They say time is money. I disagree.
Time is much more valuable than money — infinitely more. Money can be replicated, lost and regained all within a minute. Money is volatile: it comes and goes; it rises and falls on arbitrary whims and discretionary metrics. Time does no such thing. Time is constant. It is scarce, limited and increasingly more valuable as more of it is depleted. It is the precious prize we all instinctively want more of, never satisfied with the finite amount we have been given.
While we have not (yet) discovered the fountain of youth, or developed a working time machine, there are ways in which we can maximize the time we currently have. If we value our lives, it is an outright necessity. Here are just some of the ways I have found to be effective:
Wear laceless shoes
It amazes me that most people continue to purchase and wear shoes that have laces. In todays day and age, I don’t understand why we still use these strings to tie our shoes together to make them fit to our feet better. Is there no better way? There is: no laces at all.
Slip ons, laceless, or whatever label you want to attach to them — this seems like a no brainer for anyone who values their time. Why would you spend an extra minute every day tying and untying laces every time you want to wear your shoes? Buying shoes without laces means you can take them on and off at will without needing to hunch over or wiggle your feet uncomfortably until they’re off. You don’t even have to think about it.
Shave your head bald
Not even taking into account the amount of money you’ll save in shampoo and hair product (paste, pomade, gel, mousse, etc.), shaving your head will save you the headache of having to style your hair with the hairdryer, comb and product every morning — not to mention the extra time spent on shampooing and conditioning it in the shower.
All of your hair issues can be taken care of in one fell swoop: lose it!
Invest in meal prep
Cooking for 60 minutes, only to eat it up in 5. Does that sound like a great return on investment? Not to me. I’ve never understood the appeal in such a tradeoff. I understand some people naturally equate cooking to health and eating well, but this is no longer the case. Meal prep companies abound, and they are comparable in price. But best of all, they are both healthy and ready made for you.
No more time need be spent on visiting the grocery stores, finding the right ingredients, then coming home to cook it all correctly and ensuring it is made well. Meal prepping is the solution to an age old problem we now can take care of relatively easily.
Skip one meal a day
The only problem with a meal plan, is that it can’t be eaten any quicker than a home-cooked meal. Eating takes time. Chewing is a necessity for most food, thus you have little choice but to sit down and eat your meals like any other human being. There are those who choose to curb this issue by driving while doing other tasks (driving, chores, study, work, etc.) but it would still require the commitment to source your meal from somewhere, whether that be a delivery app, a drive thru or physically placing an order at an establishment. These daily requirements, combined, add up relatively quickly. While largely unavoidable, a simple trick is to simply eat less. The concept of eating one less meal a day is one of the most low effort, high reward things you could ever do. Not only will it make you healthier, it will save you money and — most importantly — valuable minutes.
Check your GPS
Yes, we are talking about Apple or Google Maps here. And yes, I know you’re probably thinking, “I know how to get to most places already without any help from my GPS!“. You are correct. But the reason I propose you use your GPS at all times (at least when driving to locations further than a mile away) is that the GPS also tells you the fastest route.
Has there been an accident on the freeway? A blockage or stoppage of some sort? Your GPS will probably reflect that information relatively quickly to you when you are on your way somewhere, so it’s always a great idea to pull out your phone on your walk to the car and check your route before embarking on your journey. It costs nothing to check, yet can save you hours collectively.
Move closer to a freeway exit
If you live in a city like Los Angeles, every street you are removed from a nearby freeway entrance can add anywhere from a few seconds, to a number of minutes, onto your daily trip. It may seem insignificant, but the numbers don’t lie. In places where public transport are not as prevalent or accommodating, your proximity to a freeway is key in getting to places quicker and easier. It makes all the more sense to reduce your commute in any which way possible, which this would do in spades. At worst, ensure your distance away from an entrance is either on a straight line trajectory, or one where you only need to make a right turn.
Park in one direction
When parking a car, people tend to park in places where more actions are required to drive away than to pull in. That concept never made sense to me; in my opinion, driving away should be just as easy as pulling in. If you park in a street, it is usually the case where you need to turn your car around to drive in the other direction — performing the necessary requirements each time. In this instance, it would make more sense to park in a way which would only need you to make a seamless turn without any need to slow down or change gears (such as a cul-de-sac or roundabout).
If you live in a house with a driveway, it would mean to avoid it, unless it was shaped in the form of a semi circle or “horseshoe” as it is commonly called. This avoids the dreaded 3-point turn and need to slowly back out into your street each time you need to make a trip. The time saved may only be a few seconds, but it is well worth the accumulative minutes and added stress it can alleviate.
Always order online
You’d probably think this one to be common sense — everyone orders online, dummy. Well, think again. Whenever I visit my local Starbucks, I load the app on my phone around 5 minutes before I arrive and make my order. By the time I arrive, I simply walk in, pick up my drink, and walk out.
Do you know what’s interesting? There is always a line of 10-20 people, just waiting to make their order at the counter. Who knows how long they’ve been standing there. Gee, they probably even decided to get a drink before I did just a few minutes prior. And yet, they are the ones who are still waiting to make the order while I have my drink fresh in hand. If you drink daily, you can only imagine how much time you’re wasting by doing it the traditional way. And this isn’t limited to Starbucks. Anything and everything can now be ordered online. Always check and never waste your precious time waiting in line again.
Sleep in cycles
This means, a 6-hour sleep session will essentially be four full sleep cycles, where we can effectively rest and still have a productive day, as opposed to one where we feel lethargic and dazed when we were awoken during a “deep sleep” stage of our cycle, which is typical if we follow a 7 or 8-hour session. Saving a couple of hours a day on this technique alone will translate into an extra month by the end of the year, which is basically a free month of life you would have never lived or appreciated, since you were too busy knocked out in bed.
Take cold showers
Perhaps the hardest adjustment to make, taking cold showers is obviously going to be a time saver since we don’t really want to be under the cold water for very long. Hot water, on the other hand, we can stand under for a very long time and be perfectly happy doing so.
Cold showers have a triple benefit, though. Not only does it save time, but it also helps us save on our water bill, and more importantly, there are studies to show how cold showers keep us healthier by fighting off depression and sickness (among other things). It’s a win-win-win.
Stop watching the news
Consuming the daily news adds zero value to your life, while injecting all kinds of negative emotions into your psyche, whether it be fear, hate or any other feeling that seeks to keep you engaged. News is a business like any other. They are not there to inform you, nor do they have your best interest at heart. Your life will be much more productive and healthier without it. Following the news in any form (TV, online, Twitter, etc.) is a major distraction with no upside.
Stop going on dates
This may be a controversial one, but I believe 99% of dating can be cut out with no major affect to anyones social or romantic life. Take a moment to consider how many hours and nights a week are wasted by individuals who get dressed and prepared for a night out, only to come back to their place at the end of the night for what they were really after in the first place. If you casually date for any period of time, you’ve easily wasted hundreds of hours with no tangible byproduct. Time down the drain.
Fast-track your podcasts
Whether you consume media on YouTube, Spotify, or any other player, there is a good chance your favorite shows can be observed at a faster speed. This allows you to learn more in less time, and save a good number of hours in the process. Beyond merely listening to a pod at 1.5x or 2x speed, it’s almost always ideal to skip the first 2 minutes of a show. Why? Because the first couple of minutes usually consists of:
- Introductory fluff and filler e.g. “In this episode, you are going to listen to this” etc.
- Clip previews of what the show is going to cover anyway.
- Unwanted sponsorship readings.
- Pleasantries and small talk.
This could even be extended to the first 5 minutes, but it would really depend on the context of the show and how long it usually lasts. Regardless, it is a safe bet to skip and go faster than usual. After a while, you won’t even notice the difference.