There are a lot of ways you can get more done every day. You can simplify or eliminate the choices you have to make. Or you can combine activities to squeeze more things into the same time span every day. Here are my 16 best tips.
1. Get out of bed
This starts the day before. Get to bed early enough to ensure that you get enough sleep. Every person is different, but most people need seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
In the morning, you will sooner or later have to get out of bed. If you lay off the snooze button and jump straight out of bed after your alarm clock has done its job, you will find that you will not only save time but also feel more energized.
2. Listen to your favorite podcast while you are getting ready
Playing your favorite podcast while you shave and get dressed, as well as when you eat breakfast is a good way to start the day. This is your chance to start the day by learning something new or keeping yourself up to date on an interesting topic without having to spend extra time.
3. Find out what to wear the day before
If you are like me, it takes some breakfast and a bucket of coffee to get the brain going. Having to decide what to wear and having the presence of mind to make sure that I don’t end up with blue socks to a black suit is just too much.
I always make sure that I place what I want to wear the day after, ready for me to find in the wardrobe when I need it in the morning.
4. Simplify your wardrobe
We have all heard the story about how Steve Jobs simplified his wardrobe to only contain black turtlenecks and matching pants and socks. The reasoning was that he then did not have to use time on selecting his attire for the day.
I have a friend that has only black socks, that is one way of eliminating choices and thus to save time. Personally, I love to put together a nice looking attire and to play around with colors, so for me, it’s worth the time. Years back, I had a long period where I would only wear white shirts, this was my way of reducing the number of choices I had to make every day.
5. Listen to an audiobook during commute
Amazon Audible has been a blessing for me. Thousands of audiobooks from the worlds largest bookstore. With the number of customers they have, you can trust the reviews and you know that popular books will be available in audio format simultaneously as in paper and Kindle format.
In the morning, I like to have some brain food during my commute. On my way home, I mostly listen to entertaining books. I have to say that most of the people reading these books do a very good job, something that really heightens the experience.
6. Turn off notifications on your computer and smartphone
If you turn off all of the notifications on your computer and phone, you will not be distracted and loured into checking email or Facebook while you should be doing something else. Distractions not only take time away from what you should be focusing on, but it also makes you more prone to errors – something that will steal even more time.
7. Keep your meetings short
It seems like the default time for every meeting is one hour. If you call for a 45 minutes meeting at 1:15, this has a number of advantages: You save 15 minutes and people tend to be on time because the previous meeting finished in time to make it to your meeting. I find that other people appreciate a shorter meeting, and tend to be more motivated and focused.
8. Have a lunch meeting
Combine your lunch with an informal meeting. Not only does this enable you to save time, but it also makes it easier to get busy people to sit down and listen to you.
9. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails
Every email that ends up in your inbox takes both time and energy to process. Take the time to unsubscribe from the emails that you really don’t want.
10. Get some exercise – Have a walking meeting
Having a 30-minute walk with 2-3 people works really well for informal discussions where notes and computers are not needed. Try it. You will be surprised.
11. Quit multitasking
This advice might seem to be contrary to the rest of this list, but let me explain. Your brain is fully capable of listening to a podcast while you are walking. Reading while riding the bus to work also goes without a problem.
When I tell you to quit multitasking, I’m talking about switching between two or more tasks that take some effort to get done. This is where you are actually losing time by trying to do more than one thing at the same time.
12. Iron your clothing while watching TV
I find that ironing while seeing the evening news not only enables me to save time but makes ironing my shirts less boring.
13. Read it later
Apps like Pocket and Read it Later enables you to save the articles you find online so that you can read them later. Some apps even make it possible to read while offline. When traveling, I often use the time at the gate or in the air to catch up on my reading list.
14. Do your workout in front of the TV
My wife and I both have our stationary bikes in front of the TV. Watching TV makes the workout more fun and makes me feel better about watching TV.
15. Read while riding public transportation
I always have my Kindle with me. The Kindle is perfect for reading on the bus or train. Sometimes, I will email PDF files to my Kindle so that I can read them while on the move.
16. Don’t forget to think
I’m not advocating that you should spend every waking moment doing something. It’s both healthy and productive to let your mind wander from time to time. Everyone needs downtime, it’s just as important as sleep.