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Last Updated on February 17, 2021

How To Save Time And Achieve More Every Day

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How To Save Time And Achieve More Every Day

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

More by this author

Agnese Rudzate

Agnese is a next level success strategist.

How to Stay on Task And Avoid Distractions 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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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