Want to know if you are a time saver or time killer? Answer these three questions:
If you've answered yes to even one of the above questions, you probably aren't managing your time wisely. The average person spends less than 7 hours of their day productively. The remaining time is typically wasted leaving us overwhelmed and stressed. So how do you squeeze an extra hour here and there? How do you achieve more in less time? Here are 61 time saving tips to help you get the most out of your day.
1. You DO have enough time for everything. This is the first thing you need to realize. You feel pressed for time because you misuse it. Do you surf the web or watch TV just because you are bored? When you're stretched for time, these activities will only worsen the situation. Turn off the TV, shut down the computer, and complete whatever task you are delaying.
2. Prioritize your tasks. Most people spend 80% of their time trying to complete 20% of their tasks. You could set aside ten minutes every day to plan your day's activities.
3. Create and keep your "To Do List" handy. Don't skip over the difficult items when checking to see what needs completing next.
4. When you plan your schedule for the day, ensure that you leave 20% of your day free. This allows for emergencies and interruptions.
5. Do large, time-consuming tasks scare intimidate you? Break them into smaller tasks and work on them one at a time.
6. Get it right the first time. Take your time to do a quality job. It may take more time to complete the task, but there is a lesser chance of errors. This way, you can avoid making time-consuming corrections.
7. Reward yourself. Whenever you complete important tasks within a stipulated period, give yourself a little treat. This will give you an incentive to complete work on time.
8. Avoid guilt. If you didn't do something at the time you assigned yourself, try to reschedule it instead of feeling guilty. Guilt pangs are a waste of time.
9. Avoid thinking of work on weekends.
10. Eat light, especially lunch. This will ensure that you don't get sleepy in the afternoon.
11. Multitask. Jobs that are not too critical and don't require 100% concentration can be clubbed together -exercise while you catch up on your favorite program, or cut coupons while talking on the telephone. At the office, you can send routine emails while talking on the phone. Multitasking frees 30-60 minutes of time to be used later in the day.
12. Avoid perfection. You are only setting yourself up for defeat. When you try to bring perfection to difficult tasks, you will only end up avoiding them.
13. Work now, play later. It's human nature to want to do the fun things first. Train yourself to complete the work at hand before you let your hair down.
14. Try and complete similar tasks in the same block of time. Does your job have you making a high volume of sales calls everyday? Try to make all your phone calls in the same time period. Avoid having to retrace your steps to perform a redundant task you could have done more productively at an earlier time.
15. Prepare. Have to reach office at 8 am? Doesn't help if you get out of bed at 7:30 am. You must give yourself some buffer time to cover unexpected events - like a sudden traffic jam.
16. Get a good night's sleep and plenty of exercise. This regimen will improve your focus and concentration, which in turn, helps you be more efficient and productive.
17. Don't take work home and vice versa.
18. Track time. Keep a diary detailing all the tasks you perform in a week. At the end of the week, check the diary to see how much time was spent doing what. See if you can employ your time in a better manner.
19. Once a month, schedule a few hours to pay bills make necessary phone calls.
20. Take a time management course. Most of us could do with some professional guidance on how to optimize our time.
21. Take a break. Stress is a fact of modern work life. If you feel your stress levels have risen too high, take time off to let off the steam. Too much stress can derail your attempts at getting organized. You could exercise a bit, or even take a day off.
22. Write notes to yourself. This helps you stay on track and ensure that important work gets done.
23. Avoid nonessential tasks. You must consider your goals and schedule before you accept additional work.
24. Play time games. Games are fun and people love that element of competition. Set deadlines for tasks and see who delivers the best quality product/ service within the stipulated time.
25. Commend. Every time somebody completes work on time ensure that you show your appreciation. You could have an employee of the week contest where the employee who completes all tasks on time for the entire week is accorded recognition and praise.
26. Create a work chart for an entire week. This way everyone knows what they are doing tomorrow and don't have to twiddle their thumbs and wait for instructions. Don't bother with extremely detailed schedules - it's a waste of time and can be confusing as well.
27. Discourage long telephone conversations. The office is meant for working, not making social phone calls to family, friends and acquaintances.
28. Make your office techno-savvy. Get the most up-to-date equipment to help you and your colleagues complete work faster. A small investment of $1,000-$1,500 in equipment can save you tens of thousands of dollars in staff time.
29. Get your colleagues to clean up and clear out the office on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis. Go through and organize your papers, files and folders and throw away any unnecessary paperwork and correspondence.
30. Chatty colleagues not only disrupt their own schedules, but also prevent you from completing your task on time. Get them to correct their habit or red flag them when you are working on meeting deadlines.
31. Match tasks to capabilities. Each employee in your organization has certain innate talents. Tap them by ensuring that each person performs task that he/she is good at. Research shows that employees perform better when they are assigned tasks they enjoy doing.
32. Avoid unnecessary meetings. If something can be resolved without a meeting, do so. And where unavoidable, create a strict agenda for the meeting and stick to it.
33. Introduce the email culture. Avoid phone calls between colleagues. Wherever possible, ask your colleagues to contact you via e-mail. Ensure that the e-mail communication is clear, crisp and concise.
34. Standardize. Regular tasks like sales letter-writing can be standardized to avoid delay.
35. Encourage delegation. If there is some job that can be done by someone else, pass it on.
36. Encourage exercise. Ask your colleagues to take a 10 to 15-minute break during the day for some exercise. It's best scheduled for the afternoon when people tend to get a bit drowsy. The exercise session will perk them up and keep them going for the rest of the day.
37. Ensure that your colleagues bring problems to you as soon as they detect them. The sooner the issue gets resolved, the faster the task gets completed.
38. Start your day 15 to 30 minutes earlier. It may be difficult initially, but you'll be gaining that much extra time in your day.
39. Set out your work clothes and pack your lunch at night.
40. Have kids? Teach them to clean up after themselves. Show your kids how to maintain their own rooms and reward them for doing so.
41. Share household responsibilities with your children and spouse. This will save time, reduce your workload and help your children develop a sense of responsibility.
42. Create a routine for the children - especially sleep time. This will give you free time at home to tie up all the loose ends.
43. Is your family just getting the hang of your time management schedule? Set a timer to go off when it's time to switch tasks. This will help them stick to their respective schedules. They will also get an idea of how long it takes to complete each task.
44. Keep phone numbers, and other emergency information in an easy to find place, like the on the refrigerator, or near the phone. In case of emergency you will not have to waste time running around for information.
45. Limit grocery shopping to once a week.
46. Plan your weekly menu. Decide what to cook every day of the following week and shop accordingly. This can save a lot of time.
47. Cook big meals - stews, soups, roasts anything that can be had for more than a day.
48. Try not to compulsively clean. It is far more important to relax a bit each day than to live in an immaculate house.
49. Avoid unnecessary trips to the bank. You waste nearly 20 hours a year when you stop at the bank every two weeks to withdraw money. Save that time by withdrawing enough cash to last until you receive your next paycheck.
50. Get your own coffee. You waste precious time by stopping at the convenience store for coffee on your way to work. Brew your own while you're getting dressed and save time and money.
51. Married or living in? Try doing things together. This not only brings back the spark into your relationship, it also helps you save time by completing tasks faster.
52. Modernize your home. Food processors, washing machines, dish washers, microwaves - use all of them to save time.
53. On the weekend, get your things ready for the next week. Make sure you have five/ six clean, pressed outfits for the upcoming week.
54. Avoid a huge wardrobe - choosing your work wear becomes very tough and time consuming. Try to limit yourself to three or four colors and ensure that the everything goes together. Keep your colors for the weekend.
55. Get organized. Create a place for everything and ensure that everyone in the family keeps things in their right places. This will save time that would otherwise be spent searching for something.
56. No emotional attachments to junk please. If you don't need something, just get rid of it. It clears the clutter in your home and reduces the time required to clean up.
57. When you're done washing your clothes take them directly from the dryer and hang them up immediately to minimize the amount of time you'll have to spend ironing.
58. Say no. You don't need to always be polite and politically correct. There are a lot of demands on your limited time, so avoid unnecessary wastes. For instance if an acquaintance wants you to attend a party with him/ her, and you don't want to go, you must say no. You may hate having to turn down people - but realize that saying no frees up time for things that are more important.
59. Be organized. Keep your receipts and bills together. This saves a lot of time and effort when it's time to file taxes.
60. Stock up on supplies. Keep certain basics such as stamps, envelopes, notepads and pens in your desk.
61. Don't get discouraged if your time management system doesn't work wonders immediately. It may require a little trial and error before you hit the right path.
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