Time isn’t money. It’s the single greatest constituent of life. The more time you create for yourself, the more time you have to live. Thus, saving time is life saving. If you’ve been feeling a day late and a buck short, you’ve been mismanaging your time… and your life.
Here are 25 proven time saving tips employed by some of the wisest bloggers I know. Each tip links back to a source article containing additional insight.
Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time,
for that is the stuff life is made of.
– Benjamin Franklin
- Seek privacy. – “You may be totally different and I can respect that, but I need peace and quiet. I feel stressed (and inefficient) when the TV is blaring, the dog is barking, the kids are shouting, the cat’s meowing, the phone is ringing, the microwave is beeping, the washer is running, the dryer is spinning, my Blackberry is vibrating, my email is dinging, etc.” – via The Wisdom Journal
- Use visual reminders. – “I’ve found it helpful to have visual reminders to do something that’s important to me. One way to do this is writing on a piece of paper what you need to do, and in smaller text why you want to do it. Tape this paper somewhere you will see it: bathroom mirror, in front of your bed, on your keyboard. This doesn’t work if you have many reminders for different tasks, but for a couple of tasks, it can work magically.” – via Think Simple Now
- Live by the truth. – You will eventually do “hard time” for lying to yourself and others. “The truth often comes out whether we want it to or not. Lying generally just complicates the situation and makes us look bad. Look at the scandals many of our politicians fall into because they fail to admit the truth. It is much better to just develop the habit of telling the truth even when it is difficult. This will save you a lot of heartache and misery in life.” – via My Super-Charged Life
- Develop a passive income stream. – “Passive income refers to income that is generated without any (or very little) additional time on our part. Some time may be put in up front, but the payoff from passive income can last for years. Every dollar you earn in passive income is a dollar you didn’t have to earn by working. In this way, passive income puts you closer to financial independence, a stage of life where you no longer have to sell hours for dollars in order to earn an income.” – via Frugal Dad
- Complaining kills time and energy. Stop it! – “By complaining, I was putting the blame on external things instead of myself. By noticing this habit, I’ve been able to lean into my fear and not let it decide my actions. After becoming more aware of my thoughts and emotions, I’ve learned that if I don’t give in to my fears, I could choose actions that may be scary at first, but they would reap greater rewards in the end.” – via Work Happy Now
- Trick yourself into waking up early. – Don’t snooze your time away. “A very effective trick I do is to place my alarm on the other side of the room, effectively forcing me to get out of bed to turn it off.”– via The Change Blog
- It’s okay… Just say NO! – “While saying yes can take us down some wonderful roads, there’s also a ton of value in saying no. We’re only given a certain amount of hours in our lives; do you really want to give yours away so easily? If you don’t have to time to commit to a new project, complete a favor, or serve on another committee, it’s a good idea to just say no.” – via On Simplicity
- Delegate or hire a helping hand. – “What value do you place on your time during your waking hours? Let’s say I had a great idea for a side business and the capital to get it rolling, but I didn’t have the time to get started. I could channel some of that capital into hiring someone to do menial personal tasks, then channel my own time into the side business, seeing if there’s enough meat there to get things to really take off.” – via The Simple Dollar
- Use technology to automate tasks. – “Don’t be dumb like me. Make sure your backups are automated so you don’t forget, because you will eventually. For those first 2 years and 3 months, I felt like my website was invincible. But everything goes down eventually. Don’t trust yourself to make regular backups. Leave that to a computer!” – via My Wife Quit Her Job
- Stop trying to make things perfect. – “Perfection is an illusion. We strive for perfection because we have an image in our minds of what we should be, but what we are not. Realize that perfection and imperfection are a result of a conflict in your mind, they don’t exist in reality. You have to make mistakes in order to grow, don’t let perfectionism paralyze you. If you’re not failing, chances are you’re not trying hard enough.” – via Illuminated Mind
- Research it before you commit lots of time to it. – “When creating an online business, the successful person starts his company after adequate success is certain, whereas he who is destined for bankruptcy first creates a product and then looks to see if it will be profitable.” – via Finance Your Freedom
- Haste makes waste. Slow down. – A quicker, hasty pace in the short-term can lead to a more error prone set of results in the long-term. “Sometimes things get in the way, like a sick child or a disastrous house. Those days more than any other, I find the need to just stop, let things go for a little while and focus on being present is absolutely necessary.” – via Remodeling This Life
- Keep your priorities straight. – “Assess the balance in your life by creating a pictorial representation of your life. Using a pie chart you can easily see if your priorities in life are being met. Hang it up somewhere that you can see it. How does it look? Does it look the way you want it to?” – via My Dollar Plan
- Don’t waste time worrying about the uncontrollable. – “The inevitable… Some things we just can’t control. So, aren’t we better off pushing worry aside? And living our lives. There will be good in our lives. And there will be some bad in our lives. Worrying about any of this is not going to change this fact. What can change these facts are actions, by us.” – via The Jungle of Life
- Enjoy yourself. Misery is wasteful. – “Do you ever stop and think… Why am I doing all this stuff? Do you ever feel like your sole purpose in life is crossing things off lists and maintaining your calendar? Maybe if you aren’t enjoying yourself, all your time is wasted. All that time we spend bored, frightened, angry, in a hurry, or unhappy, isn’t that the real waste of time?” – via Steve Olson
- Clear clutter from your home and workspace. – “Devote a little of your time to tossing clutter from your life, and keeping things relatively clutter-free, and you’ll be rewarded with much more pleasing living spaces, with a less stressful life, and with better organization and productivity. Clutter weighs us down, distracts us, and brings chaos into our lives.” – via Dumb Little Man
- Turn off the TV! – “People don’t incorporate enough engaging leisure and spiritual activities, such as socializing, exercising or reading books, into their day. Despite having more leisure time than ever before, time spent on engaging leisure activities has actually declined over the past four decades. Instead, there’s been a significant increase in the hours devoted to what the authors call “neutral downtime,” which is mostly watching television.” – via Mom Grind
- Utilize the power of compounding. – “I’m sure that everyone reading this understands the power of compound interest. When you invest money you earn interest. Then you start earning interest on the money you earned from interest. Over many years this continues to compound and eventually leads to a very large sum of money. The same concept applies to time. If you invest time by working hard when you’re young, you put yourself in a position to succeed that will continue compounding for the rest of your life. If you waste time when you’re young, you can’t make up for it later because you’ve lost the opportunity to utilize the power compounding.” – via Pick The Brain
- Read situations and anticipate outcomes. – “I would say that I have gotten better over time at reading situations and anticipating outcomes. This helps me be more effective. I’m still improving; let me give you an example. Recently I gave permission to this construction company to have access to one of our lots to help them access an adjacent lot. Since then, trucks have been wreaking havoc on my lot. I got all pissed off and was telling my friend how disrespectful that was, making a mess of our lot, after I was so cool with them etc… His response was great. He simply said, ‘Dude, what did you expect?’” – via Best Life Practices
- If you want to remember it, write it down. – “If your memory is anything like mine it’s like a leaking bucket. And there are many great reasons to write everything down. You’ll have your ideas safely saved away instead of having them lost somewhere in the depths of your mind. If you don’t write things down you’ll forget many good and some great ideas.” – via The Positivity Blog
- Be productive while you wait. – “The moment you have to wait for anything, whip that book out and start reading. Usually you’ll manage quite a few pages while waiting. Use these pockets of time in your day, and you’ll be amazed at how much time you actually have. It’s been said that you can get a whole university education just reading one hour a day for five years. You just have to reclaim those lost minutes.” – via Joyful Days
- Put first things first by time boxing your tasks. – “Working on your most important projects first thing in the morning is a classic tip to guarantee that you do meaningful work in your day. Create a time box to work on your dreams every day, before the world out there has a chance to disrupt your plans. Time boxing is simply fixing a time period to work on a task or group of tasks. Instead of working on a task until it’s done, you commit to work on it for a specific amount of time.” via – Litemind
- Use the right tools. – “It’s easy to be a better housekeeper when you have the right tools. If your current tools make you work harder or make the task take a long time, consider investing in supplies that will make your life easier. There are many housekeeping tools available such as multipurpose spray cleaners, lightweight vacuums and steam cleaners, and disinfecting wipes that can be used for more than one task and save you time and money.” – via Homemaker Barbi
- Add value to everything and everyone around you. – If you aren’t adding value, you are wasting everyone’s time, including your own. “The biggest waste of time and oxygen that you can be is not being a valuable person. Not valuable to yourself, to your family, to society, and to the planet.” – via Alex Shalman
- Spend minutes now to save hours later. – “You have to spend a little time now to save a lot of time later. It’s the notion of giving some to get some. This ties into the idea of working smarter not harder. You can save countless hours over the long-term by spending just a few productive minutes now.” – via Marc and Angel Hack Life 😉
Marc, what an amazing collection of tips! You did well in researching so many blogs and highlighting the best of each. Thanks for including a tip from Joyful Days!
Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com says
Very good list, and extremely good topic – saving time as a life saver.
My favorite here are: #5,#7,#13, and #25
The idea of delegating, as written by the Simple Dollar – is something that has been difficult for me in the past, and also something I’ve been working on. Getting to this point, where we can feel comfortable delegating some of the tasks we have – this can be both a great way to value our time, and give someone else the opportunity to try a new task.
Great list, and I’m honored to be listed here amongst all these other very awesome articles! Thanks much!!
Glen Allsopp says
Another great post Marc, I don’t know where you get the inspiration for these awesome titles!
I had many “lightbulb” moments reading this blog today! Thank you for the tips. Now to put them in action!
Tim Brownson says
I don’t know why and it’s very unusual for me these days, but I woke up this morning really cranky.
I saw this post and thought ‘A-ha, 25 wise ideas, huh? I’ll soon blow holes in those”
Hmm, well I’m kinda struggling. I could say that Steve from ‘My Wife Quit Her Day Job’ isn’t dumb, so that wasn’t totally accurate. And if I wanted to be really, really picky I could say written notes are auditory digital cues and not visual aids, but other than that I’m not coming up with much I disagree with.
I guess I need to really work harder on this whole being a misery thing or else look for other blogs to read.
Alex Shalman says
Great list guys, and thanks for including me in it =)
Vered - MomGrind says
I love Sara’s advice “just say no.” I don’t always manage to practice it in my own life, but I’m getting better!
Great way to frame an article. I’m taking notes because I need to do a better job of that. Thanks for the link.
Hope you having a grrrrrrrrreat day,
[email protected] says
A fantastic collection of wisdom! I’m glad you found something on my site to include. Thanks!
@Tim: LOL! You crack me up.
Danelle Ice (Homemaker Barbi) says
Thanks for the mention Marc- I really appreciate it! I love the point Jonathan made about perfectionism, that imperfection is simply the discrepancy between our expectation and reality.
I know I speak for many perfectionists when I say that being able to back off and ease up on my own expectations sometime would really allow me to be more productive (and less stressed).
Danelle Ice / Homemaker Barbi
Steve C | MyWifeQuitHerJob.com says
I’m glad that you were able to find an excerpt from my blog to include in this article! I guess it’s okay to document my mistakes every once in a while:)
@Tim You crack me up!
kelly p says
An ounce of sweat is worth an ocean of tears.
Clever title! Thank you for the link!
Stumbled, Reddit and Twittered it!
Peter | The Change Blog says
Nice one Marc! Thanks for mentioning The Change Blog 🙂
Barbara Swafford says
What a fabulous list. This is definitely well worth bookmarking and Stumbling.
Thank you for compiling all of this information in one spot.
Thanks for sharing!
Catherine Cantieri, Sorted says
What a great list! 10, 14, 15, 22 and 23 are probably my favorites, but they’re all really excellent advice.
Internet Strategist says
There is only one thing seriously wrong with this post: it offers dozens more blogs that I could really benefit from visiting and I already don’t have enough time to make the rounds now!
I’ve shared this exceptional post at Twitter, FriendFeed, and cliKball so others can share in my challenge. Now if someone would please come up with a strategy to sort and keep up with our ever-growing list of worthy bloggers to read be sure to let me know.
If anyone is interested in ways to increase visibility to your blog or business I hope you’ll visit me. I’m always happy to spread the word about great blogs and businesses and share proven strategies you can use to grow.
Steve Olson says
Marc and Angel,
Thanks for this outstanding list. You guys write some of the best personal development posts on the internet. Thanks for including me, I’m honored.
@Steve: The feeling is mutual. 😉
@All: Thanks for the additional input. I’ll try to compile another link post sometime soon and include more of the frequent M&A commenters. Most of you have fantastic blogs of your own.
Jonathan | EnlightenYourDay.com says
“If you are not making the progress that you would like to make and are capable of making, it is simply because your goals are not clearly defined.”
Paul J. Meyer
Terrific tips! Haste does indeed make waste because of the constant errors caused by rushing through work.
Happiness Is Better says
It looks like I have quite a few articles to read. Great post!
Derek @ NüHabits says
Simply awesome . Honestly, I don’t have time to read all of those posts (it’s a vicious circle).
However, with your succinct account of each – NOW I DON’T HAVE TO!
Derek @ NüHabits
I think that #24 is poorly written. If anyone has come to this page, like me, feeling as though their life has lost direction, and hope to regain that… #24 is just going to send many of them into a spiral of depression. There is no measuring stick on the value of life, merely being, as we are. To say that you need to be “valuable” is going to be read by many, as working overly hard, making as much money as possible, etc. I know that’s how my parents trained me growing up, and I’m learning that it’s folly. Some of the things in your list, and on your website, even contradict that notion.
So please, consider re-wording #24. I find it distasteful, especially as someone who came here to be picked up and reminded that my endeavors are worthwhile. The rest of the list is wonderful. But even including a thought so nebulous as “be valuable”, implies that we’re worthless if we are not living up to an outward sources’ expectations. And even if you really want to say that that’s true, there’s still MUCH better ways to say it. “Waste of breath”, just… wow. That’s disgusting. Sorry, it is.
Julia Schlegel says
I think they meant valuable in the spiritual sense-caring about ourselves and those we love-‘ we are all valuable! I am sorry that you got a heaping dose of your value is mostly measured in dollar signs. You deserved more! I, too think I received that message and am trying to unlearn it.! I hope that you give yourself some time and care today.
It sounds like you feel overwhelmed or under appreciated -‘ We all deserve peace-‘ I hope you get some from the universe! Love to you, Julie
I really found the posts on this site valuable, so had to come back to respond to this fantastic post instead of just a trackback from my site.
This is a great post, the information very valuable – and #24 IS NOT poorly written.
I emphasize adding value to my team all the time (I manage a busy Customer Service group, along with Operations) and if you’re not adding value in some way – why be at work?
Adding value doesn’t mean a new innovation every day – it simply means offering the best service to your caller.
To some perhaps the suggestion of adding value is not correct – but I would disagree. My wife is also a strong believer in this and we are teaching our 6-year old the same.
Being of value doesn’t mean it needs to be related to work – it can be anything. The original post also adds “By the time your time expires, make sure you can answer how you’ve left this world a better place than you got it.” – think about this carefully.
When you do leave the world, how do you want people to remember you? Would you like for them to say “huh, who is that?” – or “oh yah, I know of him/her – they used to help a lot with this and this…”.
It can be as simple as that.
I know someone that plays the tuba and guitar for the Salvation Army; he’s left his mark on many individuals. I know of someone else who distributes socks to the homeless; he’s also left his mark.
I wish I could force some friends and relatives to read these types of posts and focus on #24 and they’ll then see how they are NOT living their lives to the fullest but only for themselves (i.e., selfish).
Great post with lots of food for thought. One that has changed my life for the better is delegating. I have come to the conclusion that it is better to pay a housecleaner so I and my family can enjoy our weekends together without feeling bad about not cleaning the house. Now we have a clean house and loads of fun on the weekend. It’s the practicality of these ideas that make them valuable. Thanks for the info.
Sam Tornatore says
Ask your self what is the most important thing to do today (as measured by consequences or impact). Discipline yourself to do that first and you will achieve more that you can now imagine.