Increase Productivity and Free Up Time

I find that I am more productive when I have ample time to complete what I need to do. Right when I find a time-saving hack that actually works, another time-sucking activity seems to appear and fill the void. It almost cancels out my efforts. To combat this,  I put together some tips I use on a regular basis. I find them amazingly beneficial to free up time in my schedule while letting go of tasks or other activities that tend to hog prime real estate on it.

Have items mailed directly to you

If you know you tend to shop once a month or every two months for certain items, see if you can automate recurring shipments that are sent directly to you on a certain date. You can save time making fewer trips to the store and simultaneously save money. Amazon offers a discount to those who sign up for their Subscribe and Save Program. It allows shoppers to repeatedly reap the benefits of getting a percentage off when you have items shipped regularly.

Choose from an array of household supplies, personal care items, office supplies, other work-related items and more. It’s a streamlined, time-efficient, cost-effective way to shop for necessities. I personally have items like toilet paper shipped. Convenience coupled with paying 41 cents per unit is enough to make me do a happy dance. The fewer shopping trips I have to make, the better. It allows me to take on more client work and make more money.

Just note that not everything on Amazon can be shipped this way. See what items are eligible for this program and give your shopping list a breather. It can’t hurt to try it. If worse comes to worse, you can always unsubscribe. You aren’t locked into a contract of any sort. You can give your shelves and cabinets a reboot without having to block out time for DIY inventory control.

Do other less desirable tasks less frequently if possible

While I like being organized, it wasn’t something I was naturally good at doing. I follow tips and tricks that go with my personality and habits. I readily adopt any tidbit that’s focused on staying the most orderly with the least amount of effort. You should implement processes that are low maintenance.

For example, I have a folder of paperwork that has to be filed. I file the items once a month. I know that if I ever needed one of the papers from the current month, they sit in sequence by date so I know it wouldn’t be hard to find something if I needed it.

This is something I implement this idea whenever I can. It’s not to procrastinate and have a stack of papers waiting for me. It’s an effort to put my energy  where it’s needed most and do less desirable tasks in batches to get it over with all at once. It also frees up my schedule to make more money in less time.

Exercise your right to say no

While it’s great to catch up with friends, speak at an event or volunteer for a great cause, we can’t always fit this into our schedules. If something is going to encroach on your work or make you sacrifice something else that is more important to you at the time, you’re better off saying no.  

I personally appreciate someone saying no upfront versus committing and then canceling later. Though we all have to do this at times, I believe it should be the exception and not the rule. If you really aren’t sure, saying maybe is a good second option.

The Bottom Line

Try to find ways to reclaim your time to be more productive. Short cut your shopping efforts by having items sent to you, cut back on how often you do certain tasks and say no when you know you can’t commit to an event or task.  

Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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