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By:  B. Tracy

Everyone wants more free time to do the things they love. It can take hard effort to get things done and save time when our schedules are packed with things to do. But first, in order to save time, it’s important to examine how we spend our time.

What Happened to Our Free Time?

According to time management specialist Michael Fortino, over an average lifetime, you will spend seven years in the bathroom. You will spend six years eating. You will spend five years waiting in lines. You will spend four years cleaning your house. You will spend three years in meetings. You will spend one year searching for things. You will spend eight months opening junk mail. You will spend six months sitting at red lights. You will spend 120 days brushing your teeth. And here’s the big surprise: You will spend four minutes per day conversing with your spouse and thirty seconds per day conversing with your children.

Here are five ideas that you can use in your personal life to get things done more efficiently and save time:

1.  Save Time by Shopping All At Once

When you go shopping, do it all at once. Don’t shop at one store one day, and another store on a different day. Go out and do all of your shopping on a single day in a single trip. By the way, the very best time to shop for groceries is Tuesday afternoon and evenings. Why? Store shelves are restocked on Monday after the weekend. By shopping on Tuesday, you can get in, get the greatest selection, get out fast, and get more free time.

2.  Save Time by Bunching Your Errands

When you have several errands to do, bunch them and do them all at once, rather than doing one today, one tomorrow, and so on through the week. If you get things done all at once, you will significantly increase the amount of free time you have to do the things you really want to do.

3.  Don’t Waste the Time of Others

Ask yourself, ‘‘What do I do that wastes the time of others?’’ Wasting the time of other people is usually not deliberate. It comes from not thinking about how valuable their time is. We often waste the time of others through lack of consideration.

If you are a boss or manager with people reporting to you, avoid the tendency to waste the time of your staff by keeping them waiting or being late for meetings. The more respect you show for the time of your staff, the more valuable and important they will feel. The same applies in your personal life. Show the same respect in the same way with your family and friends.

Ask yourself, ‘‘How do I waste the time of my boss? My coworkers? My subordinates? My spouse? My children? And others?’’ And then make efforts to avoid doing it. If you are curious, go and ask people. Say, ‘‘What do I do that wastes your time? How could I change the way I use my time so that it would be more efficient for you?’’ Don’t be surprised by what they tell you. By asking these questions, you’ll be able to save time for both parties.

4.  Get More Free Time by Being Punctual

Only 2 percent of people are punctual all the time, and these people are recognized and respected by everyone. Punctuality is professional and courteous. Make a habit of being on time. Remember if you’re not early, you’re late. There is no such thing as being fashionably late. It is really just being inconsiderate and disorganized.

5.  Get Things Done Quickly

Get things done by developing a fast tempo and picking up the pace. Remember, fast tempo is essential to success. Move quickly in cleaning up your house, putting things away, getting ready to go out—in all possible household tasks and responsibilities. The more things you do, and the faster you work to get them done, the more energy you have and the more you save time.

The faster you work and the more you get done, the better you feel. Most successful people work at a higher tempo of activity than unsuccessful people. They don’t necessarily do different things, but they get things done more efficiently in a given time than the average person. They produce more in less time, and as a result, they get paid more and promoted faster. Fast tempo is essential to success.

The best advice is to always focus on your ability to save time. Continually look for ways to save time by cutting down or eliminating the major time wasters from your life at work or home. Only then will you have enough time to work on the goals that are central to your success and happiness. Only then can you become an excellent time manager.


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