5 simple ways to save time

Find tips to stretch an hour

Time. It's something we all want more of, but it's also something nobody can buy.

It's unfair because it seems like some people actually get more than 24 hours in a day. In reality, we all have the same amount of time to work with. But, is there a way to stretch an hour?

There just might be a way. Efficiency is a great way to buy yourself a little more time. You might not be the most organized person in the world, but that doesn't mean you should suffer by the hands of the clock. Taking it step by step is the best way to increase efficiency -- moderation is the key.

In other words, don't try to change all of your habits at once.

Ahead you will learn how to keep your life organized, not let technology suck your brain time, prepare for what you're going to eat, use the evening to help you keep up and get comfortable with limits.

No. 5: Know where to be

Scheduling used to involve a rotary phone and "penciling" someone in to the timeline of your day. Now, calendars are instant, people can invite you to events and meetings and you can keep everything in one central location.

Pick the program you like to use and stick with it -- you don't need several programs to keep you on schedule, one should work just fine.

If your appointments are organized, you can glance at your day and see exactly what you're in for. (You should also give yourself plenty of time to get to your appointment across town, but let's take this step by step).

Another thing that super organized people use is the classic "to-do" list. This could be on a paper sticky note, a virtual note, a special program or a notebook you carry with you. Just try to keep your list in one spot. You can even add completed items to your list, just to cross them off, if it would make you feel more productive. Ask true "list people" -- they do it all the time.

No. 4: Detach from your email

Looking for a way to waste hours of your life? Get sucked in to Cyber Space. Sure, many of us use the Internet to get our work done, but some of the most productive people have a "technology schedule" they follow.

If your profession allows you to do this, schedule a block of time in the morning and a block in the afternoon to deal with your email. This is easier said than done but it will allow you to step away and get several projects done before you dive back in to putting out fires.

It might even make you feel special to see how much mail you received while you were away.

If email is something you need to be near at all times for your job, then put limits on other technology or Internet uses, such as Facebook. It's used for marketing and for business, but that doesn't mean you need to creep on your college crush's photo page for a half hour while at work.

No. 3: Assert your taste buds

"What do you want to eat?" "I don't know, what do you want to eat?"

This conversation is one of the biggest wastes of time in the world. At some point someone's going to have to step up and make a decision. At work, resolve to be the person who narrows down the lunch options to three places. Better yet, be decisive and pick somewhere.

On the home front, this kind of delay in decision-making can often postpone dinner for hours -- or at least what feels like hours.

During the weekend, map out a family meal plan for each evening. This might even help save on the cash, if you're planning simple meals to create at home and shopping for the ingredients over the weekend. Breathe a sigh of relief -- it's one less thing that you have to worry about in a week. You'll do yourself a favor by planning ahead.

No. 2: Lucky ties and laundry

You've probably seen a member of your family fly around the house the morning of a big event, or the morning something is due. (Maybe you've even done this yourself). Your husband can't find his lucky tie, your daughter's work shirt is in the laundry. It could be any number of things.

Take a moment to flash back to the last time that happened.

Now, commit to preparing the night before, no matter how tired or relaxed you may be at the time -- you will thank yourself in the morning. You can't control everyone else's schedule, but you can prompt them to have everything ready. Also, if all of your things are prepared, it buys you time to help those around you.

It's never fun to start out the day in a panic. Keep it organized by doing what you can the night before.

No. 1: Work and home boundaries

We all have them: the masters of wasting time. You can find them at work and throughout life.

If you're avoiding the coffee pot at 9 a.m. because Chatty Suzie will steal 30 minutes of your life that you'll never get back, become assertive. You do not have to be mean to do this, but get your coffee (you'll need that) and politely tell her you do not have time to talk. Depending upon your personality, this might be a daily occurrence or something that you don't feel comfortable doing.

Try it once. It gets easier.

At home, set boundaries for neighbors and family. You can set the limits with which you are comfortable. You may require visitors to call first or you may be comfortable with drop in guests. Maybe you reserve Sunday afternoon for "family time."

Find a schedule that works for you and breathe easier knowing that you are in control of your time.

Distributed by Internet Broadcasting. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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