Our full-time jobs take up most of our time, leaving precious little time for friends, family, hobbies, and relaxation. This is why so much content focuses on productivity and time management. This is not going to be one of those articles that tells you to brush your teeth in the shower or drink your morning coffee while driving; multitasking is not the answer. Instead, we will look at unusual ways to save time and ways to approach time management that will improve your lifestyle. So forget about productivity, and read on.
Look After Your Health
Yeah, really, this is a way to save time. The healthier you are, the less likely you are to get sick or feel burnt out. It means that the spare time you have is spent on things you want to do rather than trying to fend off a cold or recover from yet another brutal week. Make looking after your mind, body, and soul a priority, and you will see increased productivity and motivation too. You will come home after work and want to do things you love after work rather than just sitting in front of the TV to give your brain a break.
- Getting regular health checks with your GP and dentist
- Sleeping well
- Eating well
- Being active
- Taking time to unwind
- Practice good hygiene
- Quit soul-sucking jobs
- Turn off the TV and do things you enjoy
- Reduce your alcohol and drug intake (including cigarettes)
Stop Doing Things You Don’t Want To
There are some things you don’t enjoy doing that you need to do, like taking out the trash and looking after your hygiene. Obviously, keep doing those things. But there are a number of things that you feel like you have to do, that you really don’t. You might hate cooking and find it a waste of time, there are a number of services out there that will deliver fresh home-cooked meals, or you could pay someone to meal prep for you. You might not be too worried if your home gets a little messy from time to time; reduce the number of times you clean it. There is no rule saying you have to clean it twice a week or even once a week. If it helps you to save time and you dislike it, question if it is something you HAVE to do.
Often our need to people please can put us in situations where we spend a lot of time doing things we don’t want to do. This could be hanging out with a friend we don’t like or helping someone move house. Stop feeling like you have to offer help and stop feeling like you have to say yes. If you don’t want to be a bridesmaid or attend your friend’s convoluted weekend-long wedding celebrations, don’t.
When we are sleep deprived, our brains do odd things. Our productivity drops, tasks are more difficult, and we are more likely to make bad decisions. Many people incorrectly believe sleeping less is a great way to save time, but in actuality, being tired is worse for people looking to improve their time management. How many times do you hit the snooze button when you’re tired? And are you likely to get anything done in the morning before work?
Spend Your Free Time Intentionally
There are 168 hours in a week. Around 40 of them are spent at work, and 56 are spent sleeping. Once you take into account all the time spent commuting, doing chores, looking after kids or pets, and other necessary activities, we only have a finite amount of time free. Rather than looking for ways of saving time, you should be asking yourself what you want to do with your free time. If we asked ourselves do we really want to spend our precious free time watching yet another Friends rerun, I bet most of us would answer no. Yet how many people spend hours watching shows they’ve already seen or aren’t really interested in? Watch TV to relax or to watch a particular show you like, or even to socialise, but don’t just watch TV because it’s on.
The same goes for spending time with people. If you don’t really like them or you don’t like an activity you’ve been invited to, don’t go. Socialising can stretch on all day, but a lot of us feel reluctant to leave events once we’ve had enough. We only receive two weekend days; why spend one somewhere you don’t want to be?
Think about what you want to do with your spare time and schedule it in the same you would with any other event. Invite friends and family to activities you want to do and build a calendar full of things you love to do. Not only is it an unusual way to save time, but it will help you to live a happier life.
As the saying goes, worrying means you suffer twice. The majority of people spend a lot of time worrying about things or letting worries hold them back from things. What if instead of lying in bed worrying about work or if your friends hate you because of something you said 2 years ago, you read a book you’ve been meaning to, or went to sleep? What do you think is the better use of your time? How many times did you change your outfit this weekend before meeting friends? How much time did you spend getting your hair just right.
Worry seeps into so much of our day that it is difficult to spot it for what it is. But ten minutes here and there worrying about this or that adds up, and that’s before you account for the unnecessary things we do to stop worrying. To stop worrying is much easier said than done, though. Unfortunately, this unusual way to save time is not a simple thing to achieve. Some people like to schedule time for their worrying. This might take the form of a brain dump in the evening or morning journaling; it might even be on your daily walk. By examining all your worries in one go, it allows you to see how silly these worries are and how many little things you allow to take up your time and brain power.