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Some Uncommon Ways I Save Time Each Week.

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This week, I am sharing a few ideas you can use to get some time back for the things you want time for.

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Episode 289 | Script

Hello, and welcome to episode 289 of the Working With Podcast. A podcast to answer all your questions about productivity, time management, self-development and goal planning. My name is Carl Pullein, and I am your host for this show.

Do you ever wish you had more time each day? Not necessarily time for more work, but just time to do what you want. 

Many years ago, this is how I felt. I wished there was more time for doing the things I wanted. I looked at my heroes from the past—being able to come home from a hard day in the factory physically exhausting themselves, to spend the evenings in a garden shed inventing the future. People like Frank Whittle (inventor of the jet engine) and James Dyson, the inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner. 

I often wondered how they were able to do it. It then dawned on me that we are not able to make more time; that is fixed. People like Frank Whittle, James Dyson, Marie Curie and others had the same amount of time you and I do. However, what these people did was decide what they would and would not do with their time so they could maximise what they had doing the things they loved doing. 

Is that not possible for you? Could you decide what you will and will not do with your time? Are you currently doing some things that may not be conducive to what you really want to do? 

Well, this week’s question had me thinking more about this, and the results of that thinking are all in this podcast. So, to get us started, let me hand you over to the Mystery Podcast Voice for this week’s question. 

This week’s question comes from Patrick. Patricks asks, Hi Carl, I’ve often wondered if you have any tips on making better use of your time. Is there anything you do that saves you time each day or week?

Hi Patrick, thank you for your question. 

I must confess that your question was the inspiration behind the video I posted on YouTube last week on how I can save around 16 hours each week following a few simple practices. 

Now, I should point out that some of what I will talk about here may not work for you, how they work for me, but that does not mean they definitely won’t work for you. You can modify them so that do work. All I ask is you keep an open mind and see how you could adopt them into your life. 

First up. Always have a plan for the day. I know; I have spoken about this a lot. But it just saves you so much time. It stops you from being dragged off doing unimportant things and keeps you focused on what needs to be done. 

Now, I am not suggesting you plan out every minute of the day; that would be impractical and never works. Instead, what I am suggesting you plan out what must be done. The things that need to be done and tasks that will prevent bigger problems in the future. When you start the day, know what you will do and when you will do it.

For example, today, I had a few calls this morning, so I kept my morning free for calls. This afternoon, this script was to be written. Now, it did not matter when precisely I would write this script; all I decided was I would write this script before taking my dog out for his walk. 

Beyond that, the only thing that was planned was an hour for responding to my emails and messages and more calls this evening. 

The problem you will have when you don’t have a plan is your day will be hijacked by fake urgencies and emergencies from other people. Fake because you will grab onto anything to avoid having nothing to do. Having a plan focuses you and ensures that what you do is relevant to your goals, projects and areas of focus. 

All this saves you time because what you do each day is moving the right things forward so they get done on time and without a lot of fuss. And you are not wasting time trying to decide what to do. 

The next tip is to reduce the number of channels you are contactable through. I found it amusing a few years ago when everyone was getting excited about apps like WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams and Facebook Messenger. 

At the time, I could not understand what all the fuss was about because we already had email, and text messaging was great. You could see what would happen when groups in these new apps were created. Instead of a conversation with one person, there were going to be conversations with numerous people, which meant a message thread would be constantly updating; to catch up with what was going on, you had to scroll back and read through everything. 

WOW! The time wasting that happens now because of these so-called marvellous inventions. The best tip I can give you is to avoid these groups as much as possible. I am proud to say I am not a part of any group—well, there is one. I still teach an English class, and the four students in that group and I have a group chat where we can communicate our absences. But that’s it. 

Sadly, companies have now jumped on this bandwagon and forced employees to be a part of a Teams or Slack group. Now bosses can constantly check in with you, asking for updates and requesting you do things. And, of course, because our boss expects us to be reading these messages instantly, we have to drop everything to confirm we have received the message and are working on it. 

If you want to be productive, being a part of all these channels of communication will destroy any chance. Aside from the attention switching cost, which can be high, it means you are losing as much as three to four hours a day just checking, confirming and replying to these messages. 

You need to find a way to remove yourself from these groups or have a set time each day for dealing with them. For instance, if you are part of a work group chat, perhaps you could check and deal with messages twice a day. Mid to late morning and mid to late afternoon. 

Don’t worry, your team and boss soon learn your patterns, and once they are used to it, they are unlikely to bother you. 

This is one of those that you may be saying to yourself that would be impossible for me. Perhaps, but have you tried? Have you considered a different way from the way things are working right now? Or are you happy losing as much as three to four hours a day? I will leave that one with you. 

Here’s one I began using around ten years ago that has saved me hours and hours. Eat the same thing every day. Now, I know with this one, most of you will immediately say, “NO WAY!” But I am going to say it and let you decide if it could work for you.

Eat the same things every day. 

Okay, I better explain. First, I am not a foodie. Food doesn’t excite me, and I see it only as fuel. If you are a foodie and love trying new and exciting things, this tip will not work for you, and I would not suggest you change. However, here’s how it saves time. 

As I have been eating pretty much the same thing every day for the last ten years or so, I have learned the fastest and most efficient way to cook my meals. It is also easy to ensure I have all the ingredients in stock at home, and I know how long it takes to cook, eat and wash up afterwards. 

This means I can use meal times as stakes in the ground for my day. I do intermittent fasting, so my meal times are 11:00 AM for breakfast and 6:00 PM for dinner. So, I have a two-hour session of work in the morning before breakfast, and at 4:30 PM, I stop whatever I am working on for an hour to deal with my communications. After dinner, I have another ninety minutes of work before my evening calls begin. 

The biggest time saving here, though, is I do not need to waste time each day trying to decide what to eat or negotiating with my wife about what she wants. She’s more of a foodie and likes to prepare her own meals, and she eats at different times than me. She also does intermittent fasting, but because her mornings are always busy, her eating window is from 2 pm to 10 pm. 

We do eat together on Saturdays, though, and I will eat whatever we decide to eat that day. That’s my cheat day. 

Next up, use a scheduling service. 

This will save you so much time and put you in control of when you are available for meetings. Now, I know not all of you will be able to do this because your work calendar is controlled by other people. But, if you work with clients, this will be a huge time-saving for you. 

Scheduling services allow you to allocate slots of time when you are available for meetings, and your clients and colleagues can schedule times with you that are convenient for them as well as you. 

Using a scheduling service means you are not going back and forth trying to find a mutually convenient time; instead, the other person can choose a time, and it will be automatically booked on your calendar. 

And no, people do not find it rude. Everyone I work with finds it much more convenient because they get to choose and schedule a meeting with you when they are ready rather than wasting time either calling, messaging or emailing you. 

Now what about finding time for those side hobbies, the things you want time for? How do you find time for that? If you study people like Frank Whittle, Marie Currie or James Dyson, you will discover they made time for their hobbies. Now, for Marie Currie, there was no TV, and TV was a rare thing during Frank Whittle’s early life. In those days, people found their own entertainment. 

There are times in the day when you have complete control over what you do. I remember when I was watching a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk’s YouTube videos, and he preached you should use 11 PM to 1 AM as your development time—when you worked on your “side hustle”. 

Today, the word “side hustle” has gone out of fashion somewhat and in many ways, that’s probably a good thing. But as usual, when something goes out of fashion, we throw everything away when there may be some grains of value in it. 

For example, I use the late evening for studying. Sometimes I will read; other times, I will watch educational videos on YouTube. It depends on what I feel like learning. But for me, that study time is precious. It helps me to wind down at the end of the day, and while I am not doing this too late, usually around 10:30 pm to midnight, it still gives me some quiet time for things I am interested in. 

However, I like to watch some TV shows, and I reserve them for Saturday nights. This way, I have something to look forward to and can relax. 

So these are just a few of the less common ways you can save yourself time. There are a few more in my latest YouTube video; I’ll link to that in the show notes for you. But to give you a flavour, there are chunking similar tasks together, getting outside to do your thinking and decision making and finding the process, not the project. 

Hope these help, Patrick and thank you for sending in your question. Thank you to you, too, for listening, and it just remains for me now to wish you all a very, very productive week. 


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