How to save time now; how to save time all the time.
October 13, 2009 10:51 AM   Subscribe

What are the best time-saving methods you have found?

Need more time, as much as possible. Please don't suggest "sleep when you're thirty," I'm not in college. :) What ways have you found to maximize your free time in general?

What about for a definite period (say, two weeks)?

Practical methods and extreme measures will both be considered!
posted by rahnefan to Grab Bag (53 answers total) 69 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: 1. Work on something until you can say "good enough!" and then stop.
2. Lower the "good enough" bar regularly and notice how no one but you cares.
posted by PatoPata at 10:54 AM on October 13, 2009 [29 favorites]

What do you need the time to do? Work? Play? Time with a certain someone? Can you just eliminate something in your day-to-day activities? For example, do you go to a bar every night? Or, play bingo every night? You could knock those off your daily routine.
posted by AlliKat75 at 10:55 AM on October 13, 2009

This question is impossible to answer unless we know what you want to do more of and less of. We could say "spend less time snowboarding," which is worthless if you want more time to snowboard.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:05 AM on October 13, 2009

I make lists and use a timer. Seriously! I get home tired and I don't want to do anything so instead of just sitting around all night I'll set a timer for an hour and then get to work after that. The timer really helps me to have control over my procrastination.
posted by Craig at 11:07 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Make lists and schedule yourself for tasks. I have a notebook that I write all my to-dos in and I just cross them out when I'm done. I also have another list of goals for our organization for the long term, so when my immediate workload starts to peter out, I take the extra time to work on these things. It makes a huge difference to see my workload laid out for me on paper, instead of just swimming around in my head.

I do this outside of work too - I set aside a couple of hours on the weekends for laundry and cleaning and I know that the rest of that time is all mine.

I'm learning to save time in my life by sometimes just saying "No, I don't have time to get involved with X, but thank you for thinking of me!" instead of being the consummate people pleaser and taking on tasks that I really don't have time for.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:10 AM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: You don't need to know anything else. The question was what were the best methods you have found. If your answer seems so relative that it is likely not to apply to averageguy, then you have no answer. Thanks tho.

Great answers so far, thanks, keep 'em coming.
posted by rahnefan at 11:17 AM on October 13, 2009

Best answer: Set out clothing the night before.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:18 AM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Make lunch the night before
posted by IndigoJones at 11:26 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

With long-term or unending tasks I don't really enjoy, I set a time limit on how long I have to work on it. If I say to myself, "I'm going to spend one hour on this," and know that when the hour is over I can do something else, I am much more efficient than if I'm making myself do something for as long as I can stand it.
posted by something something at 11:26 AM on October 13, 2009

Response by poster: Look how many best answers! Everyone's a winner! Actually everything so far is great but the ones I predict will help me most are marked as best. Keep 'em coming!!!
posted by rahnefan at 11:29 AM on October 13, 2009

Best answer: I do everything I can online -- banking, bill paying, appt. making, -- anything, and pretty much always at work. Phone calls especially -- I'll take a break, go for a walk, or if it's the weekend, I'll do it while I'm folding laundry. I re-wear the same clothing a few times. I put my kid in the same jammies for a few nights running. I brush my teeth in the shower. I run errands at work. (I'm salaried! Sheesh.)

If I were desperate to save time, I'd eat meals at my desk at work. Oh, and we order out one night a week so we don't have to make dinner and do dishes.

We make coffee the night before, and set it on a timer. I don't know if it actually saves time but since morning time is incoherent time I expect the whole setting up thing would take an eternity in the morning. Or it'd feel like it would.

For a while, I had this idea that I would set up clothing on five hangers set aside for each day of the week for work. That I'd do it once when I was putting laundry away, and then each day I'd just grab a hanger and I wouldn't have to do that hesitant fumbling around what should I wear thing that I do every day. I never actually executed that one. The thought wound up making me tired.

I can shower, including washing my hair and shaving my legs, in order three minutes. I have timed it.

Don't skimp on time with people/things that really matter. Cut corners everywhere else. We haven't washed our sheets in six months. Do not tell my mother.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:31 AM on October 13, 2009 [5 favorites]

Before you start to do something think how well you need to do it... can you get away with doing a half-assed job, or not doing it at all?

Read only for pleasure or when you really have to ... learn to scan/speed-read for the rest of the time.

Second list-making.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:32 AM on October 13, 2009

" less than three minutes..."

that is.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:32 AM on October 13, 2009

Oh--use an RSS Reader!

It cut down the time I waste on the internet each day from 4 hours to 3 hours and 59 minutes.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:33 AM on October 13, 2009 [7 favorites]

Some things I do:

I fill in the gaps of time by doing stuff in small increments. In the past, if I had a sink full of dirty dishes and a dishwasher that was still to be emptied, I wouldn’t start the task unless I knew I could finish all of it. Now, I’ll do whatever I can, whenever I can. If I’m watching an hour-long tv show, I’ll do stuff during the commercials. (Commercial set #1: empty top rack of dishwasher. Set #2: Empty lower rack. Set #3: Load top rack. Etc).

I put stuff that needs to go upstairs or downstairs close to the steps. That way, I never go up or down empty-handed.

Instead of setting aside time for laundry, I throw a load in the washer before going to bed, throw it in the dryer in the morning before work, and fold it when I get home.

I eat breakfast in the car (which is usually just a tall glass of milk, maybe a banana).
posted by yawper at 11:35 AM on October 13, 2009

Actually, rahnefan, I beg to differ. Different time saving methods are useful for different situations. For example, if you find that you are running late in the mornings, then sciencegeek and indigojones have quite useful advice there. However, if your problem is overall time saving, then performing an action at night that you would normally perform in the morning has not 'saved' you any time, it has merely restructured your spent time. So, if we knew a bit more detail, we could make more accurate suggestions for your particular situation. It could even be the case that spending time on metafilter is wasting some precious time. Good luck. :-)
posted by AlliKat75 at 11:36 AM on October 13, 2009

Response by poster: WOW.

Shower, wash hair, shave legs, and (I infer) brushing your teeth in three minutes??? Add a video camera and that might be the most lucrative three minutes of your life. Semi-seriously.

Yeah I've always wanted to try the dedicated 5 hangers ever since seeing Brundle do it in the Fly. I have not given up on that one yet.
posted by rahnefan at 11:38 AM on October 13, 2009

As a grad student, I figured out how much, and what kinds, of my reading I could get done during the minutes of downtime during day-to-day tasks. Waiting for water to boil, sittin' on the can, waiting in line at the post office and grocery store...all of these are good for a few pages of an article or a book review. Doesn't work so well for really dense stuff, though.
posted by dr. boludo at 11:39 AM on October 13, 2009

Books on tape. Combine driving/running/exercise with self improvement (one of the rare instances where multi-tasking can actually work).
posted by IndigoJones at 11:40 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

You don't need to know anything else. The question was what were the best methods you have found. If your answer seems so relative that it is likely not to apply to averageguy, then you have no answer. Thanks tho.

If your "question' appears nebulous enough, then it veers into chatfilter territory, and thus you have no question. There's no reason to snark at people for merely asking so they can attune their answers best to your needs without playing a guessing game.

Setting things out ahead of time does help save time, but so does wearing slip-on shoes at the airport when departing, for instance.
posted by cmgonzalez at 11:43 AM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

Teeth brushing in the shower is optional!

I have to spend at least a minute brushing my teeth (teeth phobias), so I guess I wasn't counting that. If it's a day where I do the three minute shower thing I think teeth brushing is something I do as I pound around later on searching for my keys.

Something about this sort of thing, which you probably know, but I'll say anyway, is it's a slippery slope because speed increases likelihood of error and absent-mindedness. In my case, anyway. For example, I have poured orange juice into my coffee.

So I think 'saving time' probably has two components, speed and efficiency, and ideally you get them both but in my case I typically get one or the other or a cup of orange juice flavored coffee.

One thing I do believe can save time is habit and ritual -- if your keys/cell phone/iPod go to the same place every day, you won't spend time dealing with having to find them.

I've also made coffee with baby formula.

It's been an interesting year.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:44 AM on October 13, 2009

Response by poster: No snark intended to anyone, so please don't take it that way. What I mean is, it is OK if you don't have an answer without any more information than what was stated. You are not being tested, and no one made you respond. Notice how many responses it has gotten already? The responders had no more information than anyone else.
posted by rahnefan at 11:47 AM on October 13, 2009

cmgonzalez was more straightforward than I was at first; in asking for more specifics we're trying to steer you away from chatfilter. You're casting a pretty wide net here, without giving us a problem to solve.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:57 AM on October 13, 2009

Best answer: I cook all my food for the week on sunday night, basically devoting all that time to the process of cooking. I make an exception for social meals or other similar things when texture / freezing isn't an issue.

In addition to the recommendation about keeping a task list, my number one suggestion for getting things done is that when you're doing something, don't do anything else. Focus on that one thing, don't browse the web, think about other stuff, or whatever.

My second greatest timesaver is moving all my non-work or important personal email to a secondary account that I read with a separate UI that I can just shut down when I'm busy. I have no alerts for incoming mail on this of any kind. So all my chatty lists, random contact emails, and other things gets read with thunderbird (or web uis) and my professional email and address I give out to friends gets read with MacOS mail and has all the attention-killing frippery (alerts, notices, bouncing icons) associated with it.
posted by corprew at 12:02 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Good gravy. If you think this is chatfilter, then please flag it and I promise no hard feelings.
posted by rahnefan at 12:04 PM on October 13, 2009

As is well known time=money. You can buy time. Small things: I have some 40 pairs of underwear. I have probably over 100 T-shirts, countless shirts, pants etc. I wear clean underwear/clothes every day, but I only have to drop off the laundry once a month. When I shop for clothing or shoes, if I come across something I really like, I'll buy 2 or more of the same - cuts down on the amount of time I need to spend shopping and searching - finding something that works for you is time consuming.

I shop for food once a week, have an eating plan and save time like a bandit:

First develop a healthy diet - mostly unprocessed, fruits and vegetables etc. Make a diet plan where you map out your meals for Monday through Sunday - every day of the week, with requisite variation on a daily basis. Then, you take a list of what you need to buy for a week - the same list every week, hit your 2 stores where you can buy it all, put stuff in the refrigerator and save time like a motherfucker. You already know what you are eating, so you always buy the same things, spending no time thinking "what, oh what shall I eat??". You cut down on the stores you buy from to at most 2 - so you are not driving around losing time (for me TJ's and a Farmer's Store for F&V). When I hit the store, I already know where everything is, I have my list and throw things into my cart lickety split, losing no time. I'm out and done. Because my diet involves healthy cooking, it also happens to be very very simple - little cooking and no elaborate baking etc. And because I know what I'll eat depending on the day of the week (f.ex. Monday - fish day), I lose no time thinking "what oh what to cook today and how?". The process is now super fast through practice. Result: I eat healthy. I don't spend a ton of money. I do it super fast. Win-win-win.

More, but later - don't have the time right now :)
posted by VikingSword at 12:04 PM on October 13, 2009

Make phone calls on walks. Sometimes I even read on walks (just glance up every paragraph or two).

I take public transit to work, so I catch up on my TV shows on my iPod during that time. When I had to drive, I used audiobooks. (Driving feels like the absolute epitome of wasted time to me, but if I could "read" during that time, that was something productive and it didn't feel quite so bad.)

When I was simplifying my life awhile back, I zeroed in on the enormous time-suck that is running errands. Dry cleaning? Not anymore, anything in my house that required it was outta there. Pharmacy? I can order it online. Banking? All online. Target runs? I do 'em during a slow afternoon at work. Library? I request online everything I want, then dash in and pick it up. If an errand was far away from my house, I found a way to cut it out completely, or move it closer to my home or office. I run all errands by foot or bike, so that also takes care of exercise.

Other stuff. Sorting the mail? I signed up for Catalog Choice and got rid of all catalogs. For other repeat junk mail offenders, I called and asked to be taken off the list, so now the only mail I get is stuff that's actually important. Ironing? Nope, never. While I'm getting dressed, I toss it in the dryer for a few minutes with a damp towel (or no towel, that also works). I hang up everything I can because folding is too time-consuming.

I laid in a small stash of products I use regularly, not because they were on sale or whatever but because I'm saving Future Me's time so she doesn't have to make a drugstore run every time we're low on soap (we use a lot of soap).

And I'm religious about bringing my lunch to work so that I can eat at my desk and thus leave earlier.
posted by anderjen at 12:09 PM on October 13, 2009

Best answer: Take clothes out of the dryer immediately, so they don't need to be ironed. If something comes out of the dryer in a big wrinkled wad anyway, it is not high enough quality and I am finally getting the guts to weed these time-wasters out of my wardrobe.

Buy fewer clothes and wear them more often. This may not seem like a time saver, but it is for me, because I spend less time in front of my closet in the morning going, "Hmmm..."

Mercilessly throw things away (or Goodwill), and I mean with abandon! It keeps my keys and phone from hiding from me.

In the same vein, I no longer open junk mail, but throw it away before I even hang up my coat. Opt out of credit card offers.

Never leave a room empty-handed. Always carry a misplaced object that belongs in my new destination, i.e., my shoes don't belong in the living room, so if I happen to be going to the bedroom for something, I'll grab my shoes on the way. I try to do this every time I change rooms, and it really adds up.
posted by Knowyournuts at 12:17 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

I didn't mean to replicate so much that was in anderjen's post. We must have been writing at the same time. ; )
posted by Knowyournuts at 12:20 PM on October 13, 2009

Nthing the above. Adding: learn to multitask like put a load of laundry in while supper is cooking and watch supper while playing with the toddler or, read the business/techy things you need for work while on public transit. Put everything back as soon as you're finished with it so you don't have to waste time looking for things. Do all your errands that can't be done at lunch on one day, monthly if possible. Get a haircut that doesn't take a half hour or more to recreate what the stylist did. Clean all your shoes, clean out all your purses/briefcases/bags, press all your clothes and fix whatever needs fixed one day a week or whenever you do laundry. It's done and you're ready for the world. Buy clothes that co-ordinate.
posted by x46 at 12:29 PM on October 13, 2009

One more RSS reader vote - and categorize your feeds by need-to-read/ time to read blog. I have "Read Now" "Read Later" "Skim" "Photos" "New"

The Read Now list is limited to blogs that I love so much that I must read the instant they are updated. Be VERY strict about the number of blogs in this feed. I have 10 blogs that each update about once a day if not less.

Read Later = blogs I love but dont mind reading them at a later time.

Skim contains blogs that generate lots of content (think apartmenttherapy, seriousfood) and ones where I am not compelled to read in-depth.

Photos are similar to skim, in that it only takes a cursory glance to go through photoblogs.

New contains blogs that I am trying out - these get categorized into one of the above if I become vested in their content.

I also have a few subject-specific categories: eg. food, design, which are treated like the Read Later blogs.

This has saved loads of time in that a) I'm not manually, obsessively checking individual websites for updates and b) delineates what is important to read right away and what can wait until later.

Also, cancel cable and get TV shows off internet. Quality of what I watch has increased and time doesn't get sucked into watching crappy shows that I'm not really interested in but "happens to be on".
posted by kitkatcathy at 12:38 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: -kill the television
-cook a big pot of something and eat it all week
-answer the phone very selectively
-eliminate boring people from your life
-give up shopping except for food
-avoid reading and answering questions here
posted by mareli at 12:51 PM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

Combine trips, whenever possible.

Leftovers are your friend. Buy more than you need right then. Chicken, toilet paper, socks, it works for a lot of things (assuming you have room and don't go to extremes).

Google SMS service ("I'm stuck here waiting for the kid to take the SAT but I'll bet there's a Lowe's around here where I could get the window screens," etc.)

I run errands while my kids are in appointments or activities, if I'm the one who took them.

Delegate. Yes, if I want something done right I should do it myself, but I'll settle for not-so-neatly trimmed shrub done by a kid while I'm handling the laundry.

Lists and appointments. In my case, all in my phone and automatically synched with Google Calendar and Outlook. No paper lists! Paper can get lost and is less environmentally friendly.

Grocery lists compiled by kids (or other available delegate) and sent via SMS or MMS.

Audio books, learn and/or be entertained during the commute. Alternatively, use that time for phone calls I need to make.

A place for everything and everything in its place. I'm not perfectly organized and some of my stuff has a tendency to walk away (my kids love to snag my scissors and tweezers for some reason), but I know where my keys, glasses, purse, shoes, etc., are and can grab them and go, always. More organization = more efficiency.

Priorities are a big part of getting things done, because things go a lot more smoothly and I feel a lot better if I get the stuff that's more important to me or has a looming deadline done than if I get a host of other, lesser things done.

Watch TV or aimlessly surf the internet only while doing something else (laundry, cooking) or when it's the top priority thing to do.
posted by notashroom at 1:15 PM on October 13, 2009

Formerly certified in time study and Methods and Time Measurement, what works on the micro scale, works on the macro, too.

Consolidate your tasks. Walk and visit at the same time to overlay two activities. Read while eating. Start unattend-able processes and let them run to completion. Coffee while travelling. Basically, overlap anything you can.

If you have something setup, see if you can use the setup for an additional task (i.e., kitchen is a wreck from making bread, prep food for lunch/dinner so that you only have to clean once.

Consolidate travel tasks... bank, PO, hardware store, grocery, whatever. One trip.

Don't go up or downstairs inside or out with empty arms.
posted by FauxScot at 1:21 PM on October 13, 2009

Stay organized so you don't spend your day looking for things. An hour spent tidying is never a wasted hour.
posted by debbie_ann at 1:24 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Make lunch the night before

If you were doing multiple lunches/meals at the same time, it'd save time, but if you spend 5 minutes making lunch on Monday night and it'd take the same 5 minutes on Tuesday morning, you wouldn't be saving time - just moving work around.
posted by wackybrit at 1:29 PM on October 13, 2009

I have a huge crockpot that I use several times a week. I have a bunch of recipes that require little-to-no preparation, just dumping a bunch of stuff in the pot and go.

I hate to chop vegetables so I buy frozen chopped onion, frozen chopped green pepper, jars of minced garlic & ginger.

I use crockpot liners so I don't have to worry about washing the crock.

I double most recipes so that we can eat the leftovers for several days. 5 minutes in the morning and I have homecooked meals to last 3 days.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:22 PM on October 13, 2009

All my socks and chopsticks are identical; just grab any 2, no pairing necessary.

If you have a Brita filter, put it under the tap and run the water slowly so that the filter rate is about equal to the input rate. You'll eventually have a full pitcher without having to refill the pre-filter basin.
posted by MeowForMangoes at 4:21 PM on October 13, 2009

if you spend 5 minutes making lunch on Monday night and it'd take the same 5 minutes on Tuesday morning, you wouldn't be saving time - just moving work around.

Technically correct, but in real life, 5 minutes on Monday night is not the same thing as 5 minutes on Tuesday morning. It just isn't. (Well, maybe for you it is, but for many of us - it just isn't.) See also laying out clothes.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:49 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

More: be firm about your social life. Attend "must be there" events (wedding of a close friend - yes, mere acquaintance - make excuses), but otherwise cut back on senseless socializing. With very old friends, I do schedule the "just hanging" occasions, but I've cut them down to just a few per year. The fewer pointless social obligations you have, the more time you will save. When you do go out, make it count - soon it'll be accepted to only involve you in important stuff. I cannot tell you how much time I save when the "general" phone is set to go directly to voicemail and my private number is "super-limited edition". I control my phone - do not call me, unless it's a life and death situation, or we already agreed to arrange something. Texting - same deal. I don't do IM. I don't do twitter. The way to contact me is through email. Email me for communication, and don't forward me chain letters, pointless spam, your blog updates. Time save: massive.

TV - people already mentioned this, but I've gone much further - I've cut it out entirely, period. Don't even have a TV. If something TV-related is ultra important for me to see, I've got a huge monitor hooked up to my computer. So no TV (but see below).

My major time sink - internet. I'm an addict. It eats up all the TV time I save and then some; and then some more. Don't have any advice to give to you here, except a timer is mildly helpful. If you can control this, you're a better man than me.

And I'll end everything with this paradox. I'm over 40 now. I've come by any small scraps of wisdom I may have, the hard way. And I can offer this when it comes to time saving: what I have found after a lifetime of trying to rationalize, raise efficiency, maximize my free time down to the milisecond-- taking on a big time consuming task that is meaningful to my life, generates more time outside of it than it takes for itself... time is stretchable because our focus and productivity is elastic. Just the other day a new father describe it this way to me: I'm more productive now, and I accomplish more in my time at work and outside of the time I spend on my son, than before this "kid is a timesink" baby arrived.
posted by VikingSword at 5:47 PM on October 13, 2009 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'd "best answer" most of these, honestly, they are all great ideas.
posted by rahnefan at 6:21 PM on October 13, 2009

After meals, I scrape food off dishes and stack them next to the sink. After a week, I soak the stack in scalding hot, soapy water for 15 minutes. Then I sponge each item & put it in the strainer to air dry (without rinsing -- the soap just slides off). The only exceptions are pots & pans and stove-top utensils which get cleaned or rinsed every night so they are ready for the next day. So, my stove top gear takes about 2 or 3 minutes a night to clean, and everything else is 15 minutes (post scalding soak) once a week.
posted by jenmakes at 7:29 PM on October 13, 2009

I save about 10 minutes by commuting to work slightly differently.

I also try to combine my car trips so that I don't have to go back and forth. (i.e. I wouldn't go to the bank at 9:00 am, come home, go to Target at 10:30 am, come home, and leave for work at noon. I would leave my house at 10:30 am, go to the bank, then Target, then work.)
posted by too bad you're not me at 8:15 PM on October 13, 2009

Call in sick when you're sick - you protect your fellow coworkers from the hassle of getting sick later on, you increase your own productivity on the days you are at work, and you save yourself the hassle of waiting for off-hours time to see a doctor.
posted by mdonley at 12:05 AM on October 14, 2009

When undressing, remove your socks, shirt, etc., without turning them inside-out. Then you don't have to go through and fix them when it's laundry time.

Don't make the bed.
posted by equalpants at 12:44 AM on October 14, 2009

I do several things at once and try to do them as fast as possible. ;) See scientific management. It applies to so many things.
posted by jasondigitized at 5:06 AM on October 14, 2009

Fix your burned-out tail light right away and you will save time spent sitting in your car watching the red and blue lights spin in your rearview mirror.

Use appropriate safety gear and take a little extra time to pay attention, and you can save time on hospital trips.

Buy extras of cheap items that are used in multiple locations or frequently misplaced. If you find that you are constantly having to go to another room to get something or look for a misplaced tool (for me it used to be scissors), buy another one.

Make the bed by pulling the covers up over yourself and sliding out from under them. This protects you from "bed gravity" after getting up, which I find can be a huge timesink.

Keep items you may need while out in your car: jacket, sunscreen, first aid kit, snacks, water, extra sunglasses. No need to consider whether pack these things or stop to buy them. Have the appropriate tools to fix minor problems on the spot instead of waiting for AAA.

Using a bicycle for short trips to places where parking is in short supply is a huge timesaver, even if cycling takes longer than driving.

Outdoor plant watering on a soaker hose with timer. Or, kill all your high-maintenance plants off and save time on watering.

I have my closet arranged with sections for 'office' work, casual, 'fancier casual', and 'grubby' work/outdoor . Outfits with multiple parts get hung on the same hanger, but separates don't. I can grab pretty much anything out of the appropriate section if I'm in a hurry.

Only buy clothing that fits well, and you will never have to go through your closet trying things on to find something to wear. I buy multiples of anything I think I'll wear a lot, especially pants. Clothing needing repair is removed from the closet. Avoid dry clean only whenever possible.

Cook extra and reheat. Keep some prepared foods and a bottle of wine around to bring to potlucks.

Keep a shopping list on your cell phone for those low priority things to pick up when you happen to be at the right store. If you need to know sizes (for clothing/windows/doors/gifts/etc.), have a list of those.
posted by yohko at 9:39 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Forgot the big one--

Take care of your health, and you will live longer and be more able to enjoy it.

Combine this with the power of compound interest and you will maximize your expected free time over your lifespan.
posted by yohko at 9:57 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

My mom gave me a timer that says "You can do anything for 15 minutes"
posted by jaybol at 4:47 PM on October 14, 2009

Do not buy anything that causes yourself to say "I could always return it." Invariably, you will return it or have that thing taking up space and time at home.

Buy a clothing steamer. Best $40 I ever spent aside from a lottery ticket. Ironing is a pain in the ass and for me, very time consuming. Steaming does the job better, is cleaner and doesn't require an ironing board. Seriously.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:43 AM on October 15, 2009

Best answer: This is mostly for work, and particularly for writing, but it can be applied to other things as well: recognize that it is often faster (and better all around) to start over from scratch than try to fix something that is fundamentally flawed.

I'm amazed how often I'll stare at a paragraph or a page that just doesn't really get the point across that I'm trying to. Sort of like the one I'm writing now... And I'll fiddle with it. Try to add a sentence here or there. Edit a little. Then I just say screw it and rewrite the whole thing. Try to set your screw it meter much lower. I swear the vast majority of the time I'm amazed how quickly I redid the whole thing and annoyed at how much time I wasted essentially just being lazy.
posted by whoaali at 12:05 AM on October 16, 2009

Best answer: Need more time?

Ask your boss to work 4 out of 5 days. Take friday off.

(Then think about whatever luxuries you have and where you can settle for less)
posted by wolfr at 2:39 PM on October 18, 2009

Create a map of the grocery store on a sheet of paper that you can print out (this requires you going to the grocery store and spending some time noting where everything is). Then before you go to the grocery store, circle the items you need. Then just go by your lists and cross of the items you don't need. You'll avoid wasting times in aisles that you don't get anything. You'll avoid time trying to find something.

However, it sucks when they grocery store decides to change layouts like ours did this past week.
posted by tedunni at 7:35 AM on October 20, 2009

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