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Like so many other commodities, time is fixed. We get 24 hours daily–no more, no less. As a result, our time has great value, both figuratively and literally. That’s why the old-fashioned “time is money” remains an accurate adage even in the 21st century.
In other words, every minute of time wasted could cost you dearly. Maybe you won’t feel the loss immediately, but you’ll feel it eventually. For instance, the 2021 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey shows that women spend around 2.4 hours daily on domestic chores. Using the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour adds to about $6,351 each year.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop doing housework, of course. However, it does reveal the underlying importance of being a little greedy with your time. After all, you only have a limited amount of minutes available. So the stingier you are with those minutes, the more likely you’ll be to feel like your time was well spent.
You can shave off time anywhere you like from your calendar. So if you’re looking for places to start saving some big bucks (in time), try slicing a few minutes off in the areas of transportation, healthcare, shopping, food preparation, and entertainment.
Transportation: Minimizing drives, commutes, and more
Life may be called a highway, but you don’t want to spend too much time on actual roads. Time is quite literally money in the case of driving — since gas prices are soaring and are not expected to decline in 2022, per Wall Street Journal reporting. Consequently, you’ll improve your wallet in both tangible and perceived ways by minimizing drive and commute time.
What are some solutions for jumping into your car less frequently? A popular answer is to travel to your office fewer days than you do now. However, even if you can’t telecommute full time, you may be able to move to a hybrid working arrangement. If you’re the boss, you might even want to go with a radical move like testing a four-day workweek, a la some United Kingdom companies.
Another method of spending less time behind the wheel is to consolidate errands. For example, trying to get everything done — right down to picking up the kids from soccer practice — with one trip. You’ll use your vehicle less often while still getting everything accomplished.
Healthcare: Seeing doctors in a more efficient manner
Between scheduling medical appointments and sitting in waiting rooms, you fritter away a lot of time on healthcare visits. And if you have to make appointments for others in your household, you lose even more time in the process.
Though you need to maintain your health and wellness, you shouldn’t have to hand over precious hours to schedule and attend visits. In many situations, you can streamline your healthcare experience while saving time and money by leveraging the power of telemedicine.
Ever tried telemedicine before? It’s much more than just a virtual Zoom-style chat. During a checkup, your online physician can diagnose and treat a wide range of diseases, from respiratory illnesses to skin conditions. Besides not having to drive to and from a doctor’s office and spend hours in a waiting room, there are many other benefits.
One day last year I was too sick to get to the doctor’s office. The telemedicine Dr. was even able to look at my throat. I held my phone up — looking down my throat (like you hold your phone for a selfie). The process was very easy, I could stay in bed, and it only took about 15 minutes before the Dr. called in the needed medicine to my local pharmacy.
According to HealthTap, a leading virtual primary healthcare provider, online care visits can save you both time and money. HealthTap offers membership-based primary care from board-certified doctors at a fraction of the cost. According to the company’s research, the cost of a telehealth visit can save you more than half of what you might pay out of pocket without insurance.
Shopping: Getting a break from lines and registers
Chances are good that you already do quite a bit of shopping online. Statista figures suggest that around three-quarters of people shop digitally on a regular basis. Nevertheless, you may not be making the most of online buying to save your time.
Consider the items that you purchase routinely. Ecommerce stores like Amazon and Chewy offer discounts for repeat orders. All you have to do is set up a repeating subscription. Frequently, you’ll get a discount on the merchandise you need as well as have it delivered systematically.
You may find that you want to do the same thing with ordering your repeated grocery items. It’s understandable if you enjoy picking fresh produce, meat, seafood, and dairy items yourself. Yet you probably don’t need to see a box of pasta or a bag of potato chips in person. It may be easier to have some of your pantry merchandise sent to your home weekly. You’ll still have all the kitchen goods you need to make meals. You just won’t be traveling back and forth to the grocery every few days.
Food Preparation: Eating well while conserving time
Making food can be an enjoyable, relaxing process. Many families like to make at least one meal a social occasion with everyone helping out. Nonetheless, some meal preparation can feel like a bit of a time-consuming chore. Even if you work from home, you can’t necessarily put aside 30 minutes or an hour to create nourishing dishes. Yet you don’t have to turn to Uber Eats as a rescue. You can still eat well and be frugal with your time.
A winning strategy can be to slice and dice all veggies and some fruits ahead of time. Some people like to set aside an hour on Sunday to chop up broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and similar ingredients for the week’s recipes.
My local grocery has all the veggies cut up and sealed varying sized containers, and you may find a quick pick-up even more convenient. The bite-sized chunks can be stored in reusable containers in the refrigerator or freezer until needed. Then, you’ll be able to reach for them during the week as-needed without missing a beat.
Another technique to maximize your kitchen moments is to make double batches of the foods your family loves. Serve up one batch and pop the other in the freezer. It’ll be there to thaw and cook on an extremely busy night. And rather than resorting to fast food, you’ll have a nutrient-rich meal in a flash that you barely had to prepare.
Entertainment: Sifting out the good from the wasteful
Eighty-one percent of individuals admit to using YouTube widely. Sixty-nine percent can’t get enough of Facebook. Those numbers don’t just represent Generation Z consumers, either. They’re across the board, including Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. On average, Techjury claims most people are tuned in to social networks for nearly two-and-a-half hours a day.
What does this mean? Unless your job is as a social media marketer, you probably spend more time on social sites than you need to. It can be easy to fall into the rabbit hole of funny TikToks or start scrolling endlessly on Instagram. However, you’re not doing yourself any favors by chewing up your extra time clicking, commenting, and tagging.
In the coming weeks, pay close attention to your time on social media.
If you have an iPhone, check out your social networking usage statistics at the end of each day. See if you can bring down your usage from the day before. Remember that it’s okay to check in, but avoid mentally “checking out” for long periods when you could be spending your time more productive and personally satisfying.
No doubt about it: Time is money. This is because it is a valuable, scarce asset that seems to go faster the older you get. Sadly, you can’t stop the clock or add more minutes to your jam-packed days. Yet you can apply a few clever time management techniques to your everyday routines to make more of your days feel productive and efficient.
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