Time Management Increases Productivity and Lowers Stress
Ever hear of the phrase Time is Money? Effective time management can help you become more productive, lower your stress level, and leave you with more time to do other things. Here are some of the best time management tips and tricks out there.
Time Management at Home
Crock Pot- It takes just minutes to prepare and place the ingredients in a Crock Pot and set the timer. The best part is coming home to the smell of a favorite stew and knowing that dinner is ready whenever you are.
Spice & Condiment Rack – Keep the most often used spices and oils near the stove. This will cut down on the trips to the pantry looking for that oregano!
Mini-food processor- This will save a lot of time chopping vegetables for salads or your favorite omelette.
Weekly Menu- A weekly menu will save time when it comes to putting together a grocery list. It will also save you money if you only purchase items on your grocery list.
Use aluminum foil or parchment paper to line cookie sheets and bake ware to cut down on clean up time.
Clean as You Cook – Wipe up spills as you go and place dirty cookware in the dishwasher to make cleanups a snap.
Save Time Around the House
Keep active files handy – Keep files for current accounts and bills handy to reduce time required to pay bills and file paperwork.
Declutter - Use storage bins to declutter and organize your home. Not only will you like the look, it will save you time when looking for the TV remote.
Organize Your Home Office - If you work from home, an organized home office will save you time. Do I need to tell you time equals money? To save time, organize to-do items by due date: immediate, current week, 2-3 weeks, or no rush. Use shelves to organize commonly used items so that they are within reach.
Use Tax Software – Tax season is the inevitable time that comes around each and every year. Filing taxes by hand, though, can be a tedious and time-consuming task that could easily be riddled with mistakes. To avoid this, simply experiment with some of the many tax software options available as they are designed to catch these mistakes. Moreover there are many different types. If you are a student, there is student tax software available. If you are an immigrant, there is also tax software available. You get the point, right?
Hire a Virtual Assistant – Virtual assistants can perform a multitude of tasks allowing you to focus your energies on more important tasks. Common uses for a VA are: scheduling appointments, word processing, filling out routine paperwork, travel reservations, marketing research, etc.
DVR Your Favorite Program - Not only does the DVR allow you to watch programs on your schedule, you can fast forward through commercials.
Hire a Scrub Only Service – Hire a scrub only service to scrub floors and bathrooms twice a month to cut your cleaning time in half.
Keep Cleaning Wipes Handy – Keep disinfecting wipes handy in the bathroom and kitchen to make cleanup a breeze.
Use a Schedule – Schedule time to check and respond to email, return phone calls, pay bills, etc. Do not let anything interrupt the task at hand if possible. You will get more accomplished if you focus on one task at a time.
Setup a Virtual Family Calendar – Losing track of all the places your family needs to be and when they need to be there? Create a gmail account for the family and individual accounts for everyone in the family that would benefit from a calendar. Add events to the family calendar as they come up and don’t forget to invite the children so they can access it on their Smartphone calendar when they are making plans. Keep a laptop in the kitchen with the family calendar on the desktop for easy reference!
Time Management for Your Technology
Dropbox – store your files online so you don’t waste time searching hard drives or flash drives for that file. With a dropbox you can access your files from almost any device from anywhere cell or internet access is available.
Email – Create Folders for specific topics like Account Registration , Online Purchase Receipts, Taxes, etc. Next you will need to create a filter that will automatically scan your email for fields that you specify and file in the appropriate folders.
Use Unsubscribe – Still getting email from that jelly of the month club you joined? Use the unsubscribe link located in the footer of the email to stop unwanted email.
Buy a GPS – Before traveling, add the addresses of all the locations you will be visiting. This will save time looking for maps or stopping for directions. Tip – Purchase the Traffic Update Service for real-time route changes to avoid traffic jams.
Digital Photos – When saving photos to your computer, create meaningful folder names such as Yellowstone Spring 2011, it will make finding your photos easier. Looking for photos of your Aunt Sally? In Windows Photo Gallery you have the option of using People Tags to identify photos containing that person. Once you have People tags configured you can search for photos containing that person.
Productivity Apps – There are hundreds of great productivity apps that can help you complete tasks while you are away from a computer. A few of the best are: SugarSync, Vlingo, Evernote, iXpenselt, Pocketmac, and Mocha VNC.
Ctrl + A – select all
Ctrl + C – copy
Crtl + X – cut
Ctrl + V – paste
Ctrl + F – search for text
Ctrl + Z – Undo
Ctrl + Y – Redo This shortcut undoes your last undo.
Ctrl + shift + D – Bookmark All Tabs (Great for quickly bookmarking a group of tabs.)
Ctrl + Tab – switch between applications
Windows + D – View Desktop
Mac fn + F11 – View Desktop
Firefox and ie Shortcuts
F6 – highlights url address
Ctrl + Enter – type domain name and ctrl + enter adds www and .com
Ctrl + T – opens a new tab
Create a Macro for Repetitive tasks – If you find yourself performing repetitive tasks often, a macro can save you a considerable amount of time. There are macros for just about every application so you will need to do some research but the time will be well spent. Check out Automator for Mac, iMacros for Firefox, Microsoft Support for keyboard macros.
RSS Feed Aggregator – Are you finding it difficult keeping up with all of your RSS subscriptions? Use an aggregator service like feedly to organize all your favorites. I catch up on my reading with feedly while I’m having my morning coffee.
Automate your Finances – This has become a controversial topic with identity theft however, it can be a real timesaver, will reduce paper waste, and aid in monitoring your financial position.
SmartPhone Check Scan – Use your smartphone to scan and send your check deposit to your bank. More financial institutions are making this option available. Paypal states it will take 6-7 business days for your deposit to clear however, I tested it and it took 4 days.
Time Management While Traveling
International Travel – Sign-up for the US CBP Global Entry Program which allows for expedited entry into the US. Once approved, this allows you to bypass the standard Customs lines when reentering the US from international travel.
Travel Itinerary Confirmations – Drag and Drop email confirmation onto your departure date in your Outlook Calendar. Now you have all your travel information easily accessible!
Pack Lite – Learn how to pack so you can avoid excess baggage fees and baggage claim delays. Read Top Tips for Travel for more ways to save money and time.
Hotel Shuttle – If you are not familiar with your destination city take advantage of the free hotel shuttle. Not only will you save time getting to your hotel, it’s kind of nice to be met with a sign with your name on it and a helping hand with your luggage.
Other Time Management Tips
Learn how to say no- This is probably the best advice I can give on saving time. Some suggestions: offer to help at a later date, “sorry, I’m really busy right now. Have you asked ….”, “I’d love to help but…”.
Plan Ahead- When possible, plan ahead so that you will have the required resources and time to complete your task. The time spent on planning will enable you to use your time more efficiently and produce a better product.
Do you have a favorite time management tip you would like to share?