Today we cover 12 smart daily habits that will save you time and change your life for the better. These habits of successful people define the very things you do every single day – so it’s crucial that you address them in a critical way.
Way back in the 1950s, an author and historian named Cyril Parkinson developed a theory that changed the way we manage time. His idea which he called Parkinson’s law affected all kinds of administrative operations around the world. His law basically states that work expands to fill the amount of time available.
Let’s say you have to write a few emails. Normally, this would only take half an hour but what if that’s all you have to do today? Well, Parkinson’s law tells us that a small amount of work can take far more time than it’s supposed to as long as that extra time is available.
Since Parkinson published this idea, several other theorists have added to his work. One observed that your responsibilities don’t just expand they also contract when time is limited. Another explained that extra time delays productivity by giving you an excuse to fall further behind.
Over the years, studies have both validated and invalidated Parkinson’s law. It’s become a sort of controversial subject. However, this research has revealed some important facts about the nature of efficiency.
For example, you can increase productivity by reducing the total number of hours that you spend working each week. When working around 40 hours over five days, people find an efficient balance between time and production but as their hours increase their efficiency starts to plummet. The same work will take longer because they have more space to fill.
By getting in the habit of putting a cap on your workweek, you can save yourself from wasting hours of your time every day.
Also read: 5 Powerful habits you can copy for success
How many mornings do you spend frantically looking for your phone or your keys? Not only is this a frustrating way to start off the day but it’s also a surprisingly large waste of time. Luckily, there’s an easy fix. You just start by creating or setting a site of place in your home.
You might pick a drawer, a countertop or a box on your coffee table. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as it’s memorable. So, from now on, that place will hold all the important items that you need when walking out the door in the morning.
Anytime you want your keys, wallet, glasses, or phone you can find them right there. Just think of it as a house for your belongings. Yeah, as long as your items are inside their little home, you know exactly where to look.
That means less stress and less wasting time. Just make sure you’re consistently putting your items back in their home at the end of the day. Otherwise, you’re going to start losing things even more often. But if you can incorporate this trick into your daily routine, you can swing by, grab everything you need and be on your way in just a few seconds.
The next time you’re doing chores or going through your to-do list, just track exactly how much time it takes to do each activity. This won’t actually save you time at first but it’s a simple and effective way to win the war against procrastination.
Well, let’s say you’re taking out the trash – it’s an annoying chore that you have to do pretty regularly. Even though you know deep down that it doesn’t take very long, you put it off anyway. You stall by watching videos or scrolling through social media. You’re essentially wasting time just to save yourself from something that you’re going to have to do either way.
So, what should you do instead? When you take out the trash time yourself it might only take you 90 seconds to remove the bag, take it outside and put in a new one. That’s 90 seconds out of the 16 hours that you spend awake and active every single day.
By framing it in this context, it becomes a lot harder to justify procrastination. What that means is less time spent putting off your responsibilities. As an added bonus, you’ll notice yourself paying more attention to how much time you’re wasting on those little things throughout the day.
Clutter isn’t just messy to look at, it’s actually a major distractor when you’re trying to be productive. It distracts you by creating neural competition which naturally grabs your attention. This is especially problematic for people who have trouble focusing.
The presence of clutter pulls their attention away from their work and it just ruins their concentration. It’ll take you significantly longer to get the same job done because your brain is distracted by unnecessary stimuli. Just try spending a few minutes at the end of the day organizing your room or your desk and that way when you sit down to work you can be as productive and efficient as possible.
When’s the best time to tackle your most important tasks for the day? Many successful people overcome that hurdle first thing in the morning. This habit was actually popularized by Ernest Hemingway who used to write as soon as he woke up.
This change to your morning routine will spare you from hours of procrastination later in the day. It also increases the pace of your work because you know your most challenging task is already behind you.
Also read: 13 Amazing benefits of waking up at 5:00 AM
Anytime you delegate a task to someone else, get in the habit of following up whether it’s an email or a phone call. Just take some time to confirm whatever it is you just talked about. Consistently following up is what’s called a preventative time-saver. You spend a little bit of time now to save yourself a lot of time in the future.
Imagine you just met with someone about a project that you’re working on. You ask them to turn their section in on Monday but they thought you said Friday so when Monday rolls around, the work isn’t even close to finished. Suddenly, you have to dedicate a huge chunk of your time to this part of the project all because of a simple misunderstanding. To spare yourself from future stress just dedicate a few minutes after every meeting to send a follow-up.
Everyone knows that the Internet can be a massive time waster but not just because it’s entertaining the Internet makes it surprisingly difficult for people to keep track of time. You’re so focused on the thousands of interesting stimuli on the screen that you forget to pay attention to the clock. Your brain is just jumping from one short-term reward to the next.
You know if you’re not careful hours can fly by in the blink of an eye. So, to keep this distractor from taking over your day, just make a habit of limiting your internet usage.
Also read: 10 Mind tricks to master self-discipline
If something’s going to take less than 15 minutes just do it right away. Don’t bother putting it off or writing it on your to-do list. These tiny responsibilities while they just aren’t worth scheduling, they’re just going to clutter your day with random busywork.
So, as soon as someone asks you for something just get it done whether it’s sending an email or forwarding some documents. Immediate action is almost always the most efficient strategy. That way you have one less thing to worry about as the day goes on.
Have you ever noticed how many small pockets of time just pop up throughout the day? Well, let’s say you have an hour-long meeting at noon then an important phone call at 1:15. So, what do you do with that 15-minute gap in between? Well, most people will let it go to waste which is why these tiny increments are often called dead time.
On its own, dead time doesn’t seem that important but each 5, 10 or 20-minute break really does add up. At the end of the day, you might have spent hours just waiting around doing nothing. You can easily fix this by choosing how you’ll spend your dead time at the beginning of the day. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in the space between your normal responsibilities.
You don’t need to be creative or spontaneous with every single thing you do. Some things are better left predetermined especially when it’s something that you do all the time. Eating breakfast – that’s a good example you can save time by eating the same healthy meal every morning. It’ll always taste great and give you energy.Like a good thing, it takes much more time to change your routine than it does to repeat it. So, don't be afraid of a little predictability. Click To Tweet
Instead of watching TV while you eat, use your meals as an opportunity to socialize. Social interactions are something you should do almost every day and not just because they’re enjoyable but also because it’s good for your mental health.Eating happens to be a great excuse to bond with the people around you. So, you can maximize the efficiency of your meals by eating and socializing at the same time. Click To Tweet
You can save yourself quite a bit of time and money by doing your errands in batches. Well, let’s say for example that you need to run to the store to buy some new shoes and get some money from the bank. What’s the most efficient way to get these errands out of the way?
Well, a lot of people decide to do them one by one. They drive to the store and then they drive home a couple of hours later. They go pick out some shoes and then head home again and they do the same thing with the bank and without realizing it, you manage to make three small errands take up an entire day.
Instead, cluster your errands together find an area where you can do all three so you can knock them out in one sitting. This strategy takes significantly less time and will free up the rest of your day to do something more productive.
Parkinson’s Law and Other Studies in Administration
The Productivity of Working Hours
Effects of Neural Competition on Attention Modularity
Impact of Clutter on Productivity