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 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 WorkYou cannot spend your time on things that are not giving you results. When you stop working on these tasks, you will provide yourself with 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 WorkThis 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 to reduce the frequency of tasks.
3. Reuse some of Your WorkWhat 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 a 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 WorkOne 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 job 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 at 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 WorkEverything 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 WorkYou 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 WorkTaking 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 genuinely 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, text expanders are very helpful. A simple shortcut can paste a large part of the 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.