If there is one thing in the world that you waste without paying attention, even if it’s priceless, is TIME! Funny enough, I have never met someone who has too much time on his hands. That he doesn’t know what to do with his free time. On the other hand, I have seen many people deliberately wasting their time going left, right, and center without reason. You know me, I’m obsessed by efficiency. This is why today I’m offering a few of my tricks to gain 1 hour per day:
Change your work schedule
Interesting tip from someone who drives 2 – 2 1/2 hours a day to get back and forth for work, right? Well, this is because I made the choice of living pretty far from my job. This is the price to pay to live in what I call my “vacation property”. We have woods and plenty of space… but this can’t be bought in a big city without being a multimillionaire ;-).
Nonetheless, I’m able to do it because I avoid all kinds of traffic. Therefore, it takes me the same time to go to work as compared at someone living 30 minutes away from Montreal but with a “normal” 9 to 5 schedule. So if you are able to change your schedule and start working a 7am for example, you will probably be able to leave work around 3 or 4pm. Therefore, you will save at least 1 hour of traffic each day.
The other way I was able to save commuting time is by switching to a 4 day a week schedule. I save not only on cost but also on time! This gives me an additional 2h in my week free of travel!
Outsource and get things done
I think that we underestimate the possibility of outsourcing as a “simple” employee. You can always outsource some of your work to someone else and you don’t always have to pay for it, that’s the best part!
If you have to produce reports for example, I’m sure you can make friends with an IT guy who will be able to create a macro to produce your reports much faster. In exchange, I’m sure you can do something for him by helping out in another field. This will take you a little bit of time right now, but you might save 5,10 or even 30 minutes per week!
At one point, you can also consider outsourcing chores. I used to have a housecleaning lady and I still pay for snow removal in the winter. I save so much time that I can use to make way more money than what it costs me to pay for doing these chores. I guess this is the secret of outsourcing; if you are able to pay someone to do something for you while you are making more money doing something else during the same time, you are a winner ;-).
Wake up early
Here’s a pretty obvious trick but it works! If you just manage to set your alarm 1 hour early, you won’t feel a big difference in your body but you will gain an hour easily! Unless that you are already running on 5-6 hours of sleep per day, you can certainly cut an hour a sleep. I personally went from 9 hours/day to 6 hours/day. It took me a few years to do it as you can’t drastically cut your sleep hours overnight. I suggest you try with 30 minutes at first and then, after a month or so, try cutting another 30 minutes.
Now, what is important is what you do with that extra hour. If you simply spend more time in the shower or reading the newspaper, that is somewhat useless. Use this extra hour to go to the gym or start working on a side project. The human mind is much quicker in the morning so you are better off using this resource to your benefit!
Focus and do things in bulk
A while ago, I read in the 4 hour workweek to check my email and voicemail only twice a day. At first, I found it very difficult as I was used to checking them on an hourly basis and answering them right away thinking I was giving a better service. Now, I’m able to do my email about 3 times a day and check my voicemail twice a day. It is incredible how keeping the focus on a single task makes you more productive! I’m now able to make more calls, complete more cases and meet more clients because I have exclusive time for my email/voicemail and exclusive time for the other tasks in my schedule.
When you do things in bulk, you become more productive as you are more focused on what you are doing. Being interrupted by an email, the phone or someone knocking at your door takes more time than you think. The conversation might be 2 minutes but you need an additional 5 to 10 minutes to get focused again. This is where you lose most of your time at work; concentrating on getting things done!
Do you have any other tips? I didn’t want to make an exhaustive list of how I save time during my week, I’m sure you have other tricks!
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