Life changing time-savers | Sunday Observer

Life changing time-savers

28 May, 2023

Every instant of time is a pinprick of eternity. Marcus Aurelius

They say time is money because we need to save it at any cost. Although you can save money for a rainy day, you cannot save time in a similar way. However, if you are a little more imaginative, time can be saved like money. In a hectic world, it is not easy to find time to enjoy life, as the average workweek lengthens, leisure time drops.

Some of the busiest people have been able to find time for their families and personal enjoyment. Time-management goes a long way, but there are certain other devices that will save time for you to enjoy life. Psychologists have paid much attention to time-saving methods over the years. They have come up with various ways to save time even if you have a tight schedule of work.

First of all, we have to decide the best time to undertake important tasks. As a writer, I find the morning hours ideal for my work. However, there are many other writers who turn out their best work at night. Whatever that may be, Dr Nathaniel Kleitman, a University of Chicago physiologist says normal body temperature can vary as much as 1.6 degrees Celsius during the day. These patterns correlate with the rise and fall of our working efficiency, mental alertness and feeling of well-being.

Lounging in bed

Most of us spend precious time in bed, even after getting up. Lounging in bed in the morning can rob you of productive time. The best method to follow is to get out of bed as soon as you wake up. Lingering in bed can only lead to delays in your day’s program. On the other hand, even if you spend some more time in bed, you will not enjoy real rest.

After a good night’s sleep lasting about seven hours, you are ready to start the day’s activities with renewed vigour and vitality. You will note this when you visit a bank or other place for your transactions in the morning when workers are in a good mood to serve you. Afternoon brings an increase in sleepiness, especially after a heavy meal. At this time, many people experience a decrease in alertness.

Any intelligent person will use his high-efficiency hours to do difficult tasks or engage in creative thinking. You can read a newspaper or attend to routine work during low-efficiency hours. If you happen to be at home, this is the best time for cleaning the house. By adapting to your mental condition, you can accomplish any difficult task efficiently.

Road map

If you wish to put up a house or go on a long trip, you should make a detailed plan. You cannot simply perform any difficult or important task without a road map. A time-management guru says the most productive minutes of your day are those devoted to planning ahead. Planning does not take much time. In a matter of ten to 20 minutes, you can plan anything ahead. There is no need to carry all your plans in your head. You can write them down in a notebook and release your brain for more creative pursuits.

Many people have the habit of preparing a to-do list every day. If the list is long, use numbers to prioritise the most important tasks. When you do not have such a ready-made plan, you tend to forget certain tasks and appointments.

Christine Beshar, a New York City attorney and a mother of four children, prepares her priority list in less than ten minutes. Being a good time-management expert, she completes the day’s work without a hitch and finds time for leisure-time activities. In addition to her work as an attorney, she is involved in religious activities and serves as an active member of a university board of trustees.

Even if you are not such a busy person such as Christine Beshar, try to prioritise your work. In government and private sector offices, people spend many hours writing, reading, filing and retrieving paperwork. Such paperwork can be very boring at times. You can save time by focusing only on vital paperwork.

While I was working in a government office full of paperwork, I was trained to categorise the papers or files into ‘to do, to read’ and ‘to file.’ I had to do something about the files marked with ‘to do.’ ‘To read’ files had to be read whenever I found the time. I had to file certain documents for future reference. By following this method, I was able to clear the backlog of files. The secret is that you should focus only on vital paperwork. If you try to deal with the whole lot, you will end up with mental fatigue.

Ingenious methods

When you are at home or in office, many people come to meet you. We need to meet people, but do not leave the door open. If you try to welcome everyone who drops in, you will lose much time in conversation without accomplishing anything worthwhile. You have to devise ingenious methods to protect yourself from unnecessary visitors. While I was working as a public relations officer I was asked to adopt a variation of the open door policy. I had to keep the door ajar. By doing so, those who really wanted to meet me came in and others kept themselves away.

More than visitors there are people who call you over the telephone to find out how you are keeping. Some of these callers are people who are living alone or those who have no work to do.

Sometimes long-winded callers are a real nuisance. If you feel that a caller is wasting your time, use some phrases such as ‘Before we hang up …” or “I am expecting an important call from abroad.” You can save much time by not answering some incoming calls. However, this may not be possible if you happen to be working in a government or private establishment.

When you have to consult a medical specialist, you may have to wait for a long time for his arrival. Since such waiting time is inevitable, keep some reading matter handy whenever you go to meet a specialist. However, avoid carrying newspapers or bulky volumes. Instead carry a small phrase book or a book of proverbs. Today, most people kill time by using their smartphones as reading appears to be no longer fashionable.

Ancient Greeks used to pack every minute with meaningful action. However, you cannot use every moment to push yourself relentlessly. If you break your routine every now and then, you will be able to do any task better and faster. My wife frowns when I take a catnap in the middle of the day. Although exercise can relax your body, you cannot exercise your body while working. However, you can relax with alternate shallow and deep breathing. The message is loud and clear: If you manage your time more efficiently, you will reap the benefits.

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