Time is the most precious resource we have. You can never make more of it — once you’ve spent your precious minutes or hours on something, they’re gone for good. So it’s important to get conscious about how you’re spending your time, and to not waste even a second that could be better spent doing something else.
Getting conscious of my time has been a HUGE focus of mine over the past few years. People often ask how I get so much done and fit so much into my life, and the answer is always that I’m incredibly intentional with my time.
If you’d like to start getting more intentional with YOUR time, try these 20 time-saving hacks I swear by — they help me squeeze the juice out of my days, and they can help you make the most of your precious time too. Check them out…
- Decide where you keep your keys and wallet, and only ever put those items in that one place. It should be somewhere that’s within easy reach of your front door, so you aren’t tempted to leave them in the wrong spot simply because it’s more convenient. This one step can make sure you never spend another moment of your life hunting for your car keys… cheers to that! (For bonus brownies points, get your kids and partner on board too — get them to pick a designated space for their school bag or wallet, and watch how much easier it is every time you need to leave the house.)
- Lay out your workout gear the night before. That way, you won’t waste valuable time (or squander your self-discipline) rummaging around for your favourite yoga pants in the dark in the morning. You will also not waste time procrastinating about whether or not you are going to work out or not — your clothes are out, so you’ll just get going.
- Do all your food shopping and meal prep on the weekends, so your midweek isn’t chaotic. You can write up a meal plan so you don’t waste time trying to think of what to cook each day (or worse, get take out, or decide on a meal, then realise you don’t have everything you need, then have to jump in the car to pick up what you should have got on the weekend.) Your future self will thank you loads for stocking the fridge with healthy food and being organised!
- Always make a double batch at dinner so you’ve got enough for the next day’s lunch.
- Alternatively, prep or make dinner at lunch. If you’re already cutting up veggies, making brownies or whipping up a hummus, why not take a few steps towards dinner so it’s halfway (or all) done. Always think one meal ahead.
- Get your food delivered. (And no, I don’t mean UberEats). There are loads of organic fruit and veg box delivery services. I mix it up and sometime go to the organic farmers’ market on the weekend, but if we’ve got something else on, or if we have been travelling and missed the markets, or we’ve got an extra full week planned, we organise a produce delivery (and high five ourselves when dinner time rocks around and we’ve got loads of fresh produce to play with).
- Automate regular purchases. Know you’ll need a box of recycled toilet paper each month? Or a big bag of dog biscuits for Rufus? Set up an automatic subscription that will deliver direct to your door. Bonus points for choosing an eco-friendly company. (We don’t have pets, but for loo paper, we love Who Gives A Crap which is 100% recycled toilet paper and 50% of profits go towards building toilets in the developing world. Good for your tush, and even better for the environment and the people who need help the most.)
- Get a digital calendar that your whole family and your team can access. That way, everyone knows what’s going on and when, so there’s no back and forth with emails, phone calls or texts trying to book something in. If my team needs to book a meeting, podcast interview or anything at all, they don’t have to call or email me to ask if I’m available, they can go straight into my calendar and see for themselves.
- Plan your week on Sunday. On Sunday, Nick and I always have a chat about the week ahead to see if there’s anything we need to book, talk about, move or organise. We see who’s doing which school pick-ups and drop-offs on which days. We put in when we are working out, when we have meetings, work, interviews, self care time, lover’s time, catch-ups with friends… everything goes into our calendar.
- Prep the day before. The last thing I do before I shut down my computer for the day is to look at my calendar for the following day and make sure everything’s in place for it to run smoothly.
- Touch it once. Don’t put things off for a later date, or get half way through something to then have to touch it again later. Take care of things on the first touch if you can and if time permits. This is great for things like emails and social media: instead of opening the email or message and thinking ‘I’ll respond later’, just do it then and there. Don’t open your emails, messages or DM’s if you don’t have the space then and there to respond. Nowadays people can see when you have opened and read it and if you don’t respond they may think something is wrong. So leave it unread until you have the space to respond.
- Do it once and do it well. You can either do something once and do it well… or you can do a shitty job the first time, and then eventually have to go back and fix it anyway (likely wasting more time and maybe even more money). So just do it once and do it well the first time. Simple.
- Simplify your options. Streamlining your choices is an easy way to cut down the amount of time you spend making decisions. You can do this in so many life areas. Easy ones are your wardrobe and food choices. Dress à la Steve Jobs by having a ‘uniform’ you wear every day. And consider eating variations of the same thing for breakfast each day to avoid fussing, time-wasting and decision fatigue.
- Remove your phone. If you are working on a project or task, keep your phone on silent (or airplane mode) in the drawer so you don’t get distracted by it. Whilst writing this post, my phone is on airplane mode in the drawer out of sight. This post would have taken double the amount of time to write if I was constantly getting pulled out of the moment with dings and pings every few seconds.
- Never go empty handed. We have a rule in our house that whenever you walk up the stairs, you must take something back to your room, or if you are going outside you have to take rubbish etc.
- Block the sites you procrastinate on. SelfControl is an amazing free app that lets you do this.
- Say ‘no thank you’ to invites and events that you don’t actually want to attend. I have a policy that if it’s not a full body ‘hell yeah’, then it’s a ‘no thank’, end of story.
- Learn on the go. Listening to podcasts or audiobooks while you’re driving, walking, cleaning the house or hanging washing is a great way to time hack. (If you’re a super speedy listener, you can even change the settings to listen at 1.5 or double time.)
- Every time you get up from your computer to use the bathroom, fill up your water bottle so you constantly have clean water beside your desk.
- Schedule procrastination time. Your brain needs some rest, and sometimes that new episode of Suits can do wonders for replenishing your mental reserves.
There you have it, my friend — 20 genius time saving hacks that allow me to do and achieve more in my life, and avoid wasting precious minutes of time.
Have you got any tips to add? Please add your top time saving hack below so we can create a long list together.