Time or more of it. It’s something we all strive for but never quite have enough. Productivity hacks, outsourcing, scheduling. These are all ways in which we try and achieve more time to spend doing other things.
I know what you’re thinking. Not another productivity post. The web is littered with the same cookie-cutter articles of how to be more productive. Luckily I’m not here to play that game. Like everyone I procrastinate when at my computer; I’m no productivity warlord. What I have going in my favour however is that I am efficient in how I utilise my time and have built up a number of ways in which the life I have chosen allows me to work less while still getting ‘all the things’ done!
Exercise at home:
Packing for the gym, travelling to the gym, spending time in the gym; it’s an exhaustive process. For the past 6 years, I’ve exercised purely at home or in the great outdoors. Not only do I no longer have to endure the ‘gym bro’ but I also get to exercise when it suits me.
Having a 3-year-old means you’ve got to juggle a little and having a set-up at home enables me to work around the family and continue to be a good dad, husband and businessman.
We had a large extension at our property and part of this was a dedicated space for the gym equipment and office. These are both completely optional (spare rooms suffice) however it was always part of our goals when building a life which worked for us.
There are millions of Youtube videos & ebooks dedicated to exercise at home; most of which are bodyweight focused. The efficiency of this vs going to a gym cannot be underestimated.
Let’s say you want to work out 3 days a week. Over the course of a year that’s 156 days of gym action. Perhaps it takes you 1 hour to pack your bag, drive to the gym, get changed and then drive home from the gym. That’s 156 hours a year. This equates to 6.5 days lost a year by travelling to the gym.
I’d always advocate getting out and walking or cycling but build an exercise routine you can do at home as opposed to paying for expensive gyms.
Shopping once a week:
When we had our extension we decided to install two separate fridges (hear me out). Of course, there’s an environmental impact in relation to energy use however it was a strategic decision to save time visiting the shops more than once a week.
As my wife and I are predominantly home-based we cook all our meals from scratch at home. This means we get through A LOT of food. Having two fridges means we can comfortably purchase enough food to last the week; continue to eat fresh and save time from visiting the supermarkets on numerous occasions. Eating all our meals from home has less impact on the environment as we are not buying pre-made food in wasteful wrappers.
Separate Recycling bins:
This is a small efficiency win but one which has an environmental win too. We are quite serious about our recycling; so much so we had a specific bin area designed within the new kitchen.
This sits within one of the cupboards and has multiple compartments allowing us to sort our recycling efforts properly. It’s also great from an efficiency perspective as it means fewer trips to the outside bin and forces you to consciously think about everything you can recycle.
One brand/clothes online (ONLY):
My wonderful wife has an internal battle with clothes which I assume many have. Fill your shopping basket with options across multiple online platforms, have so much choice you become overwhelmed and either buy nothing or purchase ‘too much’ to try on knowing most of it won’t be right and was all, in the end, a fruitless task. I’ve been there myself and it’s not fun!
I’ve seen many advocate buying the same clothes over and over. I’m a little different to this. I buy all my clothes online only and via one brand. At the moment that brand is the ASOS own brand.
Essentially I log onto the ASOS website, browse to the men’s section and filter by their own brand immediately. This instantly removes 90% of the choice and allows me to focus on the clothes I know will work for me.
This strategy removes the noise instantly, saves time and allows you to remain presentable in your appearance.
A follow on from the point above. I tend to buy clothes in batch every 6 months. Socks, new jeans, t-shirts. I will buy these in one swoop. The process of purchasing clothes brings around unnecessary stress so I limit this to twice yearly.
Try It I assure you it will free your mind for more enjoyable tasks.
Working from home:
I’ve stressed the benefits of working from home many times but I believe it’s the single most important time efficiency you can implement into your schedule. Right now I work from home every single day and couldn’t imagine a life without it. Let’s put aside the social impact of work from home and focus on things from an efficiency perspective.
According to the BBC the average daily commute was 57.1 minutes in 2015. I would assume this has risen since.
Let’s use 60 minutes as the benchmark and say we work 46 weeks a year (Minus a generous holiday allocation).
Working 5 days a week and commuting an hour each way would be 10 hours a week. Times this by 46 and then divide by 24 brings a total of 19 days stuck in a car commuting.
÷ 24 = 19.16
19 DAYS IN A CAR.
The maths is staggering yet this is the reality for many and doesn’t actually take into account other aspects associated with commuting i.e: financial cost, car depreciation, environmental impact and so forth.
The majority of people would be better off taking a lower-paid role closer to home as the impact on their time would be astounding.
Commuting is an inefficient use of anyone’s time and energy; especially for those stuck in a car. Personally speaking, I had this commute for two years before I changed my life. Not only were stress levels impacted but also my health and general well being.
The time is now mine to exercise, spend time with my wife/daughter or anything else I particularly fancy doing. You finish work on time as you don’t have to battle with traffic just to get home.
Before we moved to the area we now call home we lived on a new development with a lack of close by amenities. It made general living without a car a challenge. One of the attractions when choosing where to live in Wakefield was how walkable the majority of our day to day needs were.
Hairdressers (pre-booked appointment), shops/supermarkets, doctors, a cafe, restaurants and parks are all within a 5-minute walk with primary schools a 20-minute walk and secondary school just next door!
These things tend to be required weekly and save a significant amount of time and can be done on foot too!
It’s very easy to become a busy fool with the day to day aspects of life. This saves us a huge amount of time and allows us to immerse ourselves in the community too.
When planning all aspects of your life, think about time as a commodity you can never get back. That great sounding job with the two-hour commute, the house stranded away from any amenities. It’s incredibly easy to be swept along but think clearly about how you spend your time and how you would want to spend your time. Is that house or that job really worth it?