Friday, September 16, 2011

70 Ways to Create Spare Time

It seems there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done. If only there was more time. Here are 70 ideas for creating more spare time in your life.


Wouldn’t it be nice if there was more time in the day so you could accomplish everything you want to get done?

Here are 70 suggestions of things you can do to create more spare time in your life.

1. Find a new technique every day to help you cut down the amount of time it takes you to do something.

2. Plan your schedule the first thing in the morning and set priorities for the day. Make a list and tick off the important items first.

3. Have a light lunch so you don't get sleepy in the afternoon.

4. Save up trivial matters for a short session once a week.

5. Consult your list of goals and priorities once a week (or month) and revise them as necessary. Identify activities that you can do each day that will accomplish your goals.

6. Carry blank 3x5 cards with you in order to jot down notes and ideas so you don’t have to take time to remember them later.

7. Delegate everything where you do not need to be personally involved. Use specialists to help with special problems.

8. Generate as little paperwork as possible. Throw away non essential papers as soon as you read them.

9. Avoid working on weekends or late at night. This time tends to be less productive because of fatigue or distractions.

10. Give yourself time off as a special reward when you've accomplished important tasks.

11. Concentrate your efforts on only one thing at a time. Eliminate distractions that may cause you to jump around.

12. Start off by working on the most important parts, or high pay off items, of a project first.

13. Focus on projects that provide the greatest long term benefits.

14. Try to handle each piece of paper only once.

15. Skim books quickly when looking for ideas.

16. Examine old habits for possible streamlining. Eliminate unnecessary ruts.

17. Put "waiting time" to good use relax, read, organize your work, do something you normally would not have done.

18. Don't waste time regretting failures or feeling guilty about what you didn't get done.

19. Remember: There is always enough time for the important things. People find time to do what they want to do.

20. Identify your prime time and then use it for the most difficult or most unrewarding tasks.

21. Rearrange your time to fit the task. There may be times of the day that are more appropriate to the task. For example, do tiring tasks first and "no brainers" when you have no energy.

22. Use normal periods of down time to attend to other people's needs. Use this time for appointments and meetings.

23. Set goals and objectives, with prioritized strategies to achieve them.

24. Audit how you spend your time each day in order to discover patterns that can be re-worked.

25. Tackle a task the first time an opportunity presents itself. Do not waste time thinking and rethinking about how to handle it.

26. Let subordinates handle and monitor the routine, unexceptional matters and make recurring decisions that do not require your input.

27. Respect the time of your subordinates. This includes saving your own time by not frequently checking up on subordinates.

28. Learn how to end conversations and discussions once the subject has been sufficiently covered.

29. Start meetings on time and end on time even if it means using an automatic timer.

30. Discourage unnecessary meetings. Eliminate unproductive meetings.

31. When calling others begin the conversation by telling them how much time the phone call will take; then take only that amount of time. When others call you give them a timeframe in which to control their conversation.

32. Work ahead when you're on a roll so you can ease back when you're feeling less efficient.

33. Break big jobs down into smaller increments, then perform some of these tasks each day so the project moves consistently forward.

34. Don't carry details in your head use calendars, lists, and reminders to get them off your mind.

35. End each day by outlining the priorities for the next day.

36. Find productive or pleasurable ways to use idle time. Carry reading material, a tape recorder, stationary, etc.

37. Set aside a specific day or evening each week for personal business.

38. Assign routine tasks to a regular daily or weekly time slot.

39. Spend the first hour of the day doing whatever will move the day's business forward phone calls, letters, meetings, scheduling, etc.

40. Do first what you dread the most.

41. Determine the end to your conversations in your opening remarks. For example: "I just need a couple of quick answers to a short question."

42. To keep visits in your office brief, tell the person early in the conversation how much time they have, meet the visitor in the doorway, put books and papers on your chairs so the visitor cannot sit down, continue standing after greeting the visitor, etc.

43. In order to keep from being distracted by people who pass by your office, place your desk so you sit with your back toward the door or so you are perpendicular to the door.

44. Keep your office and desk as clean as possible to keep your mind from being distracted.

45. There are four basic causes of procrastination: fear, being in awe of the immensity of the task, disliking the task, or boredom. Understanding the root of your procrastination can help you to determine how to overcome it.

46. When procrastination hits, do anything -- sharpen a pencil, dial the first digit of the number, write "Dear Sir", or anything related to completing the task. Once you have begun your momentum will build up and you will more than likely continue working.

47. When procrastination hits, do nothing. Physically remove your-self from the task and ask yourself a series of questions about the job you are procrastinating and what techniques you can use to begin the task. When you return to your desk you will very likely begin the item having once put it off. Typically, in the past you may have reached for some less important task to do just to feel busy. In this case, however, you confront your procrastination and behaviorally manipulate your-self into positive action.

48. When procrastination hits, create a deadline. No task has a sense of urgency unless it has a deadline. Put the deadline in writing and force yourself to become accountable to the deadline by publicly committing to it.

49. Create a game out of tasks that usually are boring. If it’s a repetitive task you're tired of doing, challenge yourself to break a speed record or focus on improving the quality of your efforts.

50. Set a definite "quiet time" for yourself. Let everyone know that you are not to be disturbed during this time. Use this time for planning and creative thinking.

51. If you do not make contact on the phone, leave a detailed message telling the other person what you want. This gives them time to gather the information you need or to leave a message for you with the answer to your question.

52. Group similar activities together for more efficient action.

53. Determine the value of what you do. Maybe it is not worth doing.

54. Eliminate any unnecessary activities or valueless tasks.

55. Use a desk and pocket calendar and plan your activities.

54. Prepare your discussion when using the phone or conducting meetings.

55. Handle all paperwork as soon as you get it at least to determine the priority it warrants.

56. Go someplace where you can get away from interruptions, but don't make it too comfortable. For some people, working at home is not a time saver.

57. Use small note pads to keep track of tasks.

58. Don't write a memo when a post it will do. Don’t schedule a meeting when an email will do.

59. Put all meetings and appointments on your calendar, both work and personal.

60. Go to work early in order to get organized and settled.

61. Group related items, such as telephone calls, errands, meetings, visits, etc.

62. Learn to determine between job-related socialization and personal socialization. Greatly reduce any personal socialization on the job.

63. Although planning your time takes time, in the long run it will save you time. Slowdown in order to speed up. Plan ahead, map out your approach, determine your objectives, etc. so you know exactly where you are going and how you will get there.

64. Turn recurring crises and fire-fighting into routine responses by developing a set procedure for how to respond to these type of situations.

65. Every now and then do the unexpected. If you plan to work on the weekend, relax instead. Sometimes a change of pace can energize you so you can get more done later.

66. Set a realistic schedule for your day. Don’t schedule for a perfect day without interruptions.

67. Find out other people’s time patterns. Know when they are normally in their office, in meetings, at home, etc.

68. Determine the consequences for not doing something. Stop doing those things that have no negative consequences.

69. Clean out your drawers and closets to make it easier and faster to find things.

70. Throw out everything you don’t need in order to eliminate distractions.

And now a bonus hint – SAY NO. Say it often, and mean it. You don’t have to do everything. Not everything is important. Some things don’t matter. Let it go by saying no.

And here’s the super bonus hint. If you don’t manage your time wisely by implementing some of these hints you’ve just wasted your time reading this article. §

Innovative Management Group offers several management and employee training programs on time management techniques. Please contact us for more information about these productive courses.

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