How I Learned to Save 3 Hours A Day

You probably dislike wasting time. Every minute counts. Right? I can’t stand wasting time, and I was wasting hours every day. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but I’d work frantically throughout the day only to see how little I really accomplished. That created lots of stress and anguish. I want to build my business, and get my finances in order…I don’t want to worry about creating income during retirement. I simply had to solve this problem.

Photo by Serdal via Flickr

I decided to do something about it.

Here’s a list of what I did:

1. Write down what I did.

I took a detailed inventory of what I did, when I did it and how I felt when I did it. Since I’m self employed, I pretty much make my own schedule. I found that I was doing the things I liked most first and leaving the other stuff “for later”.

I also noticed that I checked my e-mail many times throughout the day. I’d go back and forth for no reason between my calendar and my email. This may sound crazy and I may be the only one who did this, but let me tell you it was nuts and a huge time drain.

Once I took my “time inventory” I was able to take action.

2. Only check e-mail once per day

When I get an e-mail now, I either deal with it, delegate it or delete it. Sometimes delegating means asking someone else to take care of it. Sometimes delegating means putting it in a folder for later reference.

I don’t keep any e-mails in my inbox — my goal is to clean in out only once per day. In the past, I’d open an e-mail and tell myself I’d deal with it later. It sat in my inbox and cluttered it up. I figured that if I’m going to have to deal with an e-mail and spend the 2 minutes, I might as well get it over with now.

This was a great business idea and a huge time-saver.

3. Ask for help

I can’t do, know and understand everything. I need help. I used to spend way too much time on technical stuff for which I have neither the interest nor skill. Rather than plow my way through, now I ask for help. I ask mentors and colleagues.

Of course, I try to help others whenever I can. Sometimes, I can’t repay the people who help me most. I just help others when I can and hope that it’s cosmically fair.

So far…so good.

4. Accountability

One of the best personal and small business ideas I ever embraced was having an accountability partner. For me, having to go back to someone with a report on what I’ve done is crucial. It keeps me on track.

5. Embrace Weakness

Guess what…I’m not perfect and neither are you. I don’t get too worked up when I don’t live up to my own standards. I’m only human. I just try a bit harder next time. This saves the time I used to waste beating myself up.

6. Celebrate Success

To be frank, this has been the most difficult step. I see so much I want to do and deride myself for not accomplishing more. This is a mistake. I need to take the time to slow down and celebrate improvement. This is important because when I do, it helps me stay the course.

As a result of these steps, I learned to save about 2 hours every day. I don’t care if you want to become a financial planner, a teacher, or a barber. Saving time is critical no matter what you do.

Do you think these steps would help you? What have been the most effective steps you’ve taken to save time?

About the Author

By , on May 10, 2010
Neal Frankle
Neal Frankle found himself in a financially fragile situation at the age of 17. Both his parents passed away while he was still in high school, leaving behind a small insurance settlement. Neal sought out a financial advisor to help him invest his nest egg so that it would help put him through college. Instead, the advisor charted a self-serving course and was on the verge of burning through the money when Neal realized what was happened and fired him just in time to avoid losing everything. The experience had a deep impact on Neal and formed in him a lifelong desire to help people learn to make smart financial decisions. Today, with more than twenty-five years of experience in the financial services industry, Neal is an author and avid blogger. To learn more, visit Wealth Pilgrim.

Leave Your Comment (5 Comments)

  1. Kevin Mulligan says:

    @Kesenia: That’s a great way to hit the ground running the next day. Have the list ready to go so you don’t have to deal with putting one together.

  2. Hi Neal,

    I never been one for time-management lessons, never saw the need until now.

    I think you are right on the money. My biggest time saving advice would be to jot down tomorrow duties the night before.

    Great job, basic but necessary.

  3. Andrea Coutu says:

    Having run my own business for 15 years, I cannot agree with you more! It’s so easy to fritter away time in pursuing tasks that add no value.

  4. TWS says:

    Nice article, thanks for sharing. Its worth remembering that we can always make more money, but we can’t make more time. Manage it well.

  5. Did you write this post for me? I think you are in my head. This was a wonderful article with a few actionable tips! Thanks, Barb

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