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If you read my earlier post on how to increase your income you know how strongly I value time! I’m convinced that too many people overvalue saving a few bucks, but vastly undervalue their precious hours.
I’ll admit, I’m a geek when it comes to optimizing my life. I’m always looking for ways to save a minute here or a minute there. It may not seem like much in the beginning, but over the course of a year or more, all that saved time really starts to add up.
I hope this post helps you save some of those precious hours of your own!
Warning: These are not your typical “tips”! But I personally practice every single one of them.
1.) Don’t Clean Your House
Ok, it sounds gross, but hear me out:
If you had unlimited money, would you still spend time cleaning? Probably not.
Intuitively you know it’s not an activity that promotes joy or growth. In fact, it sucks time, energy and willpower right out of you. I’ve never met anyone who’s just finished a 3-hour cleaning session exclaim: “Wow! I am so energized and ready to tackle my day now!”
No, usually you want to veg out and watch Netflix after such an ordeal.
Cleaning is a waste of time. Do you want to know how much time the average American spends on household chores? It’s not pretty.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American Male spends roughly 1 hour and 25 minutes per day on household activities, while the average American Female spends a ridiculous 2 hours and 15 minutes per day!
That is a ton of time.
Assuming everyone reading this will live for another 40 years: If you spent 2 hours a day on household activities every day for the next 40 years: that translates to ~29,200 hours, or ~1,216 DAYS, or ROUGHLY ~3.3 YEARS OF YOUR LIFE SPENT ON CLEANING.
I REFUSE to spend 3 years of my precious life on cleaning.
But what’s the answer? Am I saying we should all let out homes deteriorate into pigsties? By no means!
Believe it or not, my house is usually very clean. My friends are always shocked by how clean I keep my place. Want to know my trick?
I just never make a mess in the first place, so there’s never anything to clean.
Cooking food? I use one pot and one knife for everything and then proceed to just eat out of that pot.
Doing Laundry? I literally try to go through my entire wardrobe before washing my clothes. This way I can usually get away with doing laundry just once a month.
Minimizing your impact around the house is the key.
2.) Skip Meals
Skipping meals is like heresy in our modern American culture. If you tell someone you haven’t eaten all day, they usually ask if something’s wrong. Are you depressed? Are you struggling with finances?
No guys. I just did it by choice.
And considering the fact that most Americans are overweight, I think millions of other people could benefit from skipping out on their bagel and Frappuccino breakfasts as well.
There is a ton to be said about fasting. It’s science and literature goes beyond the scope of this post, but suffice it to say that more and more positive studies are coming back in regards to intermittent fasting.
I’m actually in the tail-end of a 30-day fasting experiment, and I’m excited to post my results about it soon!
For the purposes of this post, however; skipping meals accomplishes 3 things. It saves us time in both the preparation, eating, as well as cleaning required of consuming a meal.
Even if we’re being conservative, you could easily shave off 30min – 1hour of time per day if you skipped just one meal. Those numbers can add up quick.
3.) Don’t Fold Your Underwear
Ok. I’ll admit there’s no science or data on this guys. This one’s just purely from my own logic.
Some clothes, you just have to fold. T-shirts mainly. (If you don’t, they just get terribly wrinkly)
But I need someone to explain to me: what’s the purpose of folding underwear? Why do I care if the one piece of clothing that’s hidden from public view, is wrinkly?
As soon as I realized this, I stopped folding all my boxers, socks, and even towels. I just throw ’em in a bin now. Folding is purely for appearances, and if no one’s looking, who was I folding for?
I save a ton of time on laundry day. 🙂
4.) Avoid Traffic At All Costs
I really hope autonomous driving comes sooner than later. Traffic is the bane of my existence. Daily commuting was one of the reasons why I quit my job in the first place.
Now, these numbers are going to vary wildly city by city (I can’t imagine what it’s like commuting in Los Angeles)…
But if we just took the average of 42 hours per year, and multiplied it over a 40-year career, you get roughly 70 days of your existence just sitting in traffic.
The thing is: this is not even calculating commute time. This is just traffic time. I’m scared to know how much total time the average person spends in their car every day!
The trick to saving time here is not being on the roads during peak traffic hours.
Instead of leaving work at 5, and being stuck in traffic till 6:30, I’d rather just work until 6:30 and leave when there are fewer people on the road. Sometimes I used to take an hour of vacation time, and leave around 3:30 so I could beat the traffic home. Or instead of waiting through morning traffic, why not wake up extra early, get a quick gym session in, and then get to work before the 9 am rush?
Whatever it takes to not waste 70 days of my life sitting idle on the road.
Some Closing Thoughts
Wasting time is, to some extent, unavoidable.
For example, I know it’s much harder for parents of a newborn baby to follow my “never make a mess in the first place” advice. Cleaning up after them is just part of the package there.
But the way I look at it: whatever unavoidable downtime I have, I want to make sure I at least optimize it to the best of my ability!
My favorite way of optimizing? Audiobooks.
It’s no secret that reading is foundational for success. The most successful people are very often the most voracious readers. That is not by coincidence. That being said;
I highly recommend all my readers to sign up for Scribd.
(NOTE: Every new user gets a 30-day free trial. If you don’t like it, just cancel it before your month is up!)
I’m always raving about it to my personal friends. Recently I’ve canceled all my monthly subscriptions (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.) except for Scribd. It was the one service I kept, and will gladly continue paying for.
Since I got my membership, I typically read anywhere from 2-3 books per month and listen to at least 1 audiobook every month!
Whenever I find myself doing the necessary evils of dishes, laundry, or sitting in traffic; I optimize that time by turning on an audiobook and nurturing growth in myself. Switching from music to audiobooks is honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I hope you do too. 🙂
Mr. Smart Money