10 Efficient Ways to Save Time So You Can Follow Your Dreams

save time

Time is something we all need more of, but how can you get more of it when there is only 24 hours in a day? Sadly there is no way to put more hours into each day, but what you can do is be more efficient with your time so you can follow your dreams. Here is how I was more efficient during my college years, which allowed me to run a business at the same time.

Download this cheat sheet of 10 efficient ways to save time so you can follow your dreams.

  1. Watch television on the web – the problem with television is that you had to watch TV shows when they want you to watch them. Now with the technology advancements most entertainment channels like NBC, FOX, CW, and even a few cable networks let you watch your favorite TV shows online. It is free, you can watch the shows when you want to, and an hour show usually ends up being 45 minutes because there are a lot less commercials.
  2. Sleep more – if you learn to take power naps, you will have more energy throughout the day. Although you may lose some time from napping, you will be able to work more efficiently, which will give you more time.
  3. Eat healthy meals – changing your diet maybe hard at first, but eating balanced meals will affect how you do your daily tasks. It will give you more energy so you can get your work done faster.
  4. Do less work – a lot of the things you do on a daily basis, don’t need to be done. Think about your daily routine and cut out anything that isn’t essential. You will be surprised on how much time you are wasting.
  5. Tell people what’s on your mind – being honest and to the point is a great way to accomplish things quicker. When you beat around the bush things don’t get accomplished as fast. Just think about boardroom meetings, people are hesitant to say what is on their mind, which causes meetings to drag on forever.
  6. Have some fun – all work and no play is a good way to make you feel depressed. Get some fun into your life, it will make you feel better, work harder, and hopefully make you want to accomplish your dreams.
  7. Adjust your working hours – many companies are very flexible on what times you can start and end work. If you work in a heavy traffic city such as Los Angeles you can easily spend an hour or 2 commuting to work during rush hour. But if you adjust your working hours you can cut back on driving time drastically.
  8. Cut down on your communication methods – cell phones, email, and instant messaging are just a few tools you probably use to communicate with others. The problem with some of these methods is that they can easily be abused. For example if you log onto AIM, you may waste an hour talking to others about junk. Try and use communication tools like AIM only when you need them.
  9. Don’t multi-task – when you mult-task you tend to switch between what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t. By single tasking you are more likely to do what you are supposed to be doing.
  10. Get rid of distractions – things you may not be thinking of can be distractions. Whether it is gadgets or even checking emails every 5 minutes, this can all distract you. By getting rid or distractions or controlling them, you will have more time on your hands.

Anyone else have any recommendations on how you can be more efficient so you have more time to follow your dreams?

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Comments

  1. Nice tips Neil. Came in late last night in a town that was unfamiliar. Alcohol to nutrition ratio was way off so I stepped outside the hotel and popped up my phone GPS. Scored a Taco Bell .4 miles away. Brought tacos back for the night clerk and ended up with hotel paid cab ride to airport next morning. Hows that for efficiency and dreams coming true?

  2. I was surprised to hear #9, it seems like the Entrepreneurs i know spend the entire day Interesting post.

  3. Christen Dybenko :

    Great article. It can be really hard to plan your day sometimes when you don’t have a routine solidified. I definitely appreciate #3 and that list of healthy foods! Thanks for that!

    • No problem. Just be careful with eating too healthy such as stripping away carbs from your diet. This can cause you to have a lack of energy.

  4. I love this Neil, going to add it to my monthly link round-up 🙂

  5. It’s not just eating well…get plenty of exercise too.

  6. Nicaragua Surf Man :

    I agree with Todd about exercising.

    On the days I come home after work and don’t workout, I’m drained at about 830pm.

    On the days I do workout I can keep working till 11 or 12 if I need to, without getting tired.

    • I never really tried working out after work, but it make sense. When I run or lift light weights in the morning it make me more efficient, but I still get tired at night.

  7. That’s a good point about watch TV shows online – no commercials! (Though, whenever I watch shows online I tend to watch multiple episodes, heh)

    This list makes me realize I need to change up my schedule a little bit to be more efficient.

    • That is the downfall, you have to be willing to control your urge because it can be addicting. What I try to do is watch a season all at once instead of watching an episode each week.

  8. good call on taking power naps. napping at work in the American workplace is typically considered socially unacceptable although in Japan its encouraged to take an after lunch nap because of its effects on metal alertness, memory and energy. Has anyone tried the nap26 program?

    Another tip to save time would be to be organized, which not only saves time but reduces stress.

  9. Very good points.

    I have a question. I am going to a Health Club since 2 months ago and I usually go exercise and lift after work, or sometimes I go there in the afternoon during my lunch hours. On some days I get up early and hit the gym before I go to work.

    Which ones the best?

    • To be honest, I am not 100% sure. I prefer early in the morning because it gives me energy throughout the day. Lunch also seems like a good idea because you are being productive during a time in which it doesn’t take 1 hour to eat lunch.

      After work for me seems like the worst option.

  10. I like the last one, Getting rid of distractions… When I tend to do work that doesn’t require me to use a computer I usually step out of my home office and work at the empty dining table, I do get work done faster, because there’s nothing around to distract me.

    • The couch does the same for me. It also allows me to listen to the TV while working, which is great for me because I need some sort of background noise.

  11. Nikunj Parekh :

    – How about making a list of Top Priority things you wanna do in a day and sticking to it? A lot of time is wasted by people in ‘figuring out’ what to do which is top imp and then doing the exact opposite.

    – I think ‘Reflections’ at the end of the day on your thoughts and how u spent ur time during the day goes a long way in what you do the next day. If you dont reflect on your day, you will never realise your mistakes / junk time spent.

    I like the simplicity in your posts Niel. Keep it up!

    Cheers

    Nikunj

    • Thanks!

      Lists work really well and you can use Ta-da list to make your life easier.

      Reflections is a really good strategy. I don’t do it everyday, but I do it when I am traveling.

  12. I like this post a lot. I especially agree with your item # 9 — the multi-tasking. Sometimes I lose track of what I was doing and end up spending a few minutes figuring out what it was I needed to do next. Then again, that could just be that I am getting older. LOL

    • I don’t think it is because you are getting older, I also have the same problem. For me, mult-tasking is a bad thing.

  13. Being married with kids, here’s a suggestion: don’t get married and don’t have kids.

    The downside is not having anyone to share your dreams and successes with, and no one to help you keep going when you don’t feel like going on. And downtime without kids isn’t as fun…

    • I am half way with you on this one. I feel when you are young you should crank away on your career because you have a lot less to lose. Once you get older you will have less time due to kids and a wife.

      I would say a middle ground is to get married late and have kids late. But as well all know, that usually doesn’t happen.

      • I married late and had my first kids at 38, but looking back, I really wasted my early career. Now that I have some ideas, I don’t have the time I want to execute them. I’ve always been a late starter, though, and young kids are the hardest. Things should get a bit easier in a few years from now.

        I wouldn’t trade my family for anything, though.

        • Things happen for a reason. Although you had a late start, there is nothing that says you still can’t do well.

          • When I tend to do work that doesn’t require me to use a computer I usually step out of my home office and work at the empty dining table, I do get work done faster, because there’s nothing around to distract me.

        • I’d have to say that family is probably what gives me that drive to be a success. I’ve been programming websites for 12 years and have always made others wealthy(rich). Even through the .com era. Now I’m starting to learn to piece web ideas together and it all look like it’s coming together. I did start late, but as the say; “better late than never”.

        • The thing with starting late is that it is a perception. If you look at how long the web will probably be around for, I would say you started close to the beginning. 😉

  14. This is an awesome list Neil. I think the main problem with alot of people is #5. It seems like everyone wants to be “the (wo)man”. If you can’t do it or don’t want to do it, say it and mean it. I use to be like this, but now I understand how important this one is. Don’t say you can do it if you don’t have the capacity or the willingness to do whatever is people ask you to do. You save time for both parties.

    • The other problem is when you don’t say what is on your mind, you end up creating a lot of stress for yourself. Stress not only is harmful for your body, it can also slow you down.

  15. Don’t watch TV while you work. Listen to the radio. TV on PC or TV set is far to distracting.

    • I personally love watching TV at work. Well technically I don’t watch it, I just need something to listen to so I can work for long periods of time.

    • Even through the .com era. Now I’m starting to learn to piece web ideas together and it all look like it’s coming together. I did start late, but as the say; “better late than never”.

  16. Great list. I’ll have to see if I can apply some of these.

  17. hahaha, yeah the stuff if your sock drawer is really important there buddy =)

    Your right, busy is not productive. I’ve been reading “How to Master the Art of Selling” by Tom Hopkins and there is a chapter titled “Fortune Building starts with time planning”

    Tom says, he lives by the following, “I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.” He hung that phrase by his desk for motivation.

    I have also picked up an interesting time planning habit from the book, every night before I goto bed I put up to 6 tasks in my to-do list that I have to do the next day. Doing this before bed helps because when you wake up you have those 6 important tasks fresh on your mind and have a game plan right when the day starts, talk about an increase in productivity.

  18. Actually, I have never read the book…but I should. I have heard it is good. Problem is, I believe in a 80 hour work week and not 4.

  19. Web Development India :

    This is an awesome article i ever read on ways thats makes dreams come to true… Patel, u did nice job dude.

    • Thanks! Hopefully it encourages you to follow your dreams if you already aren’t.

      • Web Development India :

        I do have plans and on working it too, but what i want to achive is lil bit more. one can not take risk to be an enterprenuer at early stage though he/she has quality to be. I appreciate your follow up.

  20. some good tips about time management.

    Thanks!

  21. Great tips Neil!

    I would like to add: get rid of your TV. Mine broke about a year ago and I have not missed it one bit.

    • I think if I did that, I would miss it. I love my TV and watch it for hours everyday.

      Nonetheless, it is good advice for anyone who has the courage to get rid of their TV.

  22. Boy having recovered from startup burnout, my day is about keeping things simple, executing what is important, not checking the damn email every 5 minutes, I stay off IM until I have time to kill and mad I needed a serious injection of FUN and away from the computer. This from someone who used to site in front of the computer 16 hours a day not realising that hey ahmm Ingrid, you’ll still have work to get done tomorrow so stop working right now! Step away from the MacBook.

    Thanks for reaffirming my recent decisions to get a life!

    • Glad the blog post helped. Take a break, have some fun, and then get back to work. You’ll be surprised how much faster you may work after a break.

  23. I took one major point from the “4 Hour WorkWeek” Book and I now only check my email 5 times a day instead of 500 times a day and i’m loving it! I realized I spent 30% more time checking my email, to only find out it was 90% SPAM!

    Darin

    • Yea, I try and check my email a few times a day only. A Blackberry or a phone with email also helps because it allows you to check email during down time.

  24. LMAO@Darin.

    Darin, I hburst out at laughing at your comment….”moving from checking email 500 times a day to 5 times a day”…why?…because I can soooooooooo relate!

    • I used to use some Gmail alert thing which tell me when I had new emails. The thing drained too much time and made me check my mail 100 plus times a day (literally). But 500 is a whole new level…

  25. Some of those were really good – others just confused me
    e.g. watch tv on the web – it wastes bandwidth – just don’t watch it at all when working

    • If your connection speed is fast enough, then it will not slow you down when you are working… And if you have one can have the TV show and the other can have your work.

  26. Two big time efficiency tips I use:

    1. Like you, I try and get rid of distractions. I log out of email if I have to concentrate, particularly if I’m writing.

    2. I fairly often get out of the office with a laptop and work elsewhere … the library, or a coffee shop. The change of scenery seems to focus me on the task at hand.

    (BTW, hope it’s OK to comment on older posts … I’m new to your blog and have been wandering through your archives.)

    • You can comment on any post. 🙂

      I like changing up the location of where I work as well. Problem with that is sometimes it makes me look around a bit too much.

      • Yes, absolutely … if I’m at the library I head for the section with old encyclopedias or something else that I have no interest in reading or I can lose hours very easily.

  27. Some very good advice here. To me, “get rid of distractions” is the most important – as too much distractions these days, facebook, twitter, plurk, stumbleupon, digg…

  28. DoublePlus Ecommerce :

    Tivo rocks. Talk about cutting the TV time down…you can fast-forward through commercials. Or through Jerry Springers intros on America’s Got Talent. Sweet.

  29. I am more organized when I write out on a calender what needs to be done for the next day. I keep my calender with me at all times and it is a great quick reference and it keeps me focused.

    • That is a good idea. I personally couldn’t do that because I am messy and my schedule changes constantly, but a digital calender would work.

    • This is an excellent idea Chris. I make lists (or sometimes a daily calendar log) of what I want to accomplish for the day work-wise. Sometimes I don’t always accomplish my goals, but some days I far surpass those goals. I’m more likely to come at least close if not finish them.

      I also homeschool my son every day and I couldn’t get through teaching him if I didn’t make out a list of all his subjects, what he’ll be doing and if we need anything (for science investigations for the day – or anything like that). I love lists. They’re so helpful in an abundance of situations!

  30. I really like these tips. I have heard a good idea is to just check email(s) twice a day, around 11AM and 4PM. I am way too OCD for this, but I am working on it!

  31. As usual – fantastic! I use all of these tips – except watching tv on the web.

  32. Thanks so much for these tips Neil. I just read them to my girlfriend/business partner. She was looking for ways to save time. #10 rang especially true for her and I feel I get easily distracted when I multi-task.

    I should also add, I find the environment also makes me more productive. When I’m sitting up working outside the bedroom I’m more efficient. When I’m lying down in bed, or reclining with the keyboard in my lap, my mind is more likely to wander…or worse. I’ll fall asleep!

    • Thanks for the addition. I have a desk in my bedroom and I am not too efficient working from it. But when I work at the office I usually get more done.

      • I wrote about this on a twitter to John Reese a few days ago when he asked about who works at home. Working at home period can have its disadvantages! I would eventually like an office in my home, so it’s a little more separate than working in the living room. Now, people think if you’re home…they can just bug you for just about anything….even when you’re working. This is especially true for people who don’t work from home or don’t work for themselves.

        I find that we waste a lot of time here with people coming over just to “hang out” or things needing to be done “right that second” because a family member or friend doesn’t ‘get’ we’re working. It’s the biggest downside of working at home! At least if I had a home office I could say, don’t bother me while I’m at the office! 🙂

        • A home office doesn’t work for me either. I have an office in my house, but I still use the computer in my room. Overall I would say and outside office is the best. It creates a totally different atmosphere.

  33. Aiie! Sleep more, dont multi task, have some fun… how can you expect a geeky person to do that? Anyways, thoughtful suggestions.

    • I am a geeky person and I do it all! I sleep a lot, I love having fun in my own geeky way, and I don’t multi-task (or at least try not to).

      • O! dear. You know a lot about time management then, Neil. Man I can’t get away from my PC whenever I sit to work until I collapse. And its been eight years. I admit that openly. It seems always much to do.

        • Yea, sometimes it can be addictive. Hopefully one day you’ll take a break and re-think your daily schedule. Everyone needs a break sooner or later.

  34. Hey man, this is good stuff, thank you! A lot of it is common sense people don’t think about – they’re conditioned to think they’re saving time by, for example. going to McDonald’s instead of (another example) cooking 5 or 6 healthy meals on Sunday before the work week.
    Oh, and my girlfriend is always saying she “doesn’t have time to nap” – I tell her “you don’t have time NOT to nap.” A forty-minute snooze can make all the difference in your day! I must show this page to her, thanks again my friend.

  35. I would add another tip, show up to your office 30 or so minutes before you start. This should give you ample time to grab a coffee and plan the day ahead. I work in a Help Desk environment and it gives the time to assess how many “Urgencies” I will have to contend with and how to manage the rest of my work to get the most out of my day.

  36. The funny thing is..especially at work it’s almost frowned upon if I’m not multi-tasking. I’m definitely going to try it out though, love the tips!

  37. Saving time is imprtant, but be careful, because as this article shows, multitasking may actually reduceproductivity(http://www.wellnessaid.com/work-and-education/jobs/multi-tasking-may-reduce-productivity/)

  38. Uditha Rajasekera :

    Thanks for the advice Neil these type of articles are the ones that should need some advertising.
    thanks dude
    Uditha,
    Sri Lanka

  39. It’s hard to save time when you have to do everything by yourself or on your own.

  40. g8 tips np and i also like ur prompt reply on the comments

    😉
    – sree

  41. Agree with this,Don’t watch TV while you work. Listen to the radio. TV on PC or TV set is far to distracting. Wake up early and go to bed early.

  42. Try not to multi-task for a day or so. You will be amazed on the amount of time you save.

  43. @OSYM I am more organized when I write out on a calender what needs to be done for the next day.

  44. Motorcycles for sale :

    Nice tips Neil 🙂 It can be really hard to plan your day sometimes when you don’t have a routine solidified.
    And I appreciate that list of healthy foods!
    Just be careful with eating too healthy…It’s not just eating,get plenty of exercise too…..
    Thanx 🙂

  45. Productive Pinoy :

    Good tips Neil.

    Haven’t tried power naps though.

    I like no. 5 — I live in a country where the people do long introductions and just can’t get to the point! He he

  46. Blogger Rise :

    Great tips so we can save time to catch out dream

  47. The Work At Home Blog :

    Distraction, distractions, distractions! That has been my problem for a long time. I think I need to label my time for these distractions so I have time for everything. Organizing is important in your daily life, although I already knew this I have a clearer picture now.

    • It has been a problem for me too. I decided that for the next 3 months I will not let any new investments or opportunities distract me.

      Sometimes you just have to put your foot down.

  48. Great article. It can be really hard to plan your day sometimes when you don’t have a routine solidified. I definitely appreciate #3 and that list of healthy foods! Thanks for that!

  49. This is an awesome list Neil. I think the main problem with alot of people is #5. It seems like everyone wants to be “the (wo)man”. If you can’t do it or don’t want to do it, say it and mean it. I use to be like this, but now I understand how important this one is.

  50. I think ‘Reflections’ at the end of the day on your thoughts and how u spent ur time during the day goes a long way in what you do the next day. If you dont reflect on your day, you will never realise your mistakes / junk time spent.

  51. Getting rid of distractions is very important – not just on your desk but also on your desktop.

    Unfortunately on a mac they have widgets (like Vista) and with them there is no end of distractions.

  52. Online College :

    There are quite a few things I need to start following on this list, number one start eating more healthy, number two do less work, and three stop multitasking. I am so ADHD it is hard not to multitask because it is hard enough for me to focus on one thing much less a dozen!

  53. Actually over the weekend, I took some time to review my habits and figured out ways that I could use my time more efficiently. My main goal was to focus on taking time out for my family every day. I have 2 young boys and they seem to be growing up over night. One of my big problems is that other than specific appointments, I don’t have my days planned out ahead of time. So I tend to waste time dinking around, checking email, surfing the web. What I have started to do now is think ahead to what I want to get done and then actually put it on my schedule. So now when I need to update my blog, I have a block of time on my schedule when I will be sitting down to update it. For me it is just a matter of keeping a detailed schedule and using that as my guide. That helps me to eliminate the time waster stuff because I already have the next task laid out.

    • Doing little stuff like that ends up wasting time collectiviely, it’s hard, I know. Create a schedule, and follow it 🙂

  54. Nice tips Neil! I used to have a “healthy living blog” so in one of my articles I wrote about the coffee. A research from a Californian university says that when you drink coffee, you get fresh for some time period but after that you feel much more tired than you have to be. So their advice was to find some kind of coffee replacer(not RedBull or other energy drinks) for example fresh juice or my favorite and the most working according to me – cold lemon juice, I had weeks when I worked 18 hours per day and wasn’t feeling tired because of that lemon juice – you have to try it, it saves the time for sleeping! 🙂

  55. Great tips, i love them! It’s so easy to save time, we just don’t take the time to do it! Also i learned that a minute invested now, is worth 10 minutes invested in 2 years, so why not get started, your tips are a great part of the recipe to success!

  56. yes,may be you are correct with this post but doing all of them or some of them is very difficult.For example,I love napping.There should be another options to save time 🙂

  57. resources for teachers :

    What a great article, again. I try to use some tips you gave in my life, like watching TV online instead of waiting for my favourite show to come on TV, but some things you said I wouldn’t even think of. I’ll use more of your tips for sure in future, they seem really good.

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  60. I found this an informative and interesting post. I think it is very readable and knowledgeable, happy to see some people still have interest in this. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well best regards

  61. Hello Neil,

    I will add two ways to save my time, One i ll leave multitask and secondly i ll try to sleep more.

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  63. Online Mastering :

    or you could just NOT sleep. haha. god i wish there were more hours in the day. I mean wouldn’t 36 hours be just perfect?

  64. This is an awesome article i ever read on ways thats makes dreams come to true… Patel, u did nice job dude.

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