Most days I face a challenging to-do list with more tasks on it than I could possibly accomplish. That’s why I make it my mission to work as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The alternative, working extra hours or missing a deadline, is just not acceptable.
Of course, a mountain of self-help books, blogs, videos, and other materials already exists to help us learn to manage our time more effectively. The trouble is, like most freelancers, I just don’t have enough time to go through all those resources.
In this post, I pulled together some of the quickest and easiest time save hacks that you should be able to use right away. If you’re looking for even more time saving tips, you can find some more here.
Timesavers to Use Right Now
How can I get more things done? Have you ever asked yourself that question? I think that most freelancers have.
Well, at least I know that I have. Here are a few of the answers that I discovered to help save time:
- Use productivity tools. It just takes a few minutes to download a productivity tool, but once you’ve got it set up on your computer you can use it to help you stay focused indefinitely. A few good productivity tools include focus booster and StayFocused.
- Pre-plan your day. Before I end work each day, I make a list of what I need to do the next day. The most important things are always at the top of the list. The least important things are at the bottom. When I start work the next day, I already have my day mapped out for me.
- Voicemail. Unless you know for sure that you will receive an important call at a particular time, train yourself to let your phone calls go to voicemail. Better yet, turn off the ringtone. Designate two or three times a day to listen to your voicemail and to deal with any urgent business.
- Don’t multi-task. Multi-tasking when you’re busy may seem to be good common sense, but it’s not. Experts have found that trying to do more than one thing at the same time is counter-productive. Multi-tasking slows you down. It also causes you to be more likely to make a mistake. Do one thing at a time.
- Use your mobile devices. I used to hate to waiting in line or in a waiting room. What I hated most about such waits was the time wasted when I had so much to do. Fortunately, now you can turn your wait time into productive time by bringing along a mobile device.
- Pick the right project. When you choose your work projects, try to stick mostly to projects within your own area of expertise. You’ll be able to use your existing knowledge as well as apply lessons learned from earlier projects. You’ll work more quickly and your client will be happier too.
- Don’t check email. At least, don’t check it more than two or three times a day. Checking email more often merely interrupts your workflow. The same goes for anything else that you check frequently (web stats, Facebook account, Twitter, Google+, and so on).
- Have a life. Really. Schedule some rest and relaxation time for yourself. When you’re done, you’ll come back to work refreshed and ready to go. I always find that I work more slowly when I’m tired (and that’s not a very good use of time). I’ve also come up with some of my very best ideas after taking a break.
- Exercise while you work. Have you been wanting to go to the gym, but can’t seem to find enough time for to work out? Good news if you’re trying to stay fit. You may be able to combine work and exercise. This special desk featured on the Lifehacker blog might just do the trick. It’s got a built-in exercise bike and space to put your laptop. (I’ve never actually tried this, but the idea intrigues me.)
I’ve shared my easiest timesavers with you and linked to twenty more tips that will help you save time. Now it’s your turn.
How do you save time? Share your best tips in the comments.
Image by Alan Cleaver