Life just seems to get ever busier as the years roll by and our most precious commodity is often our time. We could all do with a few more hours in the day and technology continues to play a vital role in bringing efficiencies into our daily lives.
In fact, research indicates that technology saves the average person around two weeks a year – or almost two and a half years of our lifetimes.i The main time savers are the things most of us are generally already using – self-service checkouts, online banking and shopping, and mobile traffic updates. It’s certainly worth ensuring you are making the most of these time savers and spending the least amount of time on mundane tasks by setting up online shopping lists and automating bill paying.
Then to take your time saving efforts even further, there are a myriad of applications that have sprung up to help you create efficiencies in your professional and personal life. Let’s look at the best ways to stop wasting your precious time and then look at specific applications that may be of benefit.
Taming the email beast
Email is certainly nothing new. Once prized as a valuable communication tool, email is now singled out as a black hole for lost time. What is relatively new is the number of email management applications you can turn to for help. Such applications are indispensable if you use multiple inboxes, or if you have so many unread emails that you can’t organise them on your own. A good example is Clean Email which deletes thousands of old emails and organises new incoming messages automatically. It’s also becoming more common to only check and respond to email a few times a day rather than on a continual basis as it can be a constant distraction.
Avoid distractions and stay focussed
When it comes to distractions it can be hard to stay on target 100 per cent of the time, however if you find that you are spending too much time on online diversions, apps like Freedom and the aptly named Selfcontrol block irrelevant content.
There is also a growing trend away from multi-tasking that suggests it’s more effective to focus on one thing at a time, giving each task your undivided attention before moving on to the next. If that’s an approach that you find challenging, there are a number of apps that have sprung up to help you keep focussed. If you find you jump from one thing to another and end up with a stack of half-finished tasks, apps like Focuskeeper provide discipline and the motivation to complete tasks.
Save time by being aware of time
One way of saving time is to become more aware of where your time is being spent so you can reduce wasted time. While it can be a little disturbing to find out how much time you spend checking your social feeds, apps like RescueTime are great for keeping you on target. RescueTime tracks what you’re working on and suggests the best times for uninterrupted work and when you’re losing focus and trying to tackle too many tasks the prompts help you to prioritise.
Get organised and outsource
Making the most of your time is all about getting organised. Apps that help you to break down your hectic life into tasks and ‘to-do’ lists also help you to prioritise and make sure nothing gets dropped. Remember the milk allows users to manage tasks, share lists and allocate them to others so it’s a useful tool to keep your whole household or team at work organised.
It’s important to put a value on your precious time and sometimes that means getting a hand with all the low-value tasks in your life that get in the way of what you really need to do. There are heaps of apps like Fivver or Airtasker that can help you to outsource all sorts of annoying, time-consuming jobs.
Is it time to start exploring how technology can help you to be more efficient and reclaim some of those lost hours? The challenge will then be deciding what to do with all that extra time on your hands!