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Last Updated on February 17, 2021

How To Save Time And Achieve More Every Day

How To Save Time And Achieve More Every Day
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How many times have you thought to yourself, “there’s just not enough hours in the day”? If you’re reading this article, chances are—a lot. The goal when doing or investing in most things is to “save time”. While we all could use more time to spend with our families or get more done throughout the day, saving time isn’t necessarily the solution.

Managing your time properly is the solution. Building productive habits and holding value to your time makes is essential if you want to save time and achieve more every day. If you’re struggling to get a grip and find the cycle of lost time to be relentless—with something else to do always in your peripheral—follow along to learn how to save time and work well with what you’ve got.

1. Knowing Your Numbers Will Help You Budget Your Time

It can be a tough pill to swallow when you realize that we all have the same 24 hours each day, right? What it comes down to is the brass tacks—you have got to know exactly where your time goes every day.

You’re aware that you shouldn’t spend more than X amount of money on fast food per month or you might go over budget. But what do you know about your time? You know it takes 20 minutes to get to work every day. But what do you know about how much time you spend on your phone?

Are you aware that the majority of Americans spend over two hours per day, just on social media?[1] If this is you, consider what you could accomplish over those two hours, allowing you to provide yourself with guilt-free scrolling in the evening.

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Recognizing where you’re losing time—and the tasks in your life that are taking unnecessary amounts of time—is key to gaining control of your day. Treat your time like you do your bank account, and you’re ready to save more time.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Evaluate Your Time:

  • How much time do you spend on the internet or social media per day?
  • How much time do you spend watching TV per day?
  • Do you do any tasks that could be done by someone else?
  • What needs more of your time?
  • How much work could you get done without any distractions?

Once you’ve figured out your daily numbers, multiply that by seven and see just how much time you have to work with each week.

2. Getting Organized Will Bring Much Needed Structure

Once you’re clear on where your time goes and how much time you actually have to dedicate to your to-do list, begin to structure your day. Use a process called time blocking. Time blocking is the process of scheduling out your day so you know exactly when you will be doing what.

Plan your days and weeks ahead of time by setting a schedule, and then take time each morning to plan your day. It may seem like waking up and planning your day every day would just add to your time struggle, but it’s been reported that taking less than 15 minutes to plan your day can actually save you two hours throughout the day.[2]

When you take a moment to get intentional with your day and with your time, you will be able to do two things: prioritize and delegate.

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Understanding exactly what needs to happen within your day allows you to see what is the most important, ensuring that it gets done no matter what. Having a plan of action for your day will also help you stay focused and have a clear mindset for how you need to move to accomplish what you want to get done.

Recognizing where your time is not needed is also a pillar of time management. By organizing your day each day, you can see what on your to-do list might be better served by someone else. Let’s face it—at the end of the day, are the dishes and the vacuuming where your time is most useful? Necessary, nonetheless—so then we delegate.

Once you begin to implement these practices, you can then see where developing processes to tackle tasks and save time is essential. Whether it’s chore rotation to share the load or hiring help to come in during Tuesdays, structure and plans are the keys to success and time freedom.

3. Streamline With Help of Delegation and Outsourcing

It’s easy to say, “just get organized!” and you’ll have more time, but this is often where a large part of the struggle lies. Time management is a skill and a practice—no doubt—but it’s totally achievable.

It begins with learning your options. We live in a beautiful world of technology where there is an app for everything. Time management tools exist, you just have to find them and learn them. And maybe technology isn’t your thing—that’s okay, too. You can just as well create your own tools and processes to increase your productivity.

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Once you’ve realized where you can delegate, you then need to figure out how to delegate. Maybe you can’t implement a chore chart, but you can use an app to find a freelance maid who is more than happy to do your dishes at a low cost.

And maybe you don’t want to pay someone to clean your home for a myriad of reasons, but you can schedule the same 10 minutes each day to wash your dishes to avoid an hour-long pile-up. Listen to a podcast on productivity while you do it, and it’s suddenly not squandered time—and perhaps even insightful.

Streamlining your processes will take time, but eventually, your days will be running like a well-oiled machine. If you need help with organization, there are free management tools that allow you to easily line out your days or categorize your to-do list. Having a visual component to your day will help get some of those thoughts out of your head and allow you to track your progress.

Quick Tips for Streamlining Your Day:

  1. Plan your day the night before or in the morning.
  2. Begin to wake up earlier, a little at a time.
  3. Avoid your phone first thing in the morning.
  4. Take care of tasks that are almost done.
  5. Evaluate when you’re most productive time and schedule accordingly.
  6. Create a process for everything.
  • When to plan your meals for the week…
  • Who’s cooking the meals…
  • When you’re going to clean…
  • When you’re going to work out…
  • Who’s taking the kids to school…
  • Morning routine…
  • Evening routine…

As you begin to develop helpful habits and learn to create processes for each part of your life, you’ll begin to see less pile-up of obligations, less time wasted, and more things accomplished throughout your day.

4. Avoid Burnout by Gaining Control of Your Day

The cycle of lost time can be a nasty one—especially if you have kids. It can seem like one wrong step and suddenly, your house is a complete disaster, you have three things to address in the mail, and you’re running late to work or school drop off.

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As this cycle continues, it’s likely that your stress levels are up, and your focus is off from the spin out of things needing your attention. Then, you’re left with decreased productivity, overwhelm, and often hopelessness. This cycle is called burnout. You’ve reached your wit’s end and it seems difficult to even know where to begin to get back on track.

Investing in time management practices and strategies—however imposing on your current schedule they may feel—will actually help you avoid burnout. Gaining control of your time means gaining control of your day, and gaining control of your day means gaining control of your life.

The Bottom Line – You Are in Charge

Sometimes, the hardest things can truly be so simple. As a (sometimes) functioning adult, you likely have the tools right in your mind to evaluate and structure your day. Yes, it can be hard to zoom in when the zoom out is so cluttered, but when you take it a little bit at a time, you’ll realize that you can do this.

Then it’s just a matter of finding what works for you—whether you’re a night planner or a day planner, whether you can afford to stop doing the dishes, and whether you prefer to outline your life digitally or on paper.

More Tips on How to Save Time and Be More Productive

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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Reference

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Agnese Rudzate

Agnese is a next level success strategist.

How To Set Weekly Goals To Change Your Life Why You Should Stop Working Long Hours (And How To Stop It) 5 Best Daily Planner Apps To Boost Your Productivity How To Save Time And Achieve More Every Day

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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