Streamline Your Day: How to save time in daily life

Are You Truly Busy, or Just Busy Being Busy?

Do you often find yourself at the end of a seemingly busy day with little to show for it? You’re not alone. Many of us spend our days caught in a cycle of reactive busyness—responding to every phone call, email, and solving other people’s problems, which prevents us from making progress on our own important projects. It’s a common trap where being busy does not necessarily equate to being productive.

What is Intentional Productivity?

True productivity isn’t just about doing things; it’s about doing the right things that move you forward in your goals. It may seem like kind of a simple thing, but in many situations it can be tempting to do the easy thing, and not necessarily the thing that will move you closer to the end result you really want. It involves directing your efforts toward important tasks that align with both your personal and professional aspirations. This approach may not come naturally at first, but like any skill, it improves with practice. Often, this might mean asking yourself, “Is this really bringing me closer to my goals and dreams?” or even pondering “What exactly are my dreams?” It’s simple yet challenging work.

I remember in 2002 I was in the process of breaking up with a my long-term boyfriend and came down with Guillian-Barre (a story for another time) which left me broken-hearted and weak. I was extremely lost and made some bad decisions (another story) but I remember making the decision to go back to school, chase after something I enjoyed for myself and move to an apartment in a high-rise in a suburb of Chicago by myself.

It was just the first of a long line of decisions I made to pave the path to my future goals and to not waste my precious time on people and things in my life that didn’t serve who I was meant to be.

That, to me, is what productivity is. Living life with intention and not just about “getting things done”. But perhaps I have digressed a bit too much. Let’s bring it back up a notch.

Some of us run our own business, some of us are working full-time and have side-hustles, and some of us are just trying to get through the day and be parents to our kids, or some other focus in life.

And so, here we are trying to figure out how to eek a couple more minutes a day and not get lost in the endless funnel of energy and activity that we are all too familiar with. Here is my personal list of ways to save your time, your most precious commodity to spend it on the things and people you want to most.

So I have compiled this list of 10 of my best tips to be more productive so that you can do to be more time-efficient in your working day and beyond.

Dare to Plan your day

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin

Plan your day

Taking 10 minutes in the morning to plan your day, you will be much more successful in doing the things you set out to do. Check out my “morning routine” post on how to do this.

There are multiple things that happen when you take the time to plan your day. Not the least of which is not having to cognitively make decisions throughout the day what to work on next. If you outline your priorities and figure out what work will help you reach those prioritized goals, you only have to do it once, not every time you finish a task.

Focus on 2-3 activities to work on per day

The word “Priority” actually means “the very first or prior thing”, or 1 thing… however, we all know that focusing on 1 thing is pretty much impossible in today’s fast-moving world. However, you can choose 2-3 different tasks and make forward progress on them. Be specific about what you are going to move forward on, and hold yourself accountable.

I’d also like to mention that the priorities can be in different parts of your lives, whether it’s personal health, family needs or work needs. There are only 24 hours in a day, and you need to share them all equally in every part of your life for complete happiness.

Time-block your way

I personally don’t know how any mother or individual DOESNT time-block their day in some way shape or form. Even if we don’t know we are doing it, we still put our kids soccer games in our schedules and doctor appointments, we should do the same with everything else. Now there are many ways to skin that cat (where the heck did THAT saying come from?) but in essence, it’s just setting aside parts of the day for specific types of work. Something you are interested in? Check out this (article on Time-blocking)or this (Creating a digital calendar organization system)

Time-blocking example

My personal favorite is to create an “ideal” weekly schedule of what I’d like to work on when depending on how I know my energy works. I am most awake and productive in the morning, so I tend to schedule most of my heavily focused work then, when I’m fresh, my kids are at school and I’m not exhausted from all the “doing”. Sometimes I am specific about what I’m working on, other times I am more general, knowing the type of work that I will do, but allowing myself a little freedom to work on what is calling me (following my hyperfocus) at the moment in time.

Don’t let interruptions ruin focused work

The hardest thing to do when working in an office is reducing the interruptions and producing time for focused work. Even at home in my daily life, I get distracted by emails, slack messages and the dog barking at the other dogs in the neighborhood.

Now, while I can’t do much about the dog, I can turn off my phone and slack when working on something that needs my concentration (automations anyone?) and when I worked at an office I’d often book a conference room when I had a particularly challenging project.

When I know I need to focus, I typically make myself a cup of coffee or tea and put on the headphones for ambient music (I use the Calm app and Amazon Music playlists mostly). Essentially, this is akin to muting my senses that frequently distract me (my hearing of “pings” and “vibrates” apparently) and allowing my flow-state to engage more quickly.

Leverage technology whenever you can

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention the awesomeness of using tech to take some of the admin work out of your day. There are so many automations out there that can reduce the amount of work you NEED to do, from changing a status on a project tool, to making sure the right information makes it to an onboarding form. In today’s digital world, the opportunities are literally endless.

Leverage technology for productivity

Not a day goes by where I’m not thinking of how to utilize technology to make more “space” in my life. For example, I am using an AI in one of my favorite tools, Airtable, to take my blog posts and help separate them into social media blurbs. Still my voice but I don’t need to rewrite everything. That’s at least 30 minutes per blog. There are many creative ways to use technology to improve your productivity, from using a scheduler to set the work hours you are willing to take phone calls, or an all-in-one CRM that makes following your leads simple and effective.

Declutter your physical and digital space

declutered physical space

A clean space with less items, be it within your physical space, or digital one, is less noise and information for your brain to process. With less input, your brain can understand and focus on the things it needs to more easily, and therefore waste less time. Decluttering, throwing out, or just plain organizing your physical and digital space will reduce your stress and anxiety. With less things around, you have less to worry about.

Look around the space where you typically do your work. Are there old coffee mugs that still need to be taken to the kitchen? Post-it notes that have last week’s meetings on them? Pick them up, throw them away, wipe down your desk. Have only the essential items out and easily accessible.

Next, go through your digital drive once a week and put your files where they belong. Clean out your download folder and clear out your inbox. Just doing this helps to clear the clutter and allow you to streamline your work and focus so you don’t wast valuable time searching the files and emails that don’t have anything to do with what you need to be working on.

Learn to write effectively (and quickly)

Learning how to write, speak, and explain things in an effective format not only helps communication efforts with others, but also saves you time and stress from miscommunications or back and forth messages. Essentially, communicating using the least amount of words as possible, bullet points where able and simple, non-complicated words are best practices.

Nothing raises stress levels more than trying to read someone’s email that doesn’t have a clear path from introduction to ending, that jumps from subject to subject or uses words that I may or may not need to refer to in a dictionary to fully understand what is being conveyed. It’s a waste of my time and you can bet I won’t be responding quickly… or at all.

Take breaks during the workday

It may seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks in your daily schedule actually helps your productivity simply because you will “run out of gas” if you don’t. Taking breaks helps restore mental energy, allowing the brain to rest in between your tasks. Kind of like your body needs to rest at night to be ready for the next day.

Typically I will take a break after a meeting (as an introvert, I need a breather then), or right before a long work period… or if I can just tell my attention is wandering. I have the tendency to want to work through the mental fatigue, but I know from experience that it is more detrimental to push through if my brain just can’t make the connections because it is spent.

The Pomodoro technique, is a technique that can help you stay focused and productive throughout the day. By breaking your work into intervals of focused work and short breaks, you can maximize your efficiency and avoid burnout. Additionally, incorporating tools like time-blocking and prioritizing tasks can further enhance your time management skills and increase productivity levels in your day.

Delegate what you can

Delegation of work

About 6 years ago when I was still working in corporate, I was also managing most of the house, making dinners, grocery shopping and taking the kids on all their extra-curricular activities. One night, I told my husband, “I’m done, you are now in charge of all laundry and meals”. Ever since then he has been in charge of meal planning and grocery shopping and all I need to do is make dinner some nights of the week. What a gift!

This is to say that delegating aspects of your work and life can really help your efficiency, whether it be childcare, administrative services or a simple tasks like your lawn for you. If it’s not something you get inherent joy from, or make money from yourself, delegate to someone else. Hiring a Virtual Assistant may be a great next step to delegating the repeating admin tasks in your business. Here is an article that goes into ways to delegate to a virtual assistant.

Remember to review your day

It may be the LAST thing you want to do at the end of your day, but quickly writing down what you did/accomplished on any particular day is extremely fulfilling. Even on the days where you felt like you spun your wheels, looking back at what you actually did accomplish? (even if it was just taking care of yourself and your family) That’s a win my friends. Now go enjoy the free time that is well-deserved.

Review your day


There you have it! 

10 sensible, easy-to-follow, solid tips on how to spend your time in your day efficiently so you can go on that walk with your best friend, or snuggle up and read a story with your little boy, or heck, linger over a glass of wine and watch Netflix. No judgement!

Implementing these ten strategies can transform not just how you manage your day but how you approach your entire life. By focusing on what truly matters and optimizing how you use your time, you can live more fully and work more effectively. The essence of productivity lies not in increasing the number of tasks completed but in enhancing the quality and relevance of what you accomplish each day.

By refining your approach with these strategies, you can ensure that your busy days are not only productive but also aligned with your deepest goals and aspirations. Whether it’s advancing in your career, nurturing your family, or developing personal projects, these tips provide a robust framework for achieving more with your time.

Did you find these tips helpful? Send me a note and let me know if you have any other tried and true tips for efficiency .([email protected])

If you’d like a bit more help in this area, you can check out my Simplify & Conquer session, which walks through your business and your productivity struggles and gives you solid actionable and personal advice to smooth out the wrinkles. Check it out here and schedule a call if interested

For more on time management and productivity, including how to save 8 hours a week check out the posts below

And finally, I created a Productivity Workbook to help you get started with figuring out how increase your productivity in your own life. It’s free and has a ton of actionable tips and exercises specifically developed to save you 8 hour a week of wasted time.

The only way to learn something is to USE it!
Grab my FREE Productivity Workbook below

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