What follows is a list of ideas I collected over the course of several months, while I was working full time, which occupied 10 hours of my time from Monday to Thursday and 7 hours on Fridays. To achieve goals outside of work, I wanted to come up with strategies to optimize my time.
You may find this list unusual, but I think these are more valuable in the long-run then the usual time-saving tips.
- Strategically spend more money on things and services that others can do quickly and better than you. This will also collectively save us time and can be worth the money.
- Investments: Buy assets that can generate an income and therefore provide you with the opportunity to work less for money in the future
- Combined uses: Think of products that have multiple uses and might even do several tasks at a time or at least make them easier
- Minimalism: on the other hand, reducing the amount of gadgets and general stuff that you own can free up time. Less need of maintaining them and less distractions.
- Evaluate your purchases: Before you buy anything, put it on a list for at least 30 days. If you still need it after that time you can go ahead and buy it. This will save you many trips to stores to randomly buy things you barely use. Shopping actually takes time.
- Cook for several meals at a time: One of my favourite meals is a pressure cooker bean, grain and vegetable stew. I combine 500gr of dried beans with 500gr of whole grains and at least 1,5kg of veggies. The beans are first soaked overnight and then the rest added before cooking. It takes only 5min to prepare and can easily be made for several days ahead.
- Intermittent fasting: only eat two meals a day instead of three. No snacks either. It will save you a good hour each day for eating and preparing food. Just skip your least favorite meal.
- Eat mostly nutritionally dense foods. You can eat iceberg lettuce all day without getting much nutrition, but spending a lot of time chewing.
- Extend your life: the only true way to actually get more time is by living longer. Improve your chances of living a long life by practising caloric restriction. It is the only scientifically validated method to extend lifespan across all species tested so far. By doing the above mentioned intermittent fasting regiment you already should be able to lower your calories. If you want to go even further check out my other blog posts on this topic.
- Don't do work that doesn't earn you enough money: always strive to do the work that you can get paid the most for. This usually means providing more value to others and doing difficult tasks. That way you become skilful in what you do and improve your earning potential over time. Which means you can save and invest more, leading to early retirement.
- Move closer to work: if you have a regular job it means that you commute the path from your home to your workplace 10 times per week. Make it as short and enjoyable as possible. I prefer to life so close to work that I can take the bike and therefore combine my commute with exercise. Plus it saves a lot of money on a car.
- Finding hobbies that are combining as many benefits for you as possible. For example, I have a sedentary job so I want to spend a lot of my free time outside and move my body but I also like reading. To combine the two I switched to audiobooks that I can listen to while being out on the bicycle or in the gym.
- To save time in the gym, focus on heavy multi-joint exercises. Minimize single-joint exercises if you are not striving to step on a bodybuilding stage. There is good evidence, that single joint-exercises add little muscle growth if the compound exercises are done heavy enough. You can gain most of the benefits from strength training by doing 3-4 full-body workouts per week, hitting each major muscle group with 1-2 heavy exercises for 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps. That's a total of 3-4 hours per week of workout-time in the gym. You can even do full-body calisthenics/body-weight workouts outside of the gym at your local park, where you have access to bars.
- Buy used whenever possible. Things usually loose a lot of value when their status switches from "New" to "Used". So basically the moment you buy them from the store. Avoid this drop in value by buying most things used. But look for quality items. You want to buy things that last a long time. If you do, you might be able to sell them for a similar price again once you don't need them anymore. You can look at the used gadgets market like an extended storage unit where you can deposit the things you rarely need. Therefore things don't depreciate while they are not being used, someone else can use them and it spares natural resources too, by reducing demand for new items. This will save you time in several ways: less time spend earning the money, to buy the storage space for unused items, buying less often, earning money from selling and not to forget, the time saved caring and thinking about how to maintain all those possessions.
- Make a list of activities that you want to have more time for. Whenever you find yourself having some free time, it is good to know what you actually can do to fill this time with, so that it feels like you are having more time for these things. Because we sometimes find ourselves in situation where we seemingly have nothing to do and can't fill the gaps. But using those gaps with worthwhile activities can increase the quality of your day. This does not really save time, but it allows you to fill unexpected gaps with activities that are meaningful to you. Create a list somewhere in your phone with activities you like and sort them from short to long, so you can fill them in those gaps of free time.
- Invest money and time into eating a healthy diet. Learn about the benefits of good nutrition and implement a plan. There are many, often times opposing opinions out there, what the healthiest diet is, but they all share some fundamental principals: Cook more meals at home and eat only minimally processed foods. This will save you time, because it will spare you many illnesses and doctor visits, especially in the distant future when your body can't handle the abuse of a bad diet anymore and you get sick more easily or even develop a serious illness that might shorten your life.
- Choosing hobbies that generate an income. If you are looking for new activities to do in your free time, consider choosing an activity that might generate an income for you. Here it also helps to make a list of activities you already like or imagine you would enjoy and think of ways in which you might be able generate an income from them. With some creativity many activities can generate an income if you set it up right. Consider that it will also take a commitment and a certain level of proficiency in the area.
- Think globally what will save humanity overall unnecessary work and how can you change your life in order to contribute to those improvements in efficiency. Do we really need to produce such expensive luxury for the few richest of the world? Who needs Bentleys and Rolls Royce or private jets? Expensive products translate into lots of human work. Let's avoid expensive lifestyles that are not making us happier and instead focus on improving the lives of people who really feel it.