Time-saving strategies for a more balanced life.
Set a timer. Ever hopped on your computer to look for a recipe or opened Facebook to see how a friend’s vacation is going and the next thing you know, it’s an hour or more and you’re still scrolling? When doing activities that have the potential to suck you in and distract you from your primary goal, set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes and when it goes off, walk away.
Create a weekly menu. On the weekend, plan your meals for the week and buy what you need. Then prep food such as cutting up fruits and vegetables. Package foods into pre-measured portions that can easily be tossed in a lunch box. Bag and freeze smoothie ingredients so all you have to do is pop it in a blender. Cook big batches of grilled chicken or rice that can be served cold or quickly reheated during the week. The upfront effort will save time on busy weekdays. No more thinking about what to make for dinner or running to the grocery store for last-minute items. And eating fewer high-calorie, processed foods and take-out meals is healthier for you.
Excuse yourself from drama. Unfortunately, drama and gossiping don’t end after high school, and getting sucked into its vortex can waste a lot of time and energy. Next time a conversation shifts to talking about someone who’s not present or another woe-is-me tale, politely excuse yourself. Nothing good will come from hanging around all of the negativity, and you’ll lose that precious time with nothing to show for it.
Exercise in intervals. Instead of trudging along as the same pace on the treadmill, bike or elliptical, mix it up with some short, fast intervals. Speed up 10 to 60 seconds and then slow back down to your normal pace for one to two minutes to recover and repeat. Research shows that these variable types of workouts produce faster results in less time than steady-paced workouts. So, you could do 30 to 45 minutes instead of an hour without sacrificing results—you may even get better ones!
Clean your desk. A cluttered work space can be distracting. In addition to wasting time when you need to find an important document or receipt, piles of paper and files can increase stress and anxiety. When you feel overwhelmed by disorganization, it may even encourage procrastination. To create an efficient work space, find a place for everything. Set up a filing system. Invest in vertical files for your desktop. And then, always return items to their rightful place.
Go to bed a half hour earlier. Netflix will be there tomorrow, and you may have more time to watch if you hit the hay earlier tonight. Getting adequate sleep—seven to eight hours for most adults—will help you to stay focused, make quick decisions, effectively solve problems and remember things better. You’ll be at peak performance, getting more done and doing it better in less time.