How To Save Time
Let’s share a truth about how to save time. There is a common theme among the top performers in all fields: they know how to get more done in less time. They are productivity machines. They don’t do everything perfectly—no one can (and if you think you can, you’re wrong), but they do everything well enough. And they save huge amounts of time and energy by making sure that what they do does the biggest possible impact. I’ve worked with many of these high-achieving individuals. And in this post, I’m going to share with you some of their secrets for saving time so you can reach your potential faster than before.
Setup A Calendar And Stick To It As Best You Can
Looking at your calendar everyday is a great way to save time. You don’t have to keep a calendar to be productive, but all the productive people I know do. Personally, I use Google Calendar because it’s free and because it integrates so well into all my existing G-Suite setups.
What you want to do is check your calendar for the week. Set aside about an hour to plan out your week by looking at the calendar and writing down all your meetings and calls or class times, etc. Whatever you “have'” to do that week.
Write them down and order them by date. Now, go back through and add into your week all the “soft” things you have to do. I always add time blocks for thinking, planning, and working on my own personal projects.
If you don’t set aside time for yourself, you’ll always have a struggle with time management.
Prioritize Your Most Important Things First
This one is pretty simple but it’s important. You want to go back through your to do list and put the items in priority of importance. Make sure you do get the big stuff done first. This will allow you to save time because you’ll soon discover that only the big items really matter that much as far as productivity goes.
This is due to the 80/20 principle, also known as the Pareto principle. If you haven’t seen that before, this video should help:
Plan And Schedule Around Your Most Productive Time Of Day
Us humans are very interesting. We have certain times of day where we function better than others. Interesting. So, what I tell people is to figure out how to take advantage of that. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
If you’re an early bird, try to get up even earlier and work first on your most productive tasks. You can (and should) be in a quiet area where you can focus. For me, I prefer total silence. Others like to have music playing. For me, the music is a distraction.
The key is intense focus on the right tasks.
Same goes for night owls. I used to be a night owl, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve morphed into more of a morning person. But, when you’re up late, you can get a lot done because again it’s quiet and you’re not getting interrupted constantly by kids, co-workers, or other people.
Don’t Give Up Your Breaks And Lunch Time
This is more of a “don’t” but I figured I would add it in. If you are looking for how to save time, don’t steal it from yourself. You should take full advantage of your breaks and of lunch time.
Just working through every break and lunch can be ok in crunch time, but over the long haul you’ll tend to burn yourself out. What I like to do during lunch is to watch an educational show on YouTube or even listen to a podcast.
Now, when I am going through an intermittent fasting protocol, I do sometimes work through lunch and that’s been great for me. So, there is that option. However, like all things in life, balance is important.
Prioritize Right, The First Time Around
Another easy one, but I want to reiterate it. You want to really make sure you are focusing on doing the right things, instead of doing everything. One way to do that is to rank your priorities with a prioritization matrix, like this one from Process.st:
The first things you want to do are the things that are both important and highly urgent. I know this seems like common sense, but many times we get lured into doing things that are urgent but low on the importance list.
These things rob of our time but make us feel like we are accomplishing things. So, be very careful with those types of items.
Learn How To Say ‘No’ Gracefully)
Saying no took me a long time to get right. I still struggle with it every now and again, but I have gotten way better at it. If you really are asking how to save time, then saying NO is probably your best answer.
We get so caught up in saying yes, because in our minds yes means more opportunity. But the reality is we don’t need more opportunity, we need more execution. And saying yes to new things actually forces you to say no to other things.
So, if you struggle with the idea of saying no, just remember that there isn’t a world in which you can’t say no. In fact, when we say yes to things we really shouldn’t say yes to, we end up saying no to those we love most – usually friends and family.
And that’s a real tragedy.
Fight The Time Crunch By Doing Just 2 Things Each Day
This one isn’t a “command” so to speak, but a suggestion. If you want to really get things done, try focusing on less things. Imagine if you just got 2 big things done per day, 5 days a week. That’s 10 big things.
Over an average working year, that’s 500 BIG things you got done. And if you focus really hard for 4-5 hours a day, odds are you can get 2 things done each day. This is a real secret of effective time management.
You can get more done in less time because you are doing less and focusing on what really moves the needle. This is a key time-saving tactic.
Find A Way To Delegate Things You Don’t Enjoy
Delegation is a time-savers best friend. Forget trying to do everything. If what you’re doing doesn’t “spark” joy or really get results for you then either stop doing it or outsource it to someone else.
This one can be tough until you get some money built up, so one strategy you can look for is to time trade with other people. Look for a person who will do a job for you and you can do a job for them.
It makes it a lot easier to trade time when you have more time than money. Eventually though, when you can afford it, you’ll want to outsource any task that you are uniquely qualified for.
Get The Biggest Payoff For Your Time Investment
This one is more of a question you must ask yourself. Am I getting the biggest payoff for my time? You should assign yourself an hourly rate. Could be $10 or it could be $1000. The point is that the rate must be in the realm of possiblity.
Use that number as your payoff number. Would you pay someone that much money per hour to do the task for you? If not, then you really shouldn’t do it. If your average earnings per hour is $50,then why mow your own lawn unless you really enjoy it?
Again, you will save time using this strategy and you’ll ultimately save money if your put your time savings to work for you and earn more money with that time.
But that being said…
Maximize Your Free Time
When you’re asking about how to save time, you may be asking the wrong question. You see, you need to ask yourself what the purpose is of your new free time. I submit to you that you should focus on how to maximize your free time, which is another way of saying getting the most out of it.
Do you LOVE working and producing? That’s great then, do more of that. Do you love to read? Read more! Watching TV your thing, though it’s not mine, hey more power to you!
Just make sure that you take time to enjoy life, that’s my point. Get the most out of life because you only get one shot.
Cut Down On The Number Of Meetings You Attend
Let’s face it. Most meetings are boring. You really can’t get out of them through, right? Actually, you can and you should. At work, if someone suggests a meeting just reply with something like..
Is there a particular reason we need to have a meeting on this? Can we try to resolve it via email first? I have a very full week and can’t do another meeting right now.
That’s it. Just try it and you’ll be amazed. This works face to face, over zoom, in your inbox, slack, wherever. It wont’ work 100% of the time, but it will cut down on meetings. Meetings eat up a ton of time because of the pleasantries involved.
If you must have a meeting, make sure you stick to a tight schedule and stay focused. Don’t go off into planning detailed executions. Save that for another time.
Get More Done With Less Effort (MEMO Principle)
I created a name for getting more done with less effort. I call it the MEMO principle. Minimum Effort Maximum Outcome. This doesn’t mean you want to slack off, instead if means you want to look for points of leverage in everything you do.
Case in point, I used to spend about 90 minutes a day exercising. This included driving to the gym working out for 45 minutes, driving back home, etc.
Then I discovered a system known as the X3, you can see my X3 Review here. This workout system allows me to workout in 10 minutes from home. I now save 80 minutes a day, 6 days a week.
That’s leverage. And the best part? I actually get better results too!
Set A Time To Check And Respond To Emails
Here’s another simple hack for how to save time. Set aside a time of day to check emails. I recommend during a break after your first working session. There’s no law that says you have to check email constantly.
Imagine how weird it would be if the mail carrier showed up and rang the doorbell everytime you got a letter. Multiple times per day. You would get super annoyed. Yet, with email we allow that.
Do your best to turn off the notifcations and check your email on your schedule. Let your co-workers know this is how you do email and they’ll accept it.
Double Up On Tasks
I call this trick the two-fer. Look to combine tasks that can be combined. They say you can’t do two things at once, but that’s not entirely true. It’s near impossible to do two tasks at once that both require cognitive function.
For example, it is impossible to listen to an audiobook while reading on your kindle. But, what you can do is combine something like listening to an audiobook while walking. Now, you get in your walking and your audiobook.
I do this all the time with phone calls. I pretty much walk on every call I do. This gets me out of the office, increases my steps, and makes me more creative on my calls. Most of my calls these days are all about strategy anyway, so the better I can think the better the results will be.
Use The Power Of The Tomato Timer
Ok, you may know it as the Pomodoro Timer, but Pomodoro is actually Italian for Tomato. All you do with this strategy is to set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on a single task during that time.
When the timer goes off, take a 5 minute mental break. It helps to stand up and walk a bit and stretch. At the end of the 5 minutes, sit and work again for a 25 minute block.
By doing this, you’ll find that you can work a solid, focused 50 minutes out of the hour. I’ve not found a better way to get creative projects done especially, then with this method.
I am hopeful this article gave you some strategies you can use as you continue to ask how to save time in your life. Some apply more to business, but all of them can be taken and used by you if you just think them through.
Whether you want to just have more free time or spend more time on your business, saving time from the mundane is the way to go. Focus on outsourcing or delegating what you can to other people, cut down on meetings, keep to your calendar, and combine tasks whenever you can.
By doing this, you will be more productive than you ever thought possible.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out my series on how to take good notes, which is another potential way to save time by allowing you to learn faster.