There are a million different things competing for your attention. You have errands to run, people to respond to, and hobbies you’d really like to maintain. The problem is, you only have so much time and energy. At some point, you either need to drop or continue what you’re doing.
The question is, how do you get the most done in the least amount of time? In theory, we do what gives us the greatest results, and drop the activities that don’t give us what we want. But in reality, we end up spending more time that we admit on the little things. They grate away at us, taking up precious time.
But there are some ways you can get rid of those small hassles. Once you do, it feels as if a burden has been lifted. Your time has suddenly been freed up for more productive activities.
Here are 5 time-saving techniques to take back your time:
1Apply the minimum effective dose
In pharmacology, the minimum effective dose is the smallest drug dosage necessary to get the desired response in most patients. Adding an additional amount is redundant, or could even lead to harmful effects.
Not everything you do needs to be mastered to perfection. You don’t need to be a master at cooking pasta. You don’t need to count every single calorie you ingest. You don’t need to spend an additional ten hours taking something from great to perfect.
Sometimes, good enough is enough. In your work, there comes a point where you’re better off sending it out rather than spending more time. Doing or consuming more than necessary can end up costing you valuable time, energy, and opportunity costs.
2Implement the 2-minute rule
If something takes two minutes or less, just do it. You’ll save time in the long run by quickly finishing up a short task. A 2-minute task may involve organizing a file, reading an email, or putting away the dishes.
Often, we spend a great chunk of time thinking, planning, or wanting to do something. The actual task, however, might not actually take that long. And once we complete it, we can cross it off our lists and move on.
The 2-minute rule is a good way to break up those longer tasks during the day. If you’ve been trudging through something monotonous, get up and wash the dishes. Send off an email you’ve been wanting to send. Getting one small task out of the way clears your day for other things.
3Instead of trying to remember something, write it down
Stop relying on your memory. Not only does it become easy to forget things, but an overload causes stress in the brain. It’s like juggling different items in your mind. It’s only a matter of time before one of them falls through.
Instead, set up a system to keep track of what you need to do. Being organized helps you finish your most important tasks and keeps you calm. You can rest easy, knowing you’re on top of everything.
Writing something down is infinitely better than telling yourself to remember something. Jot it on paper, type it out, or set up a reminder. Whatever you do, put your notes someplace where you can refer back to it.
4If you need the same item in different places, get multiples
Do you spend long periods of time in separate places? Maybe your waking hours are split between the office and home, or you own a vacation home far from your primary residence. And so, every time you go from one place to the other, you need to bring certain items.
You make a mental note to put certain items in your bag before heading out. It could be a phone charger, hand sanitizer or your toothbrush. Most times, you do a good job of bringing everything you need. But once in a while, you forget an item and suffer the consequences.
It makes sense to buy one item for each place you need it for. You might think that having one item is enough, but once you get multiple of these, your everyday routine becomes so much simpler. You don’t have to worry about forgetting something, since it’s already there at your secondary location.
5Drop the things that aren’t worth your time
There’s a certain pride associated with finishing things. You feel a sense of accomplishment in pushing through to the end, whether it’s in your work or personal life. But what if you find yourself trying to finish something that doesn’t have any purpose anymore?
It feels progressively as if you’re simply wasting time, and you feel obligated to continue simply because you started in the first place. Sometimes, it really is okay to quit. In fact, people should quit more often.
Losing interest in a TV show you started? Stop watching. Working on something that isn’t reaping rewards? Drop it and do something else. Don’t want to attend an event you’re invited to? Politely decline and find a more enjoyable way to spend your time. You’re allowed to quit the things that aren’t worth your while.
See Also: The Courage To Say No
Get Rid of Small Problems to Gain Back Time
It’s often the little things that grate at us. They can easily build up and wear us down.
Resolve those small problems. Get them done quickly, or get rid of them altogether. When you do, you’ll notice yourself feeling much better and having more free time.
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6Author: Melissa Chu
Melissa Chu helps people get productive and develop good work habits. You can download the free guide on how to set and achieve your goals.