How to Make More Time for the Things That Matter

I used to b a real tightwad. I would much rather do something myself than pay someone else to do it for me. A penny saved and all that. What I failed to consider while doing the housework, was that my miserly ways were actually costing me money—and time.

When I finally made that connection (hat tip to Jack Canfield and his book The Success Principles), I starting getting smart about how I spend my time. Squandering my hours on underwhelming activities was no longer an option.


Jack Canfield and I aren’t the only ones who think menial tasks should be outsourced. New York Times bestselling author and fitness guru, Ben Greenfield, is also a fan of outsourcing. Rather than mow his lawn or do his own grocery shopping, Ben prefers to spend his time doing something he enjoys.

This approach to the mundane ‘have tos’ that invariably clutter up your to-do list frees you up to focus on what’s important, if you have the means. It also gives someone else the opportunity to earn some money. High school and college students, for example, are always in need of part time work to fund their studies (and social life).


The average American spends about five hours a day watching TV. That’s 2,100 minutes a week that could have been put to far better use. Aside from being a colossal waste of time, lounging on the couch watching The Kardashians also inspires late night snacking habits our midriff can do without.

A far better approach to entertainment is to cut the cord on cable (and all broadcast television) and go the pay-per-view route instead. There’s nothing wrong with watching movies —they’re a great way to relax, after all— you just need to be mindful about your consumption.

Decide on a movie night and watch one movie a week, no more. If you’re balking at the idea, by all means, go ahead and binge-watch your favorite series. But then don’t complain when you don’t have enough hours in the day for the stuff that actually matters.


You may think you’re multitasking, but what you’re really doing is switching back and forth between different things. Some people are just faster at it than others. Humans are wired to be mono-taskers, so let’s embrace that.

Rather than one long and intimidating task list where everything is important and looking at it makes you wish it was wine-o-clock, break down your days and weeks into specific focus areas.

For example, I’ve earmarked Monday mornings to research and pitch new angles. Tuesday and Thursday are writing days, Wednesday and Friday are for editing, and so on.

Take a look at everything you need to get done and lump similar tasks together. For me it’s content creation and editing, for you it may be recording videos and seeing clients. If something crops up that has nothing to do with what you’re working on, make a note of it and deal with it later.

As Philip Stanhope said, “There is time enough for everything, in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once; but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.”


If you have children your mornings can easily descend into a frenzied hunt for misplaced school books, sports kit, etc. Or perhaps you’re the kid in the family who keeps losing things? Either way, this time saving tip from Real Simple will eliminate your ‘late again’ woes for good.

Dedicate baskets or shelves to specific days of the week. When the kids get home they immediately remove items from their bags and place them in the appropriate basket. You could also create an everyday shelf for things like car keys, wallets and whatnot.

According to a survey by Pixie Lost & Found, the average American spends 2.5 days a year looking for lost items. If this is you, imagine what you could do with those 48 hours if you weren’t hunting for your cell phone or car keys.


In her TED talk: How to gain control of your free time, Laura Vanderkam reminds us that small moments can have great power. She says we can use our bits of time for bits of joy.

That could something as simple as choosing to read something wonderful on the bus on the way to work or using your mid-morning break at the office to do a short meditation. It’s about looking at the whole of one’s time and seeing where the good stuff can go.

There are plenty of ways to save time and be more productive, but perhaps we’d be better served if we took Laura’s overarching message to heart instead.

“When we focus on what matters we can build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.”

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Angela J
Angela J5 days ago


Gloria picchetti

The best way to have more time for important things is to do what you want to do instead of reading articles of someone else's list.

Amanda McConnell
Amanda M5 days ago

Thanks for sharing

Amanda McConnell
Amanda M5 days ago

Thanks for sharing

Mike R
Mike R5 days ago


Lesa D
Lesa D5 days ago


thank you Angela...

John W
John W6 days ago

If a jobs worth doing, it's worth paying someone else to do it.

Louise R
Louise R6 days ago

thanks for sharing

Teresa A
Teresa A6 days ago

Thank you

KS Goh6 days ago

Thanks for the article.