Most of us love the idea of saving time every day. If you could shave a few hours off of your core responsibilities on a weekly basis, you could use that extra time to get ahead at work, bond with your family, or just relax and do something special for yourself.
Whatever your motivations are, there are a handful of strategies that can help you save time every day – no matter what your job is or what you’re trying to accomplish.
How to Save Time
These are the best ways to save time on a consistent and reliable basis:
1. Hire someone. If you have the extra money to afford it, consider hiring someone to help out with your responsibilities. For example, you could hire a babysitter to take care of the kids in the morning, you could hire a property management company to handle tenant screening and ongoing repairs for your rental property, or you could hire an assistant part-time to tackle your most mundane tasks (like scheduling).
2. Delegate. If you already have some people working under you, consider delegating more tasks to them. Initially, delegation can be difficult; it’s hard to tell which tasks are most appropriate for delegation, and depending on their nature, you may have to train the person responsible for those tasks on how to do them properly. But after this upfront investment, you’ll be able to clear your plate and spend less time on tasks that are unimportant.
3. Automate. One of the most reliable ways to save time every day is to automate as much as possible. If you’re familiar with scripting in a programming language like Python, you can create a small program that can handle predictable or repetitive tasks on your behalf. Alternatively, you can subscribe to a software app or enlist the help of free online services to handle certain tasks automatically. Even simple forms of automation, like creating a template for your email signature, can save you minutes at a time.
4. Simplify. Are you making things too complicated? One easy way to save time is to simplify what you’re doing. For example, is it necessary to send a document through six stages of approval with different departments? Or is it possible to streamline the approval process by reducing the number of steps in the process? This isn’t always possible, but it’s a lifesaver when it works.
5. Stop multitasking. It’s tempting to try and do multiple things at once as a way to save time, but this is often counterproductive. Dividing your attention across multiple focal points will simply reduce your effectiveness in each area. It’s much better to focus on one thing at a time. That way, you can maximize your effectiveness.
6. Eliminate distractions. Similarly, it’s a good idea to eliminate any distractions. Even small things, like having a TV on in the background, can pull your attention away from your core work. The more focused you are, the more efficiently you’re going to work, and the less time you’ll have to spend on tasks throughout the day.
7. Practice. You know that practice makes perfect. But this premise holds true for everything – even mundane work responsibilities. If you’re struggling with a particular task, consider setting aside some time to retrain yourself, educate yourself, and practice deliberately. You’ll be amazed at how effective you are the next time you try it.
8. Identify and eliminate time waste. Did you know that most meetings end up wasting time? Most of us don’t realize just how much time we’re wasting every day on things that aren’t helping us achieve our goals. But on close inspection, these tasks and commitments can reveal themselves. Whenever you commit to doing anything, ask yourself – is this going to be productive? Is it going to help you achieve a goal? If not, consider skipping it.
9. Track and analyze. Next, make sure you’re tracking and analyzing how you spend time every day. You may not be aware of the tasks and activities that take up the greatest proportion of your day. For example, you may learn that you spend 2 hours a day on social media – which is something you can easily cut.
10. Keep improving. There will always be more opportunities to improve and save more time. Keep maintaining good observation and improvement habits – and making tweaks to increase your efficiency.
Finding Your Own Approach
Obviously, some of these strategies will work better in some applications than in others. For example, you may find that your current position can be heavily automated – or there may be little to no room for automation, given your line of work. You’ll need to experiment with different methodologies and find the combination of strategies that works best for you.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.