How to spend less time and get more done — 9 habits that people who are expert at time management share

June 1, 2020

Save every second there is for tasks that are worthy of your effort

First of all…Why do I care about saving time?

If time isn’t the most precious asset that all of us have, I don’t know what is. All of us have 24 hours of it. And no amount of money can buy you time even if you want more of it.

A modern office interior at night.
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

And as a full-time content creator and creative entrepreneur, few people feel the scarcity of time as strongly as I do myself. Let’s face it, creating content takes a hell lot of time and energy. Not to mention managing your clients and creating a product (and multiple products) that they love.

Even though I am already repurposing a whole lot of my content, I still struggle to show up consistently on my socials because I’m creating and curating a shitload of content for all my accounts including my YouTube channel, my Instagram account, my Facebook page, my Facebook groups, my podcast, my email list and, last but not least, of course, Medium, On which I’m trying to write and publish every day.

Because I’m trying to do this, I haven’t been able to enjoy enough leisure time. I used to watch a movie every week. And movie night offers some good old escapism and enables me to replenish ideas. But these days, I find myself increasingly torn between watching movies and writing. As I don’t want to have to choose between the two, I have taken it upon myself to figure out ways to save every second I can, manage time better, spend less time and do more.

Just as money saved is money earned, a minute saved is a minute earned.

I’ve come to realise that when I follow the following tips, I get more done within less time. Here are the tips that I follow.

A kid's hand holding a stopwatch.
Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

1. Know when to multitask

Not all tasks are created equal.

There are tasks that are meant to be paired up with another one. On the other hand, there are intellectually demanding tasks that require you to dedicate your full attention to them.

Doing the dishes, meal-prepping, cleaning and any sort of chores like that belong to the former category whereas writing belongs to the latter category. If I’m doing a chore that doesn’t require much attention, I make sure I listen to podcasts and educate myself while doing do that chore. (Youtube videos can contain distracting images and thus isn’t as good a choice as podcasts)

To some of you, this tip might sound a little too obvious. But in my country, listening to podcasts isn’t a mainstream thing to do. I make sure that I listen to podcasts or audiobooks (from Audible or Scribd) while doing my chores to get my much-needed daily dose of motivation and self-education.

Phone playing an audiobook.
Photo by Lena Kudryavtseva on Unsplash

That said, I do NOT spend every second of doing chores listening to stuff because I know some quiet time to myself clears my head. As my thoughts wander in the state of boredom, new ideas naturally come to me.

Silence and boredom are the parents to new ideas.

2. Understand that you cannot work at your turbo speed every day

I am not sure if this tip applies to men. Female bodies, in particular, with their menstrual cycles and monthly hormonal changes constantly going on, are not hard-wired to be worked with equal intensity every day.

On some days, I feel like I am in a slump; on others, I type away furiously on the keyboard, ticking off every task on the list like a superwoman.

As someone who’s time smart, we don’t beat ourselves up for being in a slump for a day or two. We pick ourselves back up from the slump and get on with our life. We know a day or two or slack doesn’t make us a lazy person or less productive in general. Ups and downs are simply part of the natural cycle that our bodies go through every month.

3. Have a clear sense of purpose, and you’ll never again struggle with motivation

What is your goal in life? Is it to become a master writer, a programmer, an expert consultant, an entrepreneur or someone of influence?

This is an important question to consider and answer if you’d like to save time on procrastination.

With a clear sense of purpose in life, you will hardly struggle with motivation.

Neon sign saying "Go up and never stop"
Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

Because your vision will spur you into action every day. I find this very true after making sure that I do work that I love (growing my own course and education-based business full-time).

Every day, because I am so hungry for growth, I don’t hit snooze or struggle with getting my arse to work after waking up.

And I don’t even need caffeine to kick start the day. After waking up, I make my bed while listening to morning motivation speeches. I immediately feel much more fired up, sufficiently so to get the tasks of the day done anyway.

4. Seek edutainment instead of entertainment

This is important because the more skilful we get, the more quickly we get tasks done.

We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.

Dr. Stephen R. Covey

When you’ve grown comfortable replacing much of your purely recessional activities with learning

For example, my boyfriend watches videos about cameras, video editing and touching up photos in his leisure time, while I read Medium articles to hone my skills as a writer to the same end.

We don’t do just entertainment. All entertainment we do is edutainment.

As you sharpen your saw day by day, you become more capable of getting things done more quickly. For example, on most of the days, I am able to write with voice input rather than type. This is what that has enabled me to publish on Medium every day. On most good days, I write as quickly as I speak. This ability comes with a great deal of practice and thinking about writing as an art form.

5. Be ruthless in cutting back on unnecessary tasks that don’t align with your long-term goal

I am not ashamed to admit this.

During quarantine, when I couldn’t get to the gym and stopped working out altogether, I took a shower only once a week. (Though I washed my hair daily to make sure it doesn’t get too grimy and gross.) But since I do not sweat all that much without exercise, I feel that saving time for shower will equal to more time to write and relax. Washing my hair will allow me to stay fresh despite not taking a shower.

This all goes to show how ruthless I am when it comes to cutting back on unnecessary tasks. I constantly seek out things that I can stop doing. Doing LESS means MOREtime for meaningful pursuits.

I ruthlessly save every second there is to save to make sure I have time for what is truly meaningful to me.

6. Don’t hesitate to hire and outsource tasks that put your talent to sub-optimal use

This is a big one.

There are always tasks that are repetitive and do not serve our personal development in the best way possible. For these tasks, I either delegate them to my employees or outsource them to independent contractors so that I can spend my time on more rewarding and challenging ones.

As a person who thinks primarily verbally who self-identifies as a writer and a speaker, I also delegate tasks that are heavily visual in nature to my team members. While they might not share my flair for words, they have a much more acute sensitivity to the principles of good design and edit videos and create images much more quickly than I do.

Person using a video-editing software on a laptop.
Photo by Matthew Kwong on Unsplash

This way, not only will I feel like doing my work more, I’ll get better over time as I keep challenging myself and daring myself to do better. This way, I save time because I complete worthwhile tasks more quickly, day by day, than I used to.

7. Be intentional with how you’re absorbing information

Some people learn better by reading; some by looking at images, others by doing, listening smelling and touching.

Woman with glasses reading
Ask yourself, ‘How do you learn best?’ Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

Whichever kind of learner you are, you’ll need to pick the right way to learn so as to acquire knowledge as efficiently as you can.

I, for example, being a verbal person, love listening to podcasts and reading books.

These are the main ways in which I learn.

No one can tell you for sure what type of learner you are. You should know that yourself better than anyone else. And I’m very mindful that I shouldn’t tell people to learn in the same way that I do. Because I am aware that how I learn may very well not be how others learn. There isn’t a best way to learn, there’s only the best way to learn for you.

8. Block out time to avoid interruptions

Why do you think Bill Gates practises the think week, bringing with him only his notebook and a bunch of books on a solitary think week in a cabin in the woods?

To think without being disrupted by interruptions.

Image source: Kalle Halden’s Youtube channel:

Even great minds do not think in greatness when they are constantly bombarded by interruptions. This doesn’t only hold true in thinking. Even when we are writing, it takes time, ideally an uninterrupted space of time, to get into the state of flow.

For example, while I am writing this article, I found myself struggling to churn out words at first, but it gets easier towards the end.

Uninterrupted blocks of time are the best possible gift that you can give to your mind for ideas to sink in and any loose ends in your brain to be tied up. When you see to that you don’t get interrupted, you can achieve anything that you put your mind to.

9. Value productivity as well as recovery

If you don’t recover from work well, you do not work well. End of story.

Brendon Burchard, the world-famous motivational speaker and coach shared his elaborate and multiple-step recovery routine, using which he recovers from a marathon like speaking tour.

Successful people know that optimising their recovery routines enables them to stay in their best shape, perform their best and avoid burning out.

And it’s important to bear in mind that recovery doesn’t only mean sleep, it also means replenishing ideas after creation.

It’s like using energy gel in a marathon.

That fuel is what that recharges you so that your muscles are less likely to fatigue. There can be no output without input.

One example of good recovery practices include:

Read after you’ve finished writing a Medium article — read, read and read. Soak in ideas, information and ways with which a writer presents ideas. These are the food for your brain, without which it will be hard-pressed to get to work properly.

What are your go-to time-saving tips? Share them with me in the comments below! 🔥⌚️

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