Wouldn’t it be nice to have more hours in the day? Sadly, this isn’t possible. But you can use these time-saving tips to finish your work in less time. As a result, you’ll give yourself extra time to spend however you’d like. Over the years, I’ve worked with many people who feel just like you do and want to have more time to spend on priorities.
Here are ten fundamental strategies you can use to save time and accomplish more of what matters to you.
1. Quit (Some Of) Your Work
You cannot spend your time on things that are not giving you results. When you stop working on these tasks, you will give yourself extra time. Understandably, this can be a difficult decision to make as we are all creatures of habit. You may even struggle to decide which work you need to stop doing. Trust me; this is time well spent. You will save time in the long run and also free up some valuable mental energy.
Saying no is not easy, especially when you have different interests. You may not be sure what you want to focus your attention toward. Take small steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? Make a simple plan. When you have a plan in place, this will help you set boundaries and limits. Best of all, these limits can help guide you as to what tasks you should stop doing.
So how can you do this, right?
Take a look at your day and find the areas that are not in alignment with your plan. Take inventory. Think about it. Then eliminate all tasks that are not needed.
2. Do Less Work
This step is not as drastic as the first. Think about some of the tasks you do several times a day, week or month. Can you reduce the frequency of these items? Consider holding your weekly meeting every other week. Suddenly, you have thirty minutes more of extra time per week.
Consider using the eighty / twenty rule, which is also known as the Pareto principle. This rule states for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. So twenty percent of your customers make up eighty percent of your sales. If you apply this rule to what you read, you know 20% of what you read makes up 80% of what you know. You can consume less information online. The eighty/twenty rule applies to just about everything. Use it in order to reduce the frequency of tasks.
3. Reuse some of Your Work
What are the parts of your work you can reuse? You can reuse part of your content again on another platform. Let’s say you use images on your website. Why not share them on Instagram as well? Have video on your website? You can upload it to Youtube. When you reuse some of your work, you save yourself time and you can even get better results from your initial efforts.
4. Batch Your Work
One of the easiest ways to get more done is to batch similar tasks together. You are not working on things simultaneously—that would be multitasking—but rather doing one task after another. As you do this, your speed will increase. When you spread out ten similar tasks all over your day or execute these tasks randomly during the week, will take more time than if you batch your work.
Here are a few examples to consider:
- You don’t go into your boss’s office five times a day to ask a question, right? Instead, a better way to handle this is to write your questions down and go in once to ask all of your questions.
- When you are writing something, you don’t write and edit the same time. This will take more time than doing the writing first and then edit your text later.
- Instead of checking into your email inbox sixty times a day, you can check it two or three times during a day.
5. Simplify Your Work
Everything you do is one of three things: an input, an output, or a process. The process is the middle step which includes the work you do turning an input into an output. You can intervene at any of these three points, which creates additional time. Let’s look at each area closer:
Simplify your outputs. In some cases, you may want to set the bar lower. When is a product good enough to be shipped? Some bells and whistles are not necessary and can halt progress. When you set limits, this will help you be more effective and efficient.
Simplify your inputs. Can you get the same result with less information? If so, use that approach. When you are creating something, it is common to have a tendency to over-prepare or to spend too much time in research. As a rule of thumb, use the things you know you need for the process of starting (or creating an input), nothing more.
Simplify your process. Look at all of the steps you’re doing and ask yourself whether or not they add value. If they do not add value, remove them from your approach.
6. Systemize Your Work
You can save time by establishing a systematic approach to the tasks you have to do frequently. For example, checklists are often a helpful way to help you monitor the processes. What is your system to process your inputs? Do you use even though this chart before?
You leave your car keys in the same place to save time, right? This is a simplified form of systemizing. Apply this kind of approach to your work.
7. Automate Your Work
Taking a systematic process and automating it can save you a lot of time. Before you automate it, simplify the process as much as possible. Make sure that each part of the process is truly required and is controlled. Automating an uncontrolled process will not help you save time.
[Tweet “Automating misery gives automated misery.”]
Here are a couple of examples of where automation works well:
- Automatic invoicing saves a lot of time and effort.
- When you find yourself using the same portions of text, textexpanders are very helpful. A simple shortcut can paste a large portion of text into a document.
- If This Then That is a powerful application that can help save you time in many ways. Once you set up a “recipe” you can get an automatic email when it is going to rain, backup photos you post to Facebook automatically, automatically save your contacts to a Google Spreadsheet and much more.
8. Delegate Your Work
When you delegate tasks or projects to staff or team members, this can give you extra time. The challenge is often that you are the one to decide what to delegate. Not sure how to make a decision? Look at your checklist. Find the items that you keep putting off or you know are not the best fit for your skill set. You should delegate when someone else is better skilled, or it is cheaper to have someone else to handle a task.
When a new employee joins your team, you delegate, right? That gives them work to do and also gives you extra time. The problem lies when people only delegate when they don’t have enough time.
9. Outsource Your Work
In many cases, it is very beneficial to hire some outside assistance. The number of freelancers available worldwide is on the rise. For any area that requires special skills, you can either acquire or outsource. For example, when you design skills are not spectacular, it is better to outsource your layout and web design. This will save you time, and you will also have a better overall result.
10. Do Your Work Faster
There is nothing wrong with working faster in certain areas. I personally learned to read faster by taking this workshop that raised my reading speed from 250 words per minute to 750 words per minute. When I read a book that is 55,000 words in length, I now save myself about two and a half hours of my time by reading faster. Another area that is helpful to develop speed is in typing. The faster you type, the more you can communicate and you can save time in this area as well. Both of these skills are well worth the investment.
Mindfully Multitask When Possible
There are some times when it is wise to multitask. For example, you can cut your lawn and listen to music at the same time. When a meeting starts late, you have a few minutes to do other things such as quickly checking your email. What is your systematic approach when you have to wait? You can take notes in your notebook, look at your to-do list and more.
If you spend time commuting on the train or bus that can be a great time to read, write or listen to music. Just look at your list before you get on board and you can use your time wisely.
Do you have any tips on how to give yourself extra time? Please share in the comments.