30 Time-Saving Tips to Free Up More Time to Write

Dedicate More Time to Your Writing With These Tips

Don’t take the “bull in a china shop” approach by aggressively overhauling your lifestyle. You may not be able to implement all of these tips, but over time (and even with a little tweaking) you may find a strategy that works for you. Pick a few strategies until you’ve mastered them or you’re comfortable moving on to the next strategy.

Take it one step at a time to gain more time!

  1. Focus on the Important Things

    Do less. I’m reminded by one of my favorite Bruce Lee quotes: “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the inessential.” As they say, “Less is more.” Get rid of clutter: junk and nonessential tasks. Stop playing games and surfing social media. Focus on what’s important.

  2. Remove the Clutter

    Much of our “visual noise” is caused by stuff. Practice a three-part clutter rating system that will help you prevent and remove clutter:

    • It’s important now. Use it and then put it in its home (where it’s supposed to be).
    • It will be important. Put it in its home (where it’s supposed to be).
    • It’s not important. Get rid of it: Toss it or if possible, consider donating it.
  3. Get Organized and Stay That Way

    Pick an organizational system, execute it, and stick to it. Your new system may feel foreign at first, but it will eventually form into a habit. If you slip or feel like you’re ready to give up, recall the benefits of being organized and pick up where you left off. When necessary, make adjustments, but avoid switching to new organizational systems or you’ll lose the benefits.

  4. Keep a One-Stop Weekly Calendar

    Whether it’s a pocket calendar, wall calendar, smartphone app, etc. – keep ONE calendar. First, keep track of the usual calendar suspects: events, birthdays, and appointments. Second, use your weekly calendar to keep track of bills, plan menus, make appointments with yourself to write, etc. This will help prevent the scenario of sifting through bills, notes, and multiple calendars.

  5. Get Ready the Night Before

    Get it out of your head. Plan out your next day by listing quick notes about what you need to do and even lay out your clothes, pack your lunch, etc. to prevent those early morning rushes.

  6. Set Daily Goals and Rewards

    In the morning, take 5-10 minutes to look at the day ahead (reviewing and revising the list you prepared the night before, right?) and set goals. For each goal achieved, set a reward equal to the goal. Finished that 30-day project? Treat yourself by scheduling a 30-minute massage. Cleaned your email inbox? Indulge in 5 minutes of social media or the latest puzzle app.

  7. Do the Important Stuff First

    This is the ultimate “Procrastination Be Gone” formula: Pick 2-3 things you want to accomplish today and do them first. No “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts” – do it.

  8. Focus on What’s in Front of You

    Of course, not all tasks require 100% focus, but for tasks like writing, never multitask. If you refocus your attention on another task, it can take more time to refocus on your original task. Don’t do it. Stay focused.

  9. I Mean It: Stay Focused

    Turn off your phone and disconnect from the Internet during tasks, like writing, to focus. Don’t drop what you’re currently doing to address something you just thought of or remembered. If you think of something completely unrelated to what you’re working on, jot down a few quick notes (a word or two to jog your memory will suffice). Keep up momentum: FOCUS.

  10. Execute Decisions Faster

    If you find yourself hemming and hawing over a decision, make a decision then and there. If the task has a lot hanging on the outcome, seek/ask for more information if you need it, but the key is: make a decision now.

  11. Delegate and Learn to Love It

    We can be greedy with our workloads. Drop the “if you want things done right, you have to do it yourself” mentality. If it can be done by someone else (more effectively) and it’s not an important task, then delegate it.

  12. Just Say “No”

    Stop agreeing to take on things for which you don’t have time. If you don’t have time for it or it will take your focus away from other priorities, say no.

  13. HELP Is not a Dirty 4-Letter Word

    Ask for help (nicely). Sometimes a fresh set of eyes is all you need to get back on track, but be sure your plea is directed at the right person and is respectful of their own priorities.

  14. Time Activities

    We all can get swept away by television, social media, Internet browsing, repinning, article reading, and games. Allot yourself an amount of time for online activities and playing games. Set an alarm. When the time is up, stop the activity.

  15. Time Your Conversations and Meetings

    I’m not recommending that you “don’t socialize” or be rude. I’m recommending that you don’t allow conversations or meetings to completely disrupt your day. Allot yourself time. For “water cooler” talks, give yourself 5 minutes and keep them infrequent. For meetings, estimate how much time you’ll need to address the needs of those involved, come prepared, and if there isn’t already an agenda, propose talking points to squeeze more value out of the meeting.

  16. Call, Don’t Text

    Text messaging is supposed to be quick and to the point – not long, drawn out conversations. For anything beyond a quick yes or no question, call. For example, call for emergencies and all of those “how are you” and “what ‘cha doin'” questions. If it goes to voicemail, don’t worry. Most people have access to visual voicemail anyway, so it will be like a text. Either way, trust that they will get the message.

  17. Turn Aimless Browsing Into Growth Opportunities

    Create an ongoing list of questions, curiosities, or things you’ve always wanted to find out more about. When you sit down to browse the Internet, start looking for answers. You might surprise yourself with what you find.

  18. Do Your Errands at the Same Time

    Schedule time to do errands and plan a route ahead of time to ensure you’re not wasting time bouncing back and forth across town.

  19. Filter Your Email

    How much time do you waste in your inbox? Filter your email:

    • Create rules for recurring emails that don’t require an action to be archived in a particular folder.
    • Set rigorous anti-spam settings to block unwanted email from reaching your inbox.
    • Form a habit of touching an email once: If you open it, you have to address it (e.g., respond and file).

    On a related note: When you’re at a checkout counter of a shop you don’t frequent often and the clerk asks for your email address, politely decline. You can always like their Facebook page, follow their Twitter account, etc. to stay up-to-date with their announcements and promotions.

  20. Automate Responses

    If you find yourself replying with the same or nearly identical responses for clients, keep a template to quickly copy/paste the response and tweak it as necessary to personalize the message.

  21. Automate Bill Payments

    For any recurring bills that you have: AUTOMATE. Not only will this save you time, it may even save you money and raise your credit score if you’re the forgetful type.

  22. Sort the Mail in Your Hand

    When you get your mail, don’t let it sit in a moldering pile. Sort out the junk right away and then prioritize other items respectively (see weekly calendar). If possible, go green by electing not to receive the hard copy.

  23. Avoid Rush Hour

    Do you commute to work? Negotiate a work schedule to travel during non-traffic delayed times. You can easily turn a 30-minute, traffic-jammed commute into 15 minutes by getting ahead of the traffic or waiting it out.

  24. Keep a Running Shopping List

    Create a policy that for whoever squeezes the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube, kills the mustard bottle, etc., they are responsible to write it down on the shopping list (failure to adhere to this rule results in a penalty: additional chores or tasks on demand). In doing so, this will save time from taking inventory as well as keep your shopping trip quick – get into the store, grab what you need, and go (rather than meandering down aisles).

  25. Cook for Tomorrow

    Double the amount of what your cooking and refrigerate/freeze the leftovers. It may take you a small amount of time to double what you’re already making, but it will save you much more time making your next meal by not having to start from scratch.

  26. Wash Dishes While You Cook

    Rather than letting it all stack up on the kitchen counter or in the sink (this personally grosses me out on levels I cannot describe), wash your dishes and utensils you have finished using while you’re cooking. This turns that huge cleanup event at the end into a more manageable task. It also prevents food from drying and obnoxiously sticking to dishes.

  27. Spend Less Time on Laundry

    Presort laundry. This way, you don’t have to dump all of your clothes on your bedroom or laundry room floor so you can pick out the whites, the delicate garments, etc. Once that particular presorted load of laundry is full, then you’re ready to wash, dry, fold, and put it away. If you have kids old enough to participate, let them fold their stuff and put it away.

  28. Learn While You Workout

    Listen to news, podcasts, and audiobooks rather than music to keep up with trends in your niche, current events, books, and learning at large.

  29. Exercise More Effectively

    Exchange moderation for higher intensity. You can have a more effective and efficient workout by putting more effort into a 30-minute high-intensity workout than 90 minutes of low-to-medium effort. Check with your doctor for information on your target heart rate and what exercises may be right for you.

  30. Combine Activities

    Need to catch up with a friend, but you need to bake cookies for the kiddos’ bake sale? Invite your friend over and you may find they have a great love for cookie decorating! Need to run, but you also have to take the dog for a walk? Run with the dog – he/she will love it. This will save you tons of time and can be fun in the process!

Looking at this list, I realize that’s a lot more time-saving tips than I set out to write (I initially was going to run a “Top 7” post) and there’s so much more to share!

What is your time-saving tip? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

26 Comments »


1
Sally Ferguson writes:

Great tips. Today, I’m going to try the “get focused” tip! It helps me to ask, “what is the one thing that is most important, right now?”

Comment provided November 22, 2013 at 10:10 AM

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2
Ricky writes:

2. Remove the Clutter

My problem is when I put “it” where it’s supposed to be I’ll never found it again. Great tips for some of us just can’t get organized.

Comment provided November 22, 2013 at 11:23 AM

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3
Jesse writes:

Some very good tips here. I find #7 and #10 especially relevant for me.

For #7, I find myself getting stuck in the small unimportant tasks rather than focusing on the “important stuff first.” Starting today, I will follow the suggestion to pick 2-3 things that I want to accomplish today and do them first–before anything else.

For #12, I find myself at a point of indecision when I get too much info (analysis paralysis), or I wait too long to act (indecisiveness). Starting today, I’m going to try harder to make decisions when they need to be made and not get bogged down by the inertia of minutiae

Comment provided November 22, 2013 at 11:51 AM

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4
Gaurav Barot writes:

Time to de-clutter my life, it seems. Especially around the space where my desk is.

To get the hang of new skills while you work out at gym made my day.

Comment provided November 22, 2013 at 12:09 PM

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5
Tammy writes:

Very good article!

Comment provided November 22, 2013 at 12:54 PM

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6
Donna Goddard writes:

Fabulous article! Thanks Penny. Quite agree with everything you said without a doubt- except that I definitely find texting quicker than calling…less interaction that’s not to the point.

Comment provided November 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM

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7

Just about to launch my website
Loved your tips, I use so many of them. That’s why I’am organised.
My best tip is I use a Meal Planer we made. We save lots of money as we have everything we need to make the meal. We eat healthy food and don’t have to drop into the shops for things we forgot. As that is where you spend lots of extra cash on food. Also less stressed at meal time you know what your having for dinner. Love cook different food every week.

Comment provided November 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM

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8
Lance Winslow writes:

On item #20, I’d add “kill two birds with one stone” and if you find yourself with inquiries, turn the question into a title and your answer into the article, and then cut and paste that article you wrote and posted at EzineArticles into the email and send it back. I do that quite bit. New questions give me new content, old questions are answered without breaking a sweat.

Comment provided November 22, 2013 at 8:51 PM

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9
Gracious Store writes:

Thanks for sharing these tips on how to free up time for writing. I think the biggest problem is separating what is important and what is not, in other words knowing the best way to prioritize things that have to be done.

Comment provided November 23, 2013 at 12:03 AM

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10

Very Good article reminding on the value of precious time. The most vital tips, I feel, are 1) Avoid Rush Hour and 2) Learn while work out.

But ” Cook for Tomorrow ” is not advisable as Stale foods always spoil your health. Better remove that tip as your site always strives for health of all.

Comment provided November 23, 2013 at 1:23 AM

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11
Lalitha Brahma writes:

Great tips!

What is your time-saving tip?

Taking 15-20 minutes everyday to plan my day on paper. Just write down everything that comes to your mind. Then schedule a time and date.

Benefits:

This act alone is very liberating. It makes me centered and calm. Helps me make decisions quickly and easily. Makes me feel more committed. Instead of treating my day as something that comes by, I get to get to design my day.

Comment provided November 23, 2013 at 7:20 PM

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12

Maybe you changed my life…. I’ve been struggling and, even though you didn’t say anything I didn’t know, this came as a wake-up call. I have a daily todo list and put five of your tips right on top, where I can see them.

Focus on the Important Things
Get Organized and Stay That Way
Get Ready the Night Before
Do the Important Stuff First
Focus on What’s in Front of You

I’m going to read them every day:

Comment provided November 24, 2013 at 10:02 AM

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13
William Lange writes:

I agree! #7 and #10 were especially helpful.

Comment provided November 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM

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14
Matthew Morris writes:

I do #20 all the time. Great tips/

Comment provided November 25, 2013 at 6:47 PM

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15
Karen writes:

This is a brilliant article – thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely be taking some of your tips on board.

Comment provided November 26, 2013 at 5:57 AM

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16
Denise Blackman writes:

Wow…it almost seems as if you have been tracking my daily activities…and, figuring out a way to organize them! LOL

My biggest fault is getting involved in surfing the net during the time allotted to read my email. I get lost in reading all kinds of things that interest me. Even though many of them are very important and will help me with either my writing or new knowledge of my daily tasks, I definitely need to set a time limit and stick to it! Hours have been spent “over-analyzing” or conducting way to much research on a subject that was not really related to anything I needed right at that moment.

My new schedule will include a scheduled amount of time to research one topic and save the rest for the next day!

Thanks for the “wake-up” call!

Comment provided November 26, 2013 at 7:52 AM

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17
Sandra writes:

My time saving tip is the ‘Two-minute rule for emails – do it, delegate it, delete it or defer it.’ Can’t recall where I read or heard that, but it’s something I use daily and keep my inbox as organised as possible :-)

Great article, fabulous tips, thank you!

Comment provided November 26, 2013 at 9:37 AM

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18
HP van Duuren writes:

Thanks for the great tips, I especially like the tip about Combining Activities. For example writing during Commercial Breaks,

Or for example reading Books while laying on the Beach, to be able to write Book Reviews about them.

Comment provided November 29, 2013 at 2:58 AM

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19
Mike Andrews writes:

I think that whilst my hands are occupied doing a physical task such as cooking or washing my clothes, my mind should be thinking more about what I am going to write. This is perfectly possible as a lot of physical tasks do not require too much mental activity.

Comment provided December 5, 2013 at 6:59 AM

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20
Andre Yong writes:

Back in my writing days I fell from loving writing to seeing it as work. These tips really help, people always need to understand how hard the art of writing is! Great read – Thanks.

Comment provided December 5, 2013 at 10:41 AM

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21
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Comment provided December 14, 2013 at 10:43 PM

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22
Debra writes:

Excellent article for getting on track and focused on what you want to achieve. I find that the more time to take to plan and prepare the more likely you will succeed and get more done.

Comment provided January 19, 2014 at 12:38 AM

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23
Stacie writes:

When I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now
on every time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment.
Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me
from that service? Thanks!

Comment provided August 16, 2014 at 5:33 AM

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Hi Stacie,
We can most certainly assist in removing you from these lists. Can you please send a message to our Member Support Team here: http://ezinearticles.com/contact.html? Please include the email address you used to sign up for the lists.

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24
arundhathi writes:

Very good article.

Thank you

Comment provided October 17, 2014 at 1:07 PM

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25
Linda Goffigan writes:

Make up your bed upon rising making the whole day now ready because it is a wondrous thing to see a bed all made up; the spectacular scenery makes your entire day. No procrastination on making you bed a priority as one of the main activities that got to get accomplish when you awakens to your glorious morning.

Comment provided May 31, 2016 at 3:55 PM

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