Just recently I noticed several time-saving patterns I follow, some almost intuitively, to get more out of my time and efforts. Here are the ones I noted. Maybe they’ll help you in a small way.
- Maximize use of the keyboard. Jumping back and forth to the mouse or touchpad takes more time. Most programs have keyboard shortcuts. These will save you scads of time and make your computer work more efficient.
- The same principle goes for email, even more so. I read, answer, and dispatch hundreds of emails a day in an efficient way with the touch of a finger.[note I use FastMail.fm, which I consider the best out there in terms of reliability, privacy, and ease of use, even more so now with the
betadandy interface. Disclosure: The link is a referral, but I’d use it even without that.]
- Make the time-wasters hard to access. Don’t put Facebook as an open tab on your browser, as I used to do. Log out when you leave. Make it more difficult to enter, and you may spend less time.
- Set patterns of behavior. I found I was checking my spam filter, with only one or two emails in the box, for that elusive email I might be missing. So I made a rule: Go to the spam filter file only when it has at least seven emails. (Now, Fastmail is so good at it, I never look in the spam file.)
- Organize more and better. It’s hard to plan too much. We want to dive right in. I’m learning the GTD system, be it ever so slowly, and stumbled on this free online organizer to help with that.
- Learn a few tools, and learn them well. Our Brazilian magazine has suffered because I refuse to learn modern databases and spreadsheets. The Lord will send someone along when the time comes. But I pretty well know the ins and outs, as a non-technical person, of WordPress, TiddlyWiki, Posterous (oh, the pain of losing that one), and LibreOffice. Inside those, I can zip along. UPDATE: In the place of Posterous, we now have, and use, Posthaven.com.
- Slow down. Speed does not automatically translate into effectiveness. The only way to do that, to my mind is through the Word and prayer. With these, the Lord controls our time and life. Without them, we are at the mercy of tasks and daily demands. Remember, we have too much to do not to pray.
I’m interested in hearing your time-saving tips. Sharing together, we might just do an even better job all around.