Last Thursday, I went to help clean the Church (yes I WILL now be going to Heaven, when I die) and was very inspired by the priest. It wasn’t by anything he said, it was by his “off duty” T-shirt, which read ” To save time, let’s just assume I know everything”. It got me thinking about things that actually save time – which led to this post:
Time Saving Strategies
1) Get Up Early: If you want to get things done quickly, getting up early is an excellent strategy. I can get more done in the hour between 6:00 am and 7:00 am than I can in two or three hours, later in the day. Admittedly I have to feed the bloody cats first, but then it is plain sailing all the way. No phone calls, everyone else in the house asleep, no cool stuff on TV to distract me… Early is good. Unless you have a small child, in which case you may need to adapt this idea accordingly.
2) Adopt A Positive Attitude: If you want to do something quickly, you must have a positive attitude. Quite often you see people doing something unpleasant (like unblocking a smelly toilet, or taking on a heap of filing) and they almost quadruple the time it takes by their sheer negativity. Creating a huge pantomime, where you keep pulling faces, complaining, gagging, walking away, shaking your head, looking at the clock and saying things like “I hate doing this!” just wastes time and undermines your morale. Roll up your sleeves, focus your energy on getting the task done and ignore everything else – that way it’ll soon be over.
3) Stop Trying To Be Perfect: Before I worked as a Care Assistant, it took me hours to clean just one room of my house. I’d start out enthusiastically but then slow down to almost a halt, pondering each task and carrying it out in microscopic detail. When I was a Care Assistant, however, a “cleaning call” meant being expected to call on a client and clean their entire home, in one hour. And you know what? I did it. I stripped the bed, remade it, put the used bedding on to wash, vacuumed through, mopped all the tiled floors, washed the dishes, tidied/cleaned the kitchen surfaces, wiped down the bathroom etc. all in the space of one hour. How? I just stopped fussing and accepted that what I was doing (and the way I was doing it) was good enough. There was no time to be a perfectionist. Nobody ever complained about my work either, because it WAS good enough.
4) Make Lists: I’ve put this tip off for a bit, because it is so boring and you already know it… But make lists. Don’t keep kidding yourself that you can “play it by ear”, or “find everything when you get there”. A list saves so much time, because it not only reminds you about important things, it also keeps you on task.
5) Choose Quickly: Call me a Communist but frankly, when it comes to consumer goods, the choices we have are largely cosmetic. Most types of washing powder, moisturiser, pasta, toilet paper and so forth are much the same. By all means have your favourites but don’t waste hours bothering to read all the blurb, or worrying because you can’t get a particular brand. Just think, if you grab something new, it may turn out to be better than the brand you’ve been wedded to. Now take this new decisive attitude and apply it to other areas of your life.
6) Don’t Offer Other People Choices: This is hard for people like me, who like to “please” but by not offering choices to everyone you have to deal with, you’ll save hours of your own time. If I ask my family what they’d like for dinner, we end up having a long debate, which ends in me making three different things. If I just make dinner and then call them to eat it – they eat what they are given. Or go hungry, but that is a choice they rarely make. Being decisive on behalf of others is a gift to them too, because most people enjoy being lazy and being told what to do.
7) Avoid Starting A Blog: Having a “blog” or “online journal” is a huge drain on your time. Important tasks will be left undone, as you sit tapping nonsense into your PC – just so that a few, lonely geeks, deranged Americans, sexual perverts and creepy spam bots can find out that you exist. A post can take ages to write and you don’t even get paid for writing it. In fact, the most you can hope for is going to be a comment like “LOL, I almost shot Coke out of my nose reading that”. Think of other ways to use your time and do them. You know it makes sense.