We all want more time in our busy lives. With work, family, and other obligations, days can easily get filled up with tasks and responsibilities.
To find more time in the day, try forming time-saving habits. These habits may seem small, but they can add up to extra time.
Here are some ideas for daily time saving habits to try:
- Plan out your day the night before. Spend 5–10 minutes mapping out a schedule for the next day. Knowing what’s on your agenda ahead of time helps you mentally prepare and make the most of your time.
- Wake up earlier. Waking up earlier by 30–60 minutes gives you extra time in the morning for a routine. Use it to exercise, meditate, prep lunches, or knock out a few tasks before the day gets hectic.
- Optimize your shower routine for efficiency. Set a timer for 5–7 minutes. The pressure will keep you focused, so you waste less time in the shower.
- Lay out clothes, bags, keys the night before. To avoid rushing in the morning, gather everything you need for the next day in advance.
- Group related tasks together. To save time, group similar tasks like replying to emails and do them together instead of doing them sporadically throughout the day.
- Automate and outsource. Take advantage of apps and services that can save you time by managing finances, scheduling appointments, or delivering groceries. Paying someone to mow your lawn also frees up your weekend.
- Limit social media. You can schedule specific times to browse feeds or install apps, which will limit access during certain parts of the day. It’s easy to lose track of time mindlessly scrolling.
- Eat easy grab-and-go foods. Spend less time prepping elaborate meals every day. You can quickly prepare simple meals like avocado toast, oatmeal, or a banana with nut butter in just a few minutes.
Just try them once and then add your own daily time saving habits.
Just Getting an extra hour of sleep sets my day up for success. So, I always sleep early.
I limit blue light and go to bed at a standard time to ensure I get those precious ZZZs.
One more, quick and effective habit is to keep an ongoing shopping list on my phone. This saves at least 20 minutes each time I grocery shop by cutting down on wandering the aisles.
Time is our most valuable non-renewable resource. We can always make more money, but we can never make more time.
7 Daily Time Saving Habits That Save Me 2+ Hours a Day
1. The Capture Habit
This habit, from David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, saves me around 10 minutes a day.
Whenever I have a thought or remember something I need to do, I immediately capture it and offload it to a system like my to-do app.
The core idea is that whenever I have a new task or remember something I need to do, I immediately capture it and offload it from my mind and into a system. This prevents me from getting distracted by trying to handle the task right away or mentally juggling all my to-dos.
- When I’m in a meeting and think of something I need to follow up on, I immediately jot it down in my notes app instead of trying to remember it later.
- If I get an idea for a birthday gift for my sister while walking the dog, I record a voice memo, so I don’t forget.
- Before bed, I spend 5 minutes dumping all the random to-dos that popped into my head that day into my task manager app.
This saves time and mental energy since I’m not distracting myself or trying to remember what I’ve forgotten.
Maintaining an emergency fund gives me peace of mind and saves the time of constantly worrying about money.
2. The Daily Adventure
This 15-minute-a-day habit involves asking myself each morning: “What is today’s adventure going to be?”
It encourages me to identify my most important task for the day. Approaching my top task as an adventure makes it more fun and energizing.
I ask myself: “What is the most important thing I can do today?” I approach this top task as my adventure for the day, maybe even playing epic music while doing it!
- I’m going to make my adventure for today cleaning out and organizing the spare room closet. I’ll challenge myself to do it in 1 hour and then reward myself after with my favourite takeout food.
Blocking off plenty of time for focused work eliminates distractions and keeps me on track.
3. The Rainbow Calendar
I take 15 minutes each morning to plan my calendar for the rest of the day, colour-coding activities.
This ensures my day doesn’t have big empty gaps where I might waste time on social media. Following my calendar intentions saves a lot of time.
As entrepreneur Jeff Goins says, “A well-crafted schedule allows you to be present at the moment.” When I follow my intentional calendar, I waste less time and end up more focused and productive.
- I block out time for checking emails in blue, meetings in green, focused work time in orange, breaks in yellow, and exercise in pink. Seeing all the colours makes me stick to the plan.
- If I notice blank spaces in my calendar, I proactively schedule activities like reading, meal prep, friends/family time, so I don’t default to social media.
- Using different colours for work vs. personal time helps me maintain a better work-life balance and not over schedule myself.
Automating payments on my credit cards takes just 5 minutes but saves the 30 minutes a month I used to spend on bill pay.
4. The Five Minute Rule
This 20-minute-a-day habit has two parts. First, if I’m struggling to start a task, I do it for just 5 minutes. This beats procrastination.
Second, I recognize that 5 minutes of progress is better than nothing. I use small blocks of time productively.
- When I’ve been staring at a blank document avoiding writing, I force myself to write for just 5 minutes to build momentum.
- If I only have 5 minutes before I have to leave, I’ll do a quick tidy of my space rather than nothing. A little progress is better than none.
- I remind myself that 5 focused minutes of studying Spanish vocab cards is better than 0 minutes. Slow progress adds up.
5. The Focus Phone
My phone is always on Do Not Disturb mode, face down, and I use an app called OneSec to curb mindless scrolling.
Together, these habits save me at least 30 minutes a day.
- I put my phone on Do Not Disturb when I need to be fully present, like during 1-on-1 meetings at work.
- I hide distracting apps in folders, so they are not visible on my home screen. Out of sight, out of mind.
- I limit myself to only checking emails and messages 2-3 designated times per day, so I’m not constantly interrupted.
6. The Alarm Clock
Using a real alarm clock instead of my phone saves me 30–60 minutes a day. My phone stays out of reach while charging overnight, preventing late night rabbit holes.
Without my phone nearby, I’m not tempted to scroll late at night when I should be sleeping. And since my alarm clock just does one thing, there’s no snooze button or web browser to lure me in when I wake up.
- Charging my phone in the kitchen overnight ensures I don’t get sucked into checking it when my alarm goes off.
- Using an old-school alarm clock prevents me from waking up and impulsively scrolling social media in bed for an hour.
- I charge my phone outside my bedroom, so I’m not tempted to use it before bed, which helps me fall asleep much faster.
7. No TV Alone
My rule of no TV unless it’s with friends saves me at least 60 minutes daily. TV watching alone is time I’d rather spend on hobbies, fitness, friends, and work.
Shared viewing can be great fun and bonding. But watching alone feels like wasted time I could spend reading, exercising, socializing, or doing meaningful work. As Oprah Winfrey said, “You get one life. This is no dress rehearsal.”
- Instead of defaulting to solo TV after work, I’ll call a friend to go for a walk or work on a puzzle together.
- I unsubscribed from streaming services, so the TV is not an easy option when I’m bored. I spend that time reading or being social instead.
- I host regular film/TV nights with friends, so I get my fix of shows while also being social.
Our daily schedules are often overloaded, making it seem impossible to find any extra time.
However, implementing small time-saving habits each day can open up pockets of free time that really add up over the course of a week.
Waking up a bit earlier, grouping tasks, streamlining your morning routine, and leveraging technology can help maximize your efficiency and take advantage of every spare minute.
With some planning and consistency, these time management tricks will reduce stress while allowing you more bandwidth to focus on what matters most.
Even just an extra 30 minutes makes a difference. Try out a few daily time savers and watch your productivity and peace of mind improve.