important things.
For instance, you can outsource or delegate certain tasks, like content creation, market research, and designing. That way, you can invest more time in the actual management of your business.
8. Learn to Say “No”
You can only do so much with the limited time you have. If you’re overworked and burned out, you can’t put in your best effort. After all, your energy and focus have a limit, and once you cross that line, it will affect your output and results.
You don’t need to prove to your manager or client that you’re loyal and hardworking at the expense of your health and well-being. Therefore, learn to say no to avoid getting overwhelmed.
In addition, learn to say no to unnecessary meetings. Did you know that half of the meetings are considered a waste of time? Statistics show that 31 hours are spent in unproductive meetings every month and that 67 percent of meetings are unproductive.
So, before attending a meeting:
- Question if you can be briefed afterward instead
- Inquire if you can participate only part of the time
- Confirm if your presence is really necessary.
Better still, discuss with your coworkers and plan meeting days and non-meeting days to allow everyone to focus on their work without having to worry about impromptu meetings.
9. Utilize Technology
We live in a modern world where technology can help us become more efficient in everything we do. For instance, you can use mobile money to automate transactions or even deposit money into an account instead of wasting time queueing at the bank.
Similarly, you can shop online and have the items delivered to your doorstep. That time you’d have spent going to and from the market can be used to do other important things.
The same case applies to your productivity. There are various productivity tools you can implement to make you more productive. From time tracking apps to project management tools to calendar and focus apps, you can find an app for anything.
10. Eliminate Distractions
We all experience distractions in our daily lives. How you handle these distractions is what makes the difference between saving time and wasting time. To maintain your performance and improve workflow, strive to get rid of distractions.
If you work from home, setting up a home office in a quiet area of your home (if possible), is the first step. Let everyone know that you’re not to be disturbed while working from your home office. Other steps you can take to eliminate distractions include:
- Turn off or mute your phone to avoid getting interrupted by notifications, which can lead to drifting away from work.
- Turn off email pop-up notifications on your computer
- Invest in noise-canceling headphones to lower outside noise so you can focus on work
11. Break Big Tasks into Smaller Chunks and Batch Them
When you land a big project, it can feel intimidating and worrying, not knowing where to start. The secret is to break that big project into smaller, manageable tasks. Set deadlines and goals for each task, so you have the drive and motivation.
In addition, consider batching similar tasks together and prioritize them accordingly. Tasks that take less than 20 minutes to complete should be handled immediately. Other tasks should be structured and tracked, so that you can keep track of your progress.
12. Single Task
You could be losing up to 40 percent of your productivity when you multitask, according to behavioral psychologist Susan Weinschenk. Several studies have also found a link between multitasking and low productivity and loss of time.
When you work on more than one activity at a time, your mind can’t concentrate fully on all that you’re doing. As a result, the risk of errors increases, and your creativity suffers.
Single-tasking, on the other hand, allows you to focus your attention on one task or activity at a time. Doing so ensures you put in your best effort and do your work exceptionally well. In the end, productivity, and efficiency increase.
13. Multi-Tasking Can Be Good, Sometimes
It’s been said, time and again, that multitasking is bad for our brains and one of the biggest time wasters today. It’s even been concluded that multitasking lowers our IQ. However, there’s a time and place for multitasking, and if you know how to apply it, it could actually be beneficial.
When is multitasking good?
- When doing low-level tasks that require minimal attention. For example, cleaning the house while listening to music or podcasts.
- Doing something that motivates you to engage in something productive. For instance, working out and watching your favorite TV show or listening to music while driving.
- When you’re feeling less focused and want a new perspective. If you’re stuck on a project you’ve been working on, switching to a different task may be the best thing to do.
Some of the benefits of multitasking include:
- Better time management since you complete more tasks
- Increased responsibilities, which might lead to promotion into leadership roles
- Higher productivity since it increases the volume of work
Remember, multitasking doesn’t work in all scenarios or jobs. So, only multitask when it’s efficient to do so.
14. Reduce Time Spent on Emails
The average employee checks their email 36 times in an hour! Shocking right? The worst part is that it takes around 16 minutes to refocus after attending to an incoming email. In other words, you’ll barely get any work done if you don’t rein in on those emails.
The solution? Schedule a specific time to check and reply to emails. However, don’t use the time when your performance level is at its peak to handle your emails. Instead, do so during your downtime, like the afternoons, to handle your emails.
To save more time, automate email replies, especially for repetitive emails. In addition, communicate with your team or coworkers and let them know which channels to use for important and urgent messages. This way, you won’t be getting unnecessary emails if the message could be relayed via Slack.
15. Minimize Social Media Use
How many times have you grabbed your phone to use, say, the calculator, only to find yourself checking your Instagram feed and stories? Before you know it, half an hour has passed! That’s why we recommend keeping your phone out of reach while working to allow for deep focus work.
While this may not be easy, you can start slowly. For example, avoid checking your phone for 45 minutes to an hour while working. As time goes by, increase this time to one and a half hours, then two hours, and so forth. Before long, you won’t even bother to check your phone for half a day while working.
If this seems too difficult for you, consider scheduling some of your breaks to use your phone. You can schedule 5-minute breaks for Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. This way, you won’t be tempted to be checking on your phone every minute knowing that you can do that peacefully during breaks.
16. Reduce Your TV time
Do you have the habit of completing a few tasks, sitting down on the couch, and spending the rest of the day watching TV? It’s a common habit for most people. While it’s a form of relaxing, you’ve probably spent your day sitting down, and now might be a great time to get active.
Use this time to run on the treadmill or outside, go to the gym, or walk the dog. You could also do yoga, meditate, read a book, or listen to a podcast while preparing hearty meals. Or, you can dance to some of your favorite hits, which is also a form of exercise.
The point is to find something more useful to do with your time. Being active can do wonders to your mood, well-being, and health, which will reflect on your performance and productivity.
17. Stay Away from Negative Energy
When you stay around successful people, you increase your chances of succeeding. The same goes for energy. Sticking around individuals with negative energy can be draining, and even ruin your day.
You don’t need friends who dump their sad stories on you every day. Cut them out of your life and hang around people with positive energy instead. You’ll build a better mindset, be happier, and stay motivated to achieve goals in your life.
18. Use Waiting Time to Your Advantage
Occasionally, you may seek services elsewhere and might find yourself in a queue of some sort. For example, when waiting at the doctor or bank. Instead of just sitting there, gazing at the clock, you could use this time to get stuff done.
You could be catching up with your buddies or coworkers, sorting through your email, or planning a layout for your next article. Getting some tasks off your list will create free time to do other things later.
19. Don’t Postpone Issues
Benjamin Franklin once said: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Postponing problems and issues in all aspects of your life will only complicate things, leading to time wastage.
On the flip side, committing to resolving issues as soon as they happen will save you from the hassle of doing it later.
20. Declutter Your Life
One of the best tips to save time that most people ignore is decluttering their lives. When you have fewer things on your desk and desktop, you’ll waste less time trying to find items and files.
The same applies to your home. The less clutter, the less cleaning you’ll do, and the less you have to maintain.
Hope you enjoy and try some of these tips to save time. Remember, keeping track of your time is an effective way to ensure you accomplish more within a specific timeframe. Plus, a time tracker will keep you from overworking and encourage you to take regular breaks throughout your workday.