Time is the modern day’s most precious resource. Since there’s still no way to buy more time, the best you can do is look for strategic ways to save time at work, making the best out of every working hour.
Changing the way you manage your time may help you become a lot more productive at work as well as at home, improving your overall quality of life. To do that you’ll need to organize yourself better and self check yourself to make sure you’re avoiding activities that cost you precious time.
If you constantly feel like you need twice as many hours in a day to do everything you need to do; if you’re constantly bringing work home with you or even leaving stuff for the next day, you’re probably in need of time-saving strategies.
How can you save time at work (and become more productive)?
Most people wish they could turn back the clock and make different decisions, especially when it comes to the work/personal life balance. My parent’s generation, also known as baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964) is known as the generation responsible for the excessive importance we give work today.
I’m a millennial (born 1977 to 1995) and, even though we’re most likely to be online and available 24/7, we’re looking for a better work/personal life balance according to the information in this article from Gemba Marketing.
The most obvious way we can do that is learning how to save time at work. By doing everything we need to do in less time (without compromising the quality) allows us to make the best out of our working hours and still have time for ourselves (and our families) after we clock-out.
5 foolproof ways to save time at work
Have you ever heard the expression “work smarter, not harder”? The answer is probably yes, but do you know what it means? The explanation is simple: we’re doing a lot of things in ways that aren’t exactly productive.
Since time machines are not available on the market (yet) and there’s no way to go back in time to change the past, let’s focus on making better decisions and having more time for ourselves in the future by being more efficient.
1. Plan your day
At the end of each work day, save 5 to 10 minutes to plan the next day. Analyze what is it that you have to do and if you’ll have time to do it all. Learn how to prioritize and organize yourself to make the best out of every minute.
Taking those precious minutes to plan ahead will save you more time than you can imagine. Define which tasks are the most important and how much time you’ll spend on each of them.
Resist the urge to work non-stop from the moment you enter the office until the very last minute you’re there. Make planning an important part of your routine and you’ll soon see how it’ll impact your productivity.
2. Learn to say “no”
Your day has a limited number of hours. You should spend them doing the things you’re good at and can make you a better professional. Learn how to say “no” to those tasks that aren’t within your area or expertise or simply aren’t for you.
Nobody must feel like they have to be the perfectly compliant employees that never say no. Pick your battles carefully and follow the next tip to save even more time at work.
3. Whenever you can, delegate!
Can you tell me, right now and without thinking too much, what is it that your good at? If it took you more than 10 seconds to answer that question, you probably don’t know.
Worse yet, you probably spend more time than you’d like doing things you’re not necessarily good at. Take a couple of minutes to outline your strengths and write down everything you could delegate to someone else that could do that specific task better than you.
Delegating doesn’t mean you’re weak and can’t do everything. It just means that you’re thinking strategically and dedicating your time to the things you’re really good at and delegating the rest to other people that are really good at those things.
4. Take care of what’s most important first
See how I said “most important” instead of “urgent”? People quickly assume they’re the same thing when, in reality, they’re often not the same.
]In an ideal world you’d have time to do everything you need to do within your 8 daily working hours and go home to rest without worrying about what you have to do next. Unfortunately, that’s not what happens.
As we’ve mentioned on tip number 3, learn to pick your battles and dedicate your time to those activities, they’re the ones that are important to you. Whatever’s not vital must be delegated or postponed to somewhere in the future when you have the time for them (most likely that time will never come).
It’s essential that you learn how to separate what’s urgent from what’s important. Focusing on one ‘urgent’ task after the other will only get you stressed and worn out – and on top of it all, you won’t have the time to take care of your important things.
5. Go offline
Oh, the internet! What a wonderful place to waste hours and hours of your time searching for cat gifs (even if they look too cute to resist), unicorn slippers or filling online shopping carts with you never intend to buy.
It should probably go without saying that one of the easiest ways to save time at work is not wasting your time on social media (unless that’s part of your work) and other useless online distractions.
Being connected all the time is amazing, but it’s also one of the biggest time-stealing villains. Put your phone on “do not disturb” mode, turn off email and instant message notifications.
Get rid of all those distracting notification tones and buzzes. Basically, turn all the distractions off and devote your working hours solely and exclusively to actual work.