arm with a watch

There are 24 hours in a day, what if I told you how to get an extra hour?

I want to write about how to get more things done in less time. This blog entry will be a rather harsh reality-check but bear with me. It’s all about working smarter, not harder. We’ve all heard the phrase, but how to put it into action? Here are some tips:

Set your finances on autopilot

Set your credit card up to be paid in full at the end of each month automatically. If that is not possible for you, I wrote a series of blog posts about how I do my finances. You can read about it here. The main idea is to pay off all your credit cards (starting with the one that has the highest APR and paying the minimum on the others). Then from then on, set your credit cards to be paid in full automatically. No more spending time paying bills. This also applies to utility bills. Sometimes you can have your utility bill paid by a credit card, you should do this with cards that give you points for each purchase.

Use your Gmail account more effectively

Unsubscribe from those newsletters that you don’t even open but push straight to the trash. Those 5-10 seconds each hour/day (depending on how often you check your mail) add up! While we are on the topic of checking mail, stop checking it so often. You are not as special or important as you think. The likelihood of getting an e-mail that needs to be responded to immediately is very slim. If it is important, they would give you a call or text. On the same subject, you should disable push notifications on your phone as well. It will help you stop checking it for every ding and buzz.

Stop going on Facebook

Or at least use Facebook Purity. It de-clutters all the useless junk advertisement posts that Facebook throws at you. Now instead of going on Facebook and scrolling through a ludicrous number of posts, you get to see what your close friends are posting without all that noise. Thirty minutes of scrolling just turned in to three.

Get a password manager

I’ve mentioned this in my other posts, but seriously, get a password manager. I like LastPass, but there are plenty of others. If you are still typing in your passwords, you should get with the times. Ever forgotten your password to that site you use on occasion? Password recovery is such a headache. Not to mention getting an account hacked (and then all the others) because you use the same simple to type password.

Setting one up is easy, and the longer you put it off, the worse you will feel when you actually end up using it. While we’re on the topic of passwords, you can use this tool to check the strength of your existing passwords, though Lastpass and other password managers have similar features.

Use those 5 extra minutes effectively

When we have an extra 5 minutes, we have the tendency to pull out our phones and play that “just one” level of Candy Crush or similar mind-numbing game. Instead of doing that, try to resort to creating something instead of consuming. Start writing that blog entry you’ve been meaning to (even if it is with pen and paper), or spark up a conversation with someone next to you, or just doodle/draw. You will very quickly become the envy of your friends who ask “How can you get so much done in one day?”.

Hopefully, these ideas will get you going. Though don’t take it to the extreme either. Sometimes it is important to relax, but even while relaxing you can be productive. In general, I think it is safe to say, that most people will surround themselves with busywork (checking e-mail, FB, or simply doing something that requires energy but produces no work). You want to avoid these sinister idle tasks as much as possible to have a much more fulfilling time.

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