Last week we looked at the idea that maybe you have too many unnecessary tasks in your daily life.
I’m probably guilty of it, but I think I notice those tasks more than others.
In that post last week I shared a few examples of things that you could probably remove from your daily schedule, but today we’re going to expand on that list. We’re going to get specific about what you can do to free up an incredible amount of time in your daily life.
These examples come from own life. I’m guilty of adding more than subtracting just as much as anybody, but this list also includes things that I’ve seen or still see some of my friends and colleagues doing with their lives.
So let’s get into the list and start saving some time in our lives.
This is one I mentioned in the post last week. They were one of my biggest pet peeves when I worked in the corporate world. I walked out of so many meetings feeling like I had just wasted a half hour or hour of my life. I usually felt like the leader of the meeting could have sent a group email out and covered everything. That would have saved everyone involved some time.
There are exceptions to this one. Some meetings are necessary. There are exceptions to every item on this list, but if you’re honest with yourself then you probably don’t need to schedule as many meetings as you are right now. Most of us are talking about gaining a few hours each week and how nice that would be.
Cut out one meeting a week and you have one hour right there.
2. Phone Calls
This is another one that is trying for me. I’ll get off a phone call and think that things could have been handled just as easily with an email. And an email is less interruptive. I like that. You can check email whenever you want and however it fits into your schedule, but phone calls, especially unscheduled ones, are harder to fit in.
And emails don’t usually have small talk. I don’t mind a little small talk now and then, but it adds up. I like email because it usually gets to the point.
3. Repetitive Tasks
This one is more general, but I’ve noticed it with my email lately. I’ll find myself sending the same email to multiple people and that will kind of make me think that I should just save the response and copy and paste it when people ask the same question.
Or even better I’ll try to get ahead of the situation and figure out how to prevent the question from being answered.
For example, early on in the GBW days writers would ask where to find free-use photos for blog posts. After typing the same email about 20 times it finally dawned on me that I should create a list in a document and share the document with every new writer.
It’s obvious now, but it’s not always obvious when you’re doing the task over and over thinking it’s normal.
4. Hobbies (More than one…)
Rod Stewart of all people taught me this one. And by that I mean that I read it in his book. He said that his father told him that every man needs a vocation, a sport and a hobby, but not more than one of each.
I thought that was a pretty good way to live a life. If you start getting too many of one or the other you’re going to start getting too busy.
I know people that try to do too much. It’s good to be active with friends and with something you love, but if you’re in a softball league, volleyball league and more leagues and things then your free time is going to be pretty limited.
You’ll have to learn how to tell people no and take control of your time a little more.
5. TV (More than one show at a time…)
This one is something I’ve fallen into especially with Netflix. I’ll catch myself watching three shows at once and that usually leads to big time sucks. The shows can be very entertaining and that’s fine, but now I try to limit myself to one show at a time. And I’ll try to stop watching any Netflix at all for a few weeks once in awhile.
With so much TV content out there now this could be an important one. Skip out on just one show and that could save multiple hours every week.
Do you really need to pay attention to the news?
You might be surprised if you stop paying attention to it that you don’t really miss it. People have long said to each other that the news is nothing, but bad news. There is plenty of good going on in the world and you’ll notice those things the more you turn off the TV news or even the online news.
I stopped paying attention to politics quite a few years ago and I haven’t missed it one bit. Sometimes people will try to talk politics with me and I’ll tell them that I really don’t know anything about it and I’ll get a weird look, but that’s about it.
It’s a huge burden off your mind if you don’t pay attention to the news and it also frees up time from watching TV and reading articles that really don’t have any substance below the surface.
7. Blogs, Emails, Social Media (Yep, that means Facebook…)
This one builds on the last one in a way. I notice from time to time that I’m getting news from social media and email that I subscribe to.
I also find that at times I’m subscribe to more accounts than I realize. That leads to a bit too much time looking at these channels especially Twitter and things like that. It’s easy to get into a trap of following too many accounts. You go back and back and there is just no need for it all.
So from time to time I start removing accounts that I follow. I just did it today with Twitter. I had started following too many and it felt good to purge some of them.
And several years ago I stopped using Facebook just about all together and haven’t missed it one bit.
8. Time Sucking Clients
Sometimes you just have to move on from a client. It’s a tricky balance, but there have been times when a lot of my time or our time here at GBW is taken up by one client. That probably will always happen somewhat, but at some point you just have to call it and move on.
No one is wrong. You might be irritated with the client, but it’s just a sign that what you provide is not what they’re looking for and it’s not good for either party if you continue.
You have to either find a way to make it more efficient and so that both parties are happy or just call it and move on.
9. Time Sucking Employees
And the same can be true for employees. If one employee is taking up too much of your time for too long than it’s time to move on from them. You might not be a good fit for them as an employer and the other way around. It’s best for both parties to look for other options.
Finally, it’s good to purge apps on your phone once in awhile. Don’t just look for the ones that you don’t use very often, but look at the ones that you use all the time. That is where you can really save some time in your week. Games, news, social media, etc. Start looking at those that you use a little too often and delete it and see how it goes. You might not miss it.
Just about all of us complain about being too busy during the day. The truth is that it’s our own fault for filling up our days. It makes us feel good in a way to be busy all the time. But in order to feel busy we add things that don’t really need to be part of our daily schedules. So look at some of the things on this list and start removing. You might be surprised at the time you get back in your days, weeks and months. That’s a lot of opportunity for growth.