3 Proven Ways to Save Time

These strategies will help you make time—instead of trying to find it—for the things on your to-do list.
September 2, 2014

When was the last time you complained that you had too much time on your hands? You probably can’t remember that far back. The truth is that most of us can’t squeeze into a 24-hour period all the items in our daily planners. A common mistake most people make is attempting to find time instead of making time.

So, how do you make time?

Define your most important goals: A burning desire to reach a specific goal motivates you to make time to take the required actions.

Write down specifically how you will use the extra time. Will you spend it making calls, attending training meetings, making new contacts?

Chart your time: Note how you spend each hour. Most time is wasted, not in hours, but in minutes. A bucket with a small hole in the bottom becomes just as empty as the one that is deliberately kicked over.

Organize your time to plug the time leaks: Assume the attitude that every minute that does not work for you works against you.

To make the most of your time, try these proven time savers:

1. Examine the usual daily interruptions. See how many you can eliminate immediately, screen out or delegate. Set aside a specific time for phoning people on your prospect list, making presentations, keeping up with the detail part of the job, attending training meetings, reading and sending emails, and phone calls.

These designated time blocks might not always work—emergencies occur, demanding flexibility in scheduling. But when you have a plan for organizing and investing your time, an extra hour each day will be available.

2. Analyze your energy cycle. Determine when you tend to be at your best physically and mentally. Schedule challenging tasks during those times of peak performance, and you will accomplish more in less time.

If you have more energy in the morning hours than the afternoon ones, plan your work around your morning coffee. If you’re a night owl, dedicate your evenings to knocking out important tasks. 

3. Think about time the way you think about money. The more wisely you invest time—just like money—the greater the yield. Before you invest time in a given activity, ask yourself, “Is there something more profitable that I could be doing?”

And remember, making face-to-face contacts and presentations will always be the most profitable thing you can do…. Add that to your schedule.

With these strategies, you can make the most of your life by making the most of every minute, every hour and every day.

Build habits that lead to a happier, more productive life, despite the pressures of a busy schedule, with Laura Vanderkam’s popular What the Most Successful People Do series.

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