Pre-package tasks for downtime
Rather than budgeting time for every little thing in an action-packed schedule that easily can go awry, package tasks to be done when you have a moment outside of your major daily commitments. For example, if you have five minutes to yourself, you can pay bills online, update your budget or dust a room. 15 minutes allows you to clean the countertops, 30 minutes nets you time to wash the dishes and an hour is perfect for preparing three days worth of lunches—you get the picture. It’s easier to visualize if you come up with a list of tasks ahead of time (and lists reduce the chance that you’ll procrastinate).
Add activities to wasted hours
One of the biggest time-wasters on the planet is the North American commute—so put it and other wasted moments to work. If you want to learn more about language, put on an eBook while you’re driving. Fold laundry while you’re babysitting your kid brother. Throw your iPad into your bag when you’re taking the L-Train and catch up on the news as you’re heading to work. Once you figure out your free moments, use task-packaging to slot tasks appropriate for short trips to the grocery store as well as heading out of town on business.
Enter the cloud
Web apps have been touting the promise of increasing productivity for ages, and some have delivered. Take advantage of apps that save you time organizing and lugging around computer files such as Evernote or Google Docs when you’re working at the office or at home. Most work across all platforms and have useful search features that can pull up whatever you need within a split second. Losing work is also a thing of the past as work is backed up automatically.
Pass the ball
You may be the master of your own destiny, but there are only so many things one can do by themselves. Give reasonably small tasks to other members of the household or team if you’re in the position to do so. Splitting up work such as chores or writing up a report gets things done more quickly than you’d have done it yourself, meaning that collaboration is a value-add for everyone involved if they’re shared responsibilities, not just you.
Use the resources you’ve created
These days, we place a lot of importance on doing what we love, and a lot of those things can help us make money in the long run. We’re told that any committed individual can find the time to write a personal blog, create an influential social media account, or pull together a great network—and that’s true. They all save you time and put you in a favourable position in your career. However, these activities are pointless unless you pull the trigger and take that next step. Start pitching ideas to employers, make investments and put these support systems you’ve built to good use rather than waste another minute.