They say time is money, which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re not wasting it. There are plenty of ways that being productive can help you live a frugal lifestyle. At home, it minimizes waste and makes sure you stick with frugal habits. At work, it helps you make money so you can save more money (a favorite pastime of many frugalistas). But even more important is the way in which a productivity boost can increase your happiness. By getting work, chores and other obligations done efficiently, you free up more time for the things you love, like family, friends, travel or just relaxing. Use these tips to make the most of your time at work and at home with better productivity.
1. Focus On Being Focused.
One of the things that holds people back when it comes to productivity is a short attention span. It’s been made even shorter by the time we spend on our smartphones and flipping through TV channels. So in order to get your productivity back on track, you need to develop laser-like focus.
At work, this could mean setting a timer to help you stick with what you’re doing or closing your office door when you’re in immersive work mode. When your attention isn’t divided, both the quantity and quality of the work you produce will improve. At home, turn off any distractions while you’re working on a task (yes, that includes your smartphone), whether it’s cooking dinner or folding laundry. Things that once took an hour use only a fraction of the time when you’re truly focused.
2. Create Habits That Help You Get Stuff Done.
When you create schedules and routines, it can help you get more done in specific amounts of time. If you have trouble with emails constantly pinging your computer or phone, make it a habit to only check your inbox only at certain times of the day. For example, you could decide that you’ll check emails at 9am and 3pm only. Read and respond as necessary until you’re all caught up, then close it until the next time slot for checking emails. This limits distractions from other tasks while ensuring that all emails are attended to every day.
The same tricks can be used at home. Instigate a weekly ritual on Saturday or Sunday when you do meal prep for the week. In a few hours, you can have just about all the tedious work of daily breakfasts, lunches and/or dinners out of the way for an entire week. And since you’ll need to have all the supplies, you can just get your ingredients during a weekly shopping trip rather than having to stop at the store every couple of days.
3. Outsource Whenever Possible.
Many people avoid outsourcing because they believe it’s faster and/or better when they do something themselves. But the trick is to teach someone to do something well so that you never have to do it again (or can at least do it less often). At work, that might mean taking an hour out of the day to teach an assistant how to fill out specific paperwork. You’ll lose that productivity time up front, but if he now knows how to do it on his own in a manner that meets your standards, you could gain several hours of time every week.
At home, you can outsource by having other members of the family take on tasks that were previously up to you. Spouses and kids can be taught to do just about any task, even if you prefer things done a certain way. And for the truly time-pressed, you may even want to consider hiring professional help, whether it’s a professional organizer or a weekly cleaning service. The cost may be well worth it if it frees up a significant amount of time and stress from your life.
4. Use Technology To Your Advantage.
While smartphones can certainly be productivity killers, they can also be used for positive productivity enhancements if you know where to look. A number of apps can essentially be life-changing depending on what your needs are in the time-management department. Here are a few top options:
- Clear: This app takes the to-do list to a new level. It includes reminders, separate lists, and automatic syncing across devices. And the intuitive, attractive design is ideal for those who get satisfaction from checking things off their list.
- Evernote: This popular app makes it easy to take notes and bookmark items as needed. No more searching through piles of papers and Post-Its or ransacking your inbox to find what you need; everything is organized neatly in this app.
- QualityTime: If your smartphone often distracts you, this app can help. It helps you curb habits by tracking the time spent on your phone. You can also set up scheduled breaks to help control your usage.
With these simple tips, you can slowly but surely start making every day more productive. Implement these tips one at a time to make small changes that will last.