Yesterday we looked at my list of top 5 time wasters, so today it seemed appropriate to look at the top 5 time savers. It is hard to measure the value of something that saves you time, so these may seem fairly random. Your suggestions for top time savers are welcomed in the comment section below.
- Podcasts in the Car – I have a system that allows me to subscribe to podcasts, transfer them to an iPod that hooks directly to my car stereo (when I turn off the car the iPod is paused until I start it back up again), and delete podcasts once I’ve listened to them. This allows me to keep informed on many topics with very little effort on my part and very little wasted time. I generally go several weeks without traveling, followed by several weeks where I spend 50% of my time in the
car. Having useful content allows me to stay up-to-date without losing any valuable time that could be spent on other activities.
- Wireless Internet – I invest in wireless equipment in the places I work, live, or am likely to visit. Even to the extreme of buying wireless equipment and giving it to my in-laws neighbors in
exchange for sharing their connection when I come to visit. By having internet access readily available, I don’t have to worry about trying to find ways to connect. It just works and I can concentrate on my work instead.
- Blackberry – While Blackberries have certain addictive qualities, I’ve found mine to be a huge time saver. It allows me to carry all of my contacts, quickly check emails while waiting in line, gives me access to my calendar, and even acts as a two way language dictionary when I’m traveling in a foreign country. The email capabilities allow me to reclaim all those 5 minute chunks of time that are easily lost waiting on other people.
- External Hard Drive – This may seem strange, but having an external hard drive to back my computer up to saves me hours each month over what it would take to back up to CD or DVD. Even more importantly, it will save me weeks worth of time if my laptop is ever stolen or damaged. I can be back up and running on another computer using my back up in a matter of minutes so the hard drive virtually eliminates any potential down time from theft or damage.
- Online Banking – A good portion of time each month is spent paying bills, balancing checkbooks and other money management activities. I have found that using online banking saves me
hours each month. By using online bill payment services, I’m able to stay on top of payments from anywhere in the world. By using downloaded statements, I’m able to keep my accounts balanced with a minimal amount of effort.
Originally published on December 6, 2006.
Todd McKeever says
Can you share more on your podcast system?
Mark Shead says
@Todd – I have an older iPod and an iPod to CD Changer device (from http://www.crutchfield.com) that makes my iPod show up as if it was a CD changer. That way I can control it from my cars stereo.
I sync my iPod with iTunes to pull down all the podcasts that have accumulated. It also downloads any audio books I’ve purchased, but haven’t listened to. I then hook the iPod into the connector in the trunk. Then I can listen to podcasts while on the road. When I sync again, iTunes is set to delete any podcasts I’ve already listened to and add any new ones.
When I go to the gym I just grab the iPod out of the trunk (it is charged because the adapter handles that) and listen to podcast while I work out and then return it to the trunk.
thanks for sharing the 5 tips. I suggest a few others too. Instead of an external hard-drive I store all my data on the Internet. I am using MobileMe of Apple and I do not have to worry about loosing data at all. I am pretty sure that their backup policies are much stricter than anything I have done on my own.
Another idea on windows PCs is to activate the single click option for folders. Have you ever thought how many doubleclicks you do per year and how many minutes can be saved by changing it to one click only? You can change this in the folder settings.
In the Time Management Master I collected about 200 concrete time saving tips to gain an extra hour every day. These tips can be applied at home, at work or on the road.
Every person is different and so are these tips. Please let me know if you find something that works for you.