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Welcome to the TIME SAVING BLOG where you'll find ever more
ways to save time. If you don't already have it, check out my eBook


for the absolute best ways to save time!

101 Ways to Save Time!


Finally, at a time in our lives when we’re busier than ever before comes valuable advice on how we can reclaim our precious time. This book will enable you to: Free up days per year, hours per month, and valuable minutes every day.
  • Maximize your sleep hours and reduce your overall time in bed.
  • Learn about the “dilution solution”.
  • Discover the power of the cumulative effect of “second savers”.
  • Find out about the TOP FIFTEEN areas where most people can save time.

  • Think back to when you first moved out on your own. You probably started out with a small apartment and very few possessions. You had a place that took virtually no time to find anything in or to clean up, and you had a lifestyle that wasn’t loaded down with time robbing activities. What happened? In this book you’ll find 101 ideas on how to save time along with methods to simplify both your life and your abode. You'll learn to conquer time robbers and regain control over your time.
    The author has spent over two decades developing time saving techniques in the busiest job in America – Air Traffic Control. This time critical profession often requires over 100 decisions per minute. He has volunteered as an EMT, another time critical occupation, where seconds can mean life or death. His precision time scheduling allowed him to take many novices to their personal high points in a mountain guiding business he started. And he has been a nationally ranked sub 24-hour 100-mile ultramarathoner.
    On sale now! $7.95
     


    Please note that even though many of these are not as powerful as the ones in the book, it's important to
    remember that everything is cumulative. So apply as many as you can in order to maximize your time savings!



    I've come round to adding new tips in chronilogical order (the latest are at the top). So if this is you're first time to visit, you'll find 75 tips at the bottom that use the same categories as those in the book. If you're a repeat visitor, just scan down to the newest tips towards the top. Thanks, Mike Wood.

    - I have found that for heavy computer use (2 hours or more per day), I get a little over three years out a computer before it dies. Typically, this is the motherboard, although the harddrive, video card or power supply are other culprits. At this point, one usually scrambles to get a new computer and wrings one's hands over the data that one failed to backup. When my most recent laptop died, with two trips to Frys I was able to get a harddrive case, pull out my old harddrive and transfer over most of my data to my new laptop (some programs do not transfer though). I was only out a couple hours for this (along with several more hours in shopping for a new laptop, and installing and learning new programs). I now realize that it would save time and headaches to just replace a computer after three years. Replacing it while it is still working well will make it a lot easier to copy your data onto a new computer. It will save you a huge amount of recovery time. And in a worst case scenario (dead harddrive) it will save you a large expense of data recovery.

    - So your favorite magazine comes out and it has a neat how-to in it and you really want to build that project (or whatever). It's always best to wait until at least two more issues come out before starting on it. Many times other readers will start on it, discover some error (or better method) and write in a letter-to-the-editor to explain the issue. By waiting you can avoid other's errors.

    - We must have a couple dozen power cubes. These are the electrical cords with a square cube on the end. They step down 110 volts to 12VDC or another lower voltage level. The trouble is, a lot of them look very much alike and they're easy to get mixed up. If you do get them mixed up, you have to waste time trying to figure out which electronic device takes which voltage until you get things sorted out. In order to avoid this time waster, simply use a label maker or some masking tape and mark the name of the device that the power cord goes to when you first acquire it.

    - Don't trade in books at Half Price Books. I've gone there a number of times with two or three boxes of books. I don't mind that they only want to pay .75 to $5 for a couple boxes of books. But they make you wait 45 minutes to an hour and a half to pay you. Definately not worth the time.

    - Flipping the end of a roll of tape back on itself makes it much quicker to start. Especially with strapping tape.

    - I'm still amazed at the number people that won't take the time to learn to type and ten key. A few hours spent learning these skills might save them ten minutes or more a day every day for the rest of their life!

    - Recyclable shopping bags are not just good for the environment, they can help you save time! The reason is it's much quicker to move through a store without having to push a cart.

    - The biggest time suck when having a garage sale is taking the time to endlessly mark item after item. But you can cut this down by about 90% by just laying out different colored sheets (on the ground) or tables and placing a placard on each sheet or table stating "everything in this area $1 (or .25, etc). Items that are $5 or less tend to make up about 90% of garage sale items. For the remaining more expensive items, just mark those individually. Although you can try and keep an eye on which piles customers are picking items up from, most of them will be pretty honest and just tell you what the total is. That will just leave the expensive items, which you've already marked anyways.

    - I recently bought a Subaru Baja. It's a quad cab pickup with a small truck bed. I was able to find a photo of the bed online that had all the bed dimensions superimposed on it (front to back, side to side, between the wheelwells, depth, etc). There were ten different dimensions. I printed the photo and laminated it with clear packing tape. Now I keep it in the glove box. If I ever need to know if something well fit, I can just refer to the photo and don't have to make any measurements.

    - With Houston's summer heat we have a garden that has to be watered everyday. We don't have an automated sprinkler system, and if we did it would most likely just cover the lawn. We keep a hose with a sprinkler on the end streched to the garden and basically every day we have to turn the hose on for thirty minutes then walk back out an turn it off. Doesn't seem like much, but by the time you unlock the back door and walk out to it and everything it's five minutes when you turn it on and five minutes when you turn it back off. Guess what? That adds up to sixty hours a year! So I went to Lowes and I bought an automatic hose timer for $28 ($18, after you use a $10 off coupon). Now we don't have to spend any time doing this and - it also waters the garden if we go on vacation.

    - I recently replaced two desktop computers. They had gotten slower and slower over the years. I had removed excess programs, defragged and finally reloaded the OS (which then led to a problem with not recognizing the internet). I'm sure I could have taken them in and had them worked on and upgraded (as I had done in the past), but I finally said why spend $100 - $150 to do that when I could buy a brand new computer at Fry's for $250? Basically it had just gotten to the point where it wasn't worth the time I was spending on these two: waiting for programs to open, trying to fix problems, etc. By the time I finally bit the bullet and replaced them it probably saved me an hour a day in wasted time.
    Also, one of the number one time savers in computing is having a larger monitor. This lets you scan more and also lets you use the mouse less (having to move the page up and down or left and right to see everything.

    - You wouldn't believe how much time I have wasted on my iPod Nano (2nd gen). I'm sure there are a lot of people for whom these have worked great. But for me, this has been one of the biggest time wasting products I have ever bought. It crashes so often, and every time it does I have to hunt around for a lonnnngg time to find where I left off on my book on tape. The first time it completely died, I wasted a lot of time with Apples (non)customer service. The second time it died I wasted even more. It's limping along again at this point. Meanwhile, I changed desktop computers and even though I "authorized" my new computer it won't let me transfer my audio files from the iPod into Itunes. Btw, if you ever have to authorize a new computer, don't waste a half hour like I did trying to find the MENU button when following Apple's incorrect instructions that tell you to first select the MENU button in iTunes. There is no MENU button! Instead select the STORE button to get to it. Also, I bought all these nifty armbands and caps that hold your Nano while you are running. Later, I noticed almost all the runners I run with carry there Ipods in there hands. It was then I realized you can't just 'set and forget' in an armband. You need to keep them in your hands so you can reset them when they crash. So for me, the lesson learned was to buy a real MP3 player, not an iPod.

    - Have you ever pulled into a parking spot and when it's time to exit, it will be quicker to go a certain direction but you can't do it because the car wheels won't turn far enough in that direction? Make a habit of preturning your wheels in the direction you will need to go when you leave. If you do this when you pull in, before you shut the engine off, the vehicle's power steering will make this easy to do.

    - To make backing up your computer easier, create a SAVE folder in your desktop. Inside this folder create a My Documents folder and a My Photos folder. Transfer all your old documents and photos into these new folders and being saving all your new documents or photos into these folders. After you've done this, once a week, before you go to bed, simpley drag the entire SAVE folder into a USB drive or external hard drive (if you have a previous copy in one of these drives, change the name on the old copy so it won't ask you if you want to overwrite the old files). Presto! All your most critical files are backed up in one simple step.

    - Outsourcing tasks is becoming more popular. We tend to think of personal assistants as something that rich celebrities have. But there are a number of websites advertising these services. Rates seem to start around $12/hour, so it may well be worth your time. Shopping, email sorting, phone holding etc. AskSunday.com lets you have 15 "requests" for $29/month. GetFriday.com has a monthly plan that lets you have 10 hours of outsourcing done for $120 (you can also purchase blocks as small as 10 minute increments). Elance.com is another one.

    - I shred everything with our name and address or any personal information on it. That means all those junk mail catalogs that come (even though you're on the no junk mail list) and pretty much any thing that comes in the mail. Also any print outs that have identifying information from the computer. So every month or two there's a pile of shredding to do. So I go to use the crosscut shredder. the container fills up and then I dump everything into a grocery store paper trash bag (from which it can go the recycling dumpster). It would be nice if the trash bag actually fit in the shredder, but it doesn't. And when I dump the container into the bag, there's always a couple dozen pieces of confetti that land on the floor (especially when I pull the pieces that are stuck out of the shredding teeth). I use to have to sweep or vacuum these up. My new time saver on this is to do the shredding on top of some old spread out newspapers. That way when the little pieces fall down, I can just fold the newspapers up and toss them in a recycling bag and I don't have to take the time to get out the vacuum, use it and put it away. Alternatively, If I don't use the newspaper method, I'll just grab a piece of 2" wide packing tape. With this i can dab all the pieces up much faster than I can get out the vacuum or the broom and dustpan.

    - Work before pleasure is a lot quicker than pleasure before work. Well, maybe not so much faster, but more importantly, if you do the fun things on your agenda (or more accurately the things you would prefer to do rather than the important tasks that you least want to do), the tasks you need to do will just keep getting pushed back. Time will continue to slip by and what you really need to get done will never get done. The solution? Go ahead and knock out any small, quick to do tasks, but then take care of the ones you don't want to do. After that, the rest of your day will be a lot easier because you'll have knocked out the tough stuff.

    - If you're a computer whiz you can skip this one. When buying a computer, make a list of all the features it has (amount of RAAM, model number, motherboard brand, etc), write it down and tape it to the back or underside of your computer. Some computers come with a removable label that already lists the features. It's typically on the front where it can help proclaim how great the computer is. If you have one of these, instead of throwing it away just restick it on the bottom. The reason you'll want to do this, is that sooner or later your computer will break down. Then you'll be faced with trying to fix it, reload the operating system, etc. And the first questions that someone will ask when they try and walk you through the repair/upgrade is what is your brand, model, amount of RAAM, motherboard, etc. Well, if you're a computer geek you probably have these things memorized (and more power to you!). But for us mere mortals, these questions can be pretty difficult. Especially if the computer is not running. But if you've already gotten everything written down, it'll save you all the time of digging around trying to find the answers and you'll hopefully be able to get everything back up and running that much sooner (sadly, learned from personal experience!)

    - Although I'd prefer to find it at Target or Walmart because it would probably be half as much, the Container Store has more storage containers than any other retailer. I've bought a number of stackable containers from them over the years. We've used them to store one thing, gotten out of that hobby then used them to store something else. These have really helped with organization which cuts down the time to find everything.

    - If you're getting ready to change a utility provider, or any company that you've set up autodrafting with, cancel the autodrafting before you change the company you're doing service with. Unfortunately, I've found through experience that whenever I've changed a utility provider that I've had autodrafting with, they continue to draft my credit card even after I no longer have an account with them. Then I have to spend a huge amount of time disputing the bill and getting the company to send me a refund. It would save a lot of time to just cancel the autodrafting and pay the final bill or two manually by check.

    - Whenever you buy a new electronic item that has a power cube (the little black box that converts 110V AC down to 9V DC or whatever) take a felt tip marker and mark the name of the item that the power cube goes too on it. The reason is sooner or later you'll have a bunch of electrical items and they're power cubes sitting together in a box and you'll get which goes to which mixed up. Then you have to start a laborious process of tracking down model numbers or voltages to sort them out. But having the name marked on the felt cube will totally eliminate that time waster.

    General

    1. Always be thinking 3 or 4 steps ahead. What will you be doing 4 hours from now? 12 hours? 24 hours, 48 hours? Is there anything that needs to be done now so that your future plans will be able to proceed when you get to them? This comes naturally to most people on things like taking the frozen hamburger out of the freezer in the morning so you can cook it in the evening. But most people tend to limit the amount of forward planning they do. Instead, make it a routine to continuously look ahead so you can have all your tasks prepped and ready to proceed without any delays.
    2. Learn to be a multi-tasker. Can you wash dishes while talking on a headset phone? What about flipping through the newspaper while occasionally glancing up at the TV?
    3. Learn not to be a perfectionist and to accept things as they are. I realize this is terribly simple, but an enormous amount of people (including myself) struggle with this. Keep in mind that accepting a task as “good enough” will allow you to go on to the next task.
    4. Complete a task before going on to the next task. ie, put away laundry after washing, drying and folding and don’t let it pile up. Put away the previous days dishes before creating new dirty ones.
    5. Faced with a daunting project? Anything can be done if it's broken down into a series of smaller steps. Just treat your home project like you would at the office. Make up a schedule and break up your project into a series of tasks. Tie the tasks to set dates so you have to make quantifiable progress.
    6. Color-coded keys. Every time you need to fumble through keys to find the right one it wastes time. With most of us having ten or more keys on a key chain, there’s always a couple of keys that are similar. You can eliminate the time spent trying to find the correct key by simply having color-coded keys made. Choose one color (say green) for one key and another color (like red) for a similar looking one. You’ll soon associate the color with the lock you’re opening


    7. The Office

    8. Do you hate taking the time to floss at home? A lot of us at my office brush and floss while we're there (in the restroom of course). Okay, if nobody else is doing this it might be frowned upon. But if others are already doing this there, while not knock this out while you're at work.




    9. Household

    10. Create a set place for everything. The more thoroughly you can develop a set location for everything, the quicker and easier it will be to find everything. This will then speed everything up in general.
    11. During the summer, get a Nalgene bottle. A Nalgene is a wide-mouthed plastic bottle that’s found in sporting goods stores. Fill the Nalgene halfway with water and put it in the freezer (right side up, cap loose). When you get up in the morning, retrieve the bottle and fill it the rest of the way with water. This will keep you supplied with cold water all day long as the ice gradually melts. Using a Nalgene like this will keep you from having to add ice to a cup, find a drinking fountain, make a stop in a store to pick up bottled water, etc. Extra hot climate? Get an Outdoor Research water bottle parka (this is an insulating blanket) or increase the ratio of ice. Also, get a second Nalgene bottle so you can rotate the first one to the dishwasher while you’re using the second one. You could use other types of plastic bottles, but the Nalgene stands up well to repeated freezing and has a wide mouth so it’s easy to clean or fill with ice.
    12. Painting your house? Consider painting it a shade similar to local pollen and ash. The paint won’t become discolored nearly as soon. Your house will look better and won’t need power washing as often. Since your paint will look better it might also reduce the frequency of repainting.
    13. Cut your hair short. Not only will this reduce the hair washing and prep time, but it could also reduce the frequency of returning for a haircut.
    14. Spending a lot of time going back and forth to your rental shed for small items? Put a floor in your attic. This will allow you to store things in the attic so that don’t have to drive back and forth to a storage lot. Another option: You can get Rubbermaid storage buildings for $50-200. They’re weatherproof and set up in under an hour.
    15. Small mess on the carpet like shredded paper, lint, string, etc? Instead of taking the time to haul out, use, and put up the vacuum cleaner, just grab a piece of 2” wide packing tape, dab up the area with the tape, and toss it. It’s faster, cheaper, and gives you better exercise. If you save 5 minutes per use and you use this idea twice a month, you’ll save 2 hours a year!
    16. Dead bolts in doorknobs not lining up? Use red lipstick marker to cover the end of the dead bolt and you’ll be able to quickly see where it’s striking the strike plate and fix any misalignments.
    17. House traffic flow design: If you’re designing your next home, set it up so that your kitchen, bathroom and utility are near the entrance. These are places you always need to go to first when you get home. Not planning on moving anytime soon? Look at your present traffic flow. Can you move a couch or some furniture to make a more direct route to the kitchen? Is there a clear path to the bathroom and utility room from when you first walk in? Perhaps you can make some minor changes to make it more efficient. (See my other book for more house time savers.)
    18. Are you in an older home that occasionally develops plumbing problems? When you get a slow drip in a faucet, just live with it until the next problem occurs, then combine the two for one service call. Not only is it cheaper, but this saves a second day of having to wait around for a plumber to show up, a second set of phone calls for scheduling, a second set of explanations from the plumber, and even having to write two checks.
    19. Keep your family’s schedule on a large desk calendar mounted on the wall in the kitchen/dining area where everyone can see it. One large calendar easily viewable by everyone from the kitchen table will help the family’s schedule run smoother and allow you to quickly access everyone’s plans. You can pick up a 36” calendar at OfficeMax for about $3.
    20. So you've been leaving your shoes at the door to save time cleaning by keeping from tracking dirt in the house. But if you're working on a project that requires you to go in and out you have to take a lot of time to put your shoes on and off. This especially adds up if you're wearing something like boots and working in mud. To save the time of taking your boots on and off, get a pair of shoe covers from www.shophometrends.com. You can quickly slide these over your shoes and you won't have to take the time to remove your shoes and put them back on again.
    21. Have you ever wasted time starting to reread a magazine you've already read? My wife and i get so many magazines it sometimes difficult to determine if we've read ones from the other person's stack or not. Here's the system we developed to solve this. If Debbie finishes a magazine and wants to save it she marks D-S on the label (Debbie - Save). If she doesn't want to save it she marks D-D (Debbie - Discard). I do the same by marking M-S or M-D (Mike-Save or Mike-Discard). This has helped us save time and keep track of which magazines we want.
    22. Are you saving magazines and books for reference? I save a lot of periodicals for articles to refer back to. Sometimes I dog-ear the pages to help find the interesting article. But what happens when you have dozens of magazines and you're looking for a particular article? What used to happen to me is I'd have to waste a lot of time thumbing through them. The dog-eared pages helped marginally, but not much. Now I've got a way that's a hundred times faster. Just to an office supply store and pick up marking tabs. These tabs are about 1/2" wide by 1 1/2" long. The bottom portion that you stick to the magazine is clear and has an adhesive that easily comes off if you decide to remove it at a later time. The top portion comes in different colors (red, blue, green, etc) and can be written on. Now when I see an interesting article, I just put on a marking tab and write the topic on it. The tab sticks up a half inch from the top of the magazine and I can easily scan through them and quickly find what I'm looking for. A pack of 300 is less than $2.
    23. Having a garage sale? You can make more money if you haul your stuff to a community wide garage sale (often held in school parking lots) or if you individually list your items on eBay, but just having the garage sale in your garage/yard is much faster. Saves loading and driving time.
    24. If you have an artificial Christmas tree and an attic or basement, consider leaving it assembled and leaving the strings of lights in place. Simply place the entire tree in a large Christmas tree bag (usually these are sold around Christmas for the purpose of disposing of real trees) and put the whole thing in the attic or basement all wrapped up inside the bag. You'll save a couple hours of assembly and dissasembly every year.
    25. IF you need something from the attic and it's not time critical, just leave a note on the attic stairs. It seems I often need some small thing my attic. And I either need to waste ten minutes to pull the attic stairs down, go up and search for the one thing, and then put the attic stairs back up. Alternatively, sometimes I would tell myself "Oh, I'll just remember to get that on my next trip upstairs." But then when I did go upstairs the next time, I would have forgotten. Now I just pull the attic stairs down enough to toss in a note telling myself what I wanted. Then when a pressing need arrives and I do have to make a trip upstairs I combine a number of trips together, allowing my to consolidate my time.


    26. Birthdays/holidays

    27. Besides gift bags, you can now buy gift boxes that have holiday themes printed directly on them. This lets you just place your gift in the box and tape it up, without having to take the time to wrap it with wrapping paper.
    28. Headed to a large family gathering to open lots of Christmas presents? Bring a pair of wire cutters and a razor cutter with you. Many children’s toys have plastic cable ties or twist ties attaching products to packaging. Wire cutters and a razor cutter allow you to quickly remove these items.
    29. Kitchen

    30. Using the last two pieces of bread to make a sandwich? Instead of taking the time to get a zip lock bag or to get a piece of Tupperware which would require later washing, just put the sandwich back in the bread bag, seal it back up with a twist tie and use the bag itself for storage.
    31. Line your kitchen sink with a perforated plastic sink mat. Putting a plastic mat in the sink allows you to toss the dishes in a little faster (no, I don’t mean throw them from 6’ away, but you can toss them from a couple inches). If you don’t have a mat, you typically would just carefully set the dishes in the sink. Having a mat will also allow you to:
      1. Keep the dishes from breaking/chipping.
      2. Keep the sink from chipping.
      3. Keep the noise level down.
    32. Reading while eating. If you’re not conversing, don’t let your meal time go to waste, but use it to catch up on your reading. Newspapers and magazines work better than books as they will stay open without having to hold them with one hand.
    33. Microwave cleaning zapping your time? For minor cleaning mix water and a quarter lemon in a small bowl and microwave on high for 1½ minutes. Let the steam percolate in the microwave for 5 minutes and then wipe down with a paper towel. For stubborn stains, mix ¼ cup baking soda with 1 tsp of vinegar and ¼ tsp lemon essential oil and apply with a sponge to stains.
    34. Wasting time trying to find items in the kitchen? The next time you redo your kitchen cabinets, choose see-through glass doors instead of solid wood doors They will allow you to see exactly what’s in each cabinet, saving you time having to sort through cabinets to find rarely used items.
    35. Remodeling the kitchen? Consider a foot pedal for the kitchen sink. This will free up both hands so you can wash dishes faster. Bonus – saves money since you don’t have to keep the water running while you’re washing something with both hands. Hopefully you’ll be putting the vast majority of your dishes in the dishwasher, but there’s always a few items that aren’t dishwasher friendly.
    36. Permanently affix the louvers at the bottom of the refrigerator with a twist tie. I've found that the louver/vent cover at the bottom of every refrigerator I've ever owned has a cheap plastic connector that is supposed to attach it to the refrigerator or freezer. But these either break off or are of such a poor design that this decorative piece just won't stay attached. This leads to constantly having to try to get the thing back on and to try to get it to stay attached to the bottom of the fridge. One day, I finally realized that I could just run a twist tie through two small holes in the metal framework behind the vent cover and twist the tie around one of the louver slats. After that it stayed on and I never had to waste any more time on it again.
    37. Microwave cleaning zapping your time? For minor cleaning mix water and a quarter lemon in a small bowl and microwave on high for 1½ minutes. Let the steam percolate in the microwave for 5 minutes and then wipe down with a paper towel. For stubborn stains, mix ¼ cup baking soda with 1 tsp of vinegar and ¼ tsp lemon essential oil and apply with a sponge to stains.
    38. Wasting time trying to find items in the kitchen? The next time you redo your kitchen cabinets, choose see-through glass doors instead of solid wood doors They will allow you to see exactly what’s in each cabinet, saving you time having to sort through cabinets to find rarely used items.
    39. Do you love chocolate cookies but hate taking the time to make them? Me too! I've never been happy with the premade ones on the cookie aisle or the refridgerated mixes in the deli section at the grocery store. But i've finally sound some that taste 95 - 100% the same as the ones i make at home. It's a 2 pound tub that is sold for school fund raisers (typical cost is $9.95) and comes refridgerated or frozen. Try it. It tastes great and its a great time saver over mixing the ingredients yourself.
    40. Instead of cleaning a crockpot after using it they now make crockpot liners.






    41. Kids

    42. Do you have toddlers? Avoid or delay getting them crayons, markers, pens, pencils, and Play-doh type items as long as possible. Instead choose similar toys like drawing tablets with magnetic pens that let them learn to draw without marking on your walls, floors and furniture. Or, if you do have crayon and Play-doh type toys, adopt a strict outside (away from the house) rule. This will save you hours of clean up time. Don’t forget your money/taxes are going toward mother’s day out/schools. Your toddlers can get lots of practice with their crayons there until they get to the point where they won’t mark on the walls of your home. Bonus: Besides cleaning time this will also save a lot of money on painting, flooring and furniture.
    43. Kid's ballgames, recitals, concerts, etc. Everyone likes going to see their kids perform. But I've found at events like my son's T-ball games, he's at bat about 1% of the time and he's actively playing in the field about 9% of the time. Thus, about 90% of the time I'm their is spent while the kids are sitting in the bullpen, wandering around, etc. So I put the time sitting in the stands waiting for him to come out on the field to good use by reading, filling out paperwork, etc.
    44. TV

    45. When playing DVDs, I often find its quicker to select MENU and start with the first scene rather than to just hit PLAY when I watch a movie for the first time. When you hit PLAY, the DVD will often take you through a number of FBI and other warnings against copying the movie. When you hit MENU it will skip those.


    46. Entertainment

    47. Company coming over and need to prepare lunch for them? Change your regular grocery shopping trip to the morning that they’ll be coming or to the day before and pick up an 18” sub (or more than one if needed), some chips, dip and soda at the grocery store. Subs don’t cost much more than if you purchased the materials and made them yourself, but save loads of time in your prep and cleanup work. Paper plates are in!




    48. Yard Work

    49. Need exterior lights? Landscape lights? Instead of taking the time to install wiring, just install solar powered lights.
    50. WD40 sprayed on shovels keeps snow from sticking to the shovel, allowing you to move more snow with each load. Also works on shovels with some types of dirt.
    51. Do you ever have to pick up after your dog, and the droppings just get pushed around as you try to get them on the shovel? Well, it’s a little quicker if you just grab a stick and push the droppings onto the shovel.
    52. Instead of having a second person use their time to hold a ladder while you're working on a project, consider drilling a hole in the top rung of your ladder and drilling a lag bolt through the rung and into the tree, telephone pole or whatever you're working on (you'll still need a second person to hold the ladder while you do the initial bolting). Once the ladder is boled to the object you won't have to worry about it falling. In order to do this, you'll need to make sure the top rung is a heavy enough gauge to handle having a hole drilled through it.


    53. Garage/Workshop

    54. Make a garden shed rack to conveniently store all your shovels in one place. You can build it fast with 2x4’s, a sheet of plywood and a saber saw. Follow these steps:
      1. Lay out your garden tools, rakes, shovels, brooms, weed eaters, electric chain saws, blowers, etc and determine whether you need the rack to be 4, 6, or 8’ wide.
      2. For a 4’ wide rack, cut four 2x4’s to 45 to 48” long (this length determines the height. We’ll assume you use a 48” length for this example) and cut four pieces to 7” long.
      3. Cut three pieces of ¼” plywood to 4’ x 10”.
      4. Drill and screw, or nail, two 7” pieces of 2x4 in between the top and bottom of the long 2x4’s, making two rectangles each 10” wide x 48” tall. One of these will be on the left end of your rack and the other will be on the right end of your rack.
      5. Place both 2x4 rectangles on the ground, so that they are 48” apart and 10” high. Nail one of the pieces of plywood to the back of both rectangles at the top. This board will prevent racking.
      6. Turn the whole unit so that it is upright and place the second piece of plywood onto the top of the unit (do not nail it on at this time).
      7. With the remaining piece of plywood, cut out a 1 ½” x 3 ½” space at each corner so it will fit around the 2x4 supports at the bottom of the rack. This piece will rest on the 7” pieces of 2x4’s, so it will be 3 ½” off the ground. After cutting this board, test fit it to make sure it fits.
      8. Get out your garden tools, rakes, shovels, brooms, weed eaters, electric chain saws, blowers, etc and draw a pattern on the top board to hold the implements. Remove both pieces of plywood, clamp them together and cut them at the same time with a saber saw.
      9. Place the plywood pieces in position on the rack and nail the top and bottom pieces of plywood into place. Hammer a nail at the top, far left front and a second nail at the far right front of the unit so that they each protrude 1” above the unit. Place your rack in position, place the tools in the rack and hook a bungee cord from nail to nail to prevent any tools from falling forward.
    55. No room in your garage for a workbench? A wall mounted flip-up workbench saves space. Making one can be as simple as cutting a piece of plywood to 2½’ x 6’ and mounting it to the wall with hinges at a height of 36”. Attach a 2x4 leg to each corner with a hinge. Once the hinges are on and the bench is mounted to the wall, have someone hold it vertically against the wall while you nail two nails or hooks in the underside of the bench and two more nails directly above the bench into studs in the wall. Loop a bungee cord over each nail to hold the workbench and legs in place. When you’re ready to use the bench, just take off the bungee cords, fold the bench down and fold the legs out. The 6’ length lets the legs (which are a little less than 3’ long) meet in the middle. Don’t have enough room for a six foot long workbench? You can make a shorter length bench if you install the legs so they’re offset. To use a vise with your bench, simply mount one to a small piece of plywood and just clamp the plywood to the workbench when the need for a vise arises.
    56. Wasting time sorting through dozens of small parts bins looking for the nuts and bolts you need? Look for a used library card catalog cabinet. These metal cabinets are 23” wide x 28” deep x 52” high. They have 10 drawers each of which are divided into 5 slots. Each one of these slots can be filled with 5 plastic bins. This effectively gives you 250 spaces. They make an incredible hardware organizer and they only cost about $20 used. Thousands of libraries have converted from card cataloging systems to computerized inventory systems so there’s hundreds of thousands of these cabinets out there. Another great organizer for the shop is a drafting cabinet. These are about 48” wide x 33” deep x 45” high and have a 3” slope towards the front. They are divided into 10 drawers and make great storage for measuring and marking tools, hand tools, electrical supplies, drill bits, clamps, sand paper, etc. They cost about $100 used.
    57. When gluing up long boards, I used to follow the typical recommendation of placing bisquits 3” from each end and then placing additional bisquits every 12 – 18” along the rest of the board. This meant measuring and marking these locations. After a while, I realized the center of my bisquit jointer was 5” wide. By just using the edge of the jointer as a guide I could place my end bisquits only 2 ½” from the end. They were close enough to 3” and I saved all the marking and measuring for these locations. An alternative time saver technique I use for bisquit jointing on boards that are thick enough so that the bottom of my bisquit jointer doesn’t hit my workbench is this: I butt each board up to a stop block when clamping it to the workbench. Then I just mark where I want all the bisquits to go on the bench directly in front of the board. I can then use the bench as a storyboard for all the boards to be bisquit jointed. Saving all the measuring and marking can really add up on production runs.
    58. Wasting time trying to figure out what color paint is left over in multiple paint cans? Then make a paint chart for your cans of paint. Do you have more than a couple cans of left over paint in the garage? If you have 10 or 20 cans here’s a quick and easy way to organize your paint colors and quickly determine which can of paint you need for future jobs. Just get a sheet of white construction paper and use a Marks-A-Lot marker to write a number down for as many cans of paint as you have. Now open each can of paint and paint a swatch of paint in front of each number. Replace the can lids and mark the corresponding number on the lid and on the side of each can. You now have a paint chart you can refer to anytime a project comes up. You can quickly see all the color choices you have available and know exactly which can the color is in. Plus, it’s much easier to carry a sheet of construction paper around a house to see how the paint would match than it would be to carry a few cans of paint.
    59. Keep a first aid kit in the garage/shop. When you need it, it'll be readily available, saving you the time of running back to the bathroom for bandaids (and possibly dripping blood as you go). To save even more time, keep a couple bandaids sticking out of the top of the first aid kit. The one time you definitely don't want to waste time fumbling for bandaids is when you're injured. Having a couple sticking out of the time will make them immediately accessible.
    60. Is there a tough to reach screw you need to install? It you have a really difficult screw to reach and the screw keeps falling off of the screwdriver, try superglueing the screw to the screwdriver. It will hold in place while you install the screw. When the screw is all the way, it will easily come off with a slight pull.
    61. Need to repair a garden hose? Instead of wasting time struggling to insert the replacement part into the hose, just heat the hose first with a hot air gun or hair dryer. The plastic and rubber will soften up and you'll be able to insert the piece many times quicker. Dishwashing soap can also be used to speed things up. Besides fixing garden hoses, you can use this for auto hoses and other rubber and plastic parts.
    62. Have a drawer filled with screws and bolts? I used to sort through, looking for a bolt about 3” or whatever I needed and carrying it over to my measuring and marking area to check it. Finally, I realized I could keep an old ruler in the drawer. Now whenever I need a certain size I have a ruler right there and can save the time of having to check it.
    63. Do you have a one of those trash cans that has a foot pedal to pop the lid open? There're great - until you want the lid to stay open! To keep the lid open without having to constantly step on the pedal, just open the jaws of you vise to the width of the lid and slide the can so that the lid fits between the vise jaws. The lid will stay open and you'll be able to toss trash in from across the room if you want. Note: no clamping pressure is necessary.
    64. Instead of using a tape measure or yardstick to make a story board, just skip a step and place your “story” marks directly on an aluminum yardstick by marking with either a Sharpee pen or a pencil. When you’re done using the marks, Sharpee marks can be taken off with cleaners such as Simple Green and pencil marks can be erased with an eraser.
    65. Keep your glue, glue brushes and wax paper with your clamps. Clamps and glue are normally used with each other so keeping together will save time during glue-up operations.
    66. Aluminum can recycling. Do you have one of those can crushers for your aluminum cans? While they work great, they take a couple seconds per can. If you’re like me and you save up a couple hundred cans before you get to work crushing them, next thing you know you’re faced with fifteen to thirty minutes of work! Of course the advantage of the can crusher is that it shrinks the cans down so that you can store more and don’t to make a trip to the recycling center as often. To save time in this area, try this instead. Just toss your empty cans into a garbage bag. When the bag becomes full, put it in your garage rafters or in your attic. When you have a few bags then you can make a single trip to a recycling center. (this assumes that like 99.9% of other Americans you don’t have curbside recycling). Another option to reduce the can volume: Fill a bag full of cans and just step on it a few times with a pair of heavy boots. That will squash quite a few of the cans.
    67. For outdoor projects, use a leveling laser at night. If you are setting in 4x4 posts for a deck, playhouse, etc and you want to mark a level height on them all, you can get a rotating laser for about $40. You adjust the bubble levels on it’s tripod and you will be able to get an even height on all your posts. But, if you do this in the day you’ll have to hold a black card in front of each post and the red laser light will still be hard to see in the daylight. Instead, just get up before dawn and the laser will be really easy to see and the marking will go a lot faster.
    68. Mark your drill press with a felt tip marker indicating which way to turn the chuck to tighten and loosen it. I could never remember which way to turn mine. Finally, I just marked TIGHTEN with an arrow pointing one direction and LOOSEN with an arrow pointing another direction. Now I don’t have to waste any time figuring out which way to turn it.
    69. Mark your drill press with a felt tip marker indicating which way to turn the chuck to tighten and loosen it. I could never remember which way to turn mine. Finally, I just marked TIGHTEN with an arrow pointing one direction and LOOSEN with an arrow pointing another direction. Now I don’t have to waste any time figuring out which way to turn it.
    70. Mark common heights for shop tools on your pedestal rollers. Many people have pedestal rollers which can be adjusted to different heights to support boards for different tools. The problem is, that table saw is one height, the chop saw is a different height, the band is another height, etc. Every time I moved the roller around I would have to gradually narrow it down until I got the correct height for it. Then I realized I could take a felt tip marker and marker my different shop tool’s heights on the adjustment tube. Now, it takes little or no adjustment whenever I move the roller to a different tool.
    71. Before drilling, using a circular saw, jig saw or hack saw, simply place a piece of newspaper under the object you're working on. The paper will catch the metal or wood shavings as you drill or cut. Afterwards, simply toss the newspaper in the trashcan. No more having to get out a broom and dust pan!
    72. Mixing up mortar, grout, paint or whatever in a paint bucket? Don't bother to clean the bucket when you're done. Instead just toss it. You can find chloring tablet buckets, dishwasher tablet buckets, cat litter buckets and others for free. Even if you have to buy one, they only cost .50 to $2.00 at a store. It's just not worth the time to clean out.
    73. For painting with a brush, you can save time by using a small plastic jug type cup with a handle. This will let you walk around while carrying the jug as you paint. Lowes sells them for about $8.50, but the kind that are sold for $2 at gas stations work nearly as well.
    74. Ever hear the old trick of pound nail holes into the lip around the top of the paint can so that the extra paint drains back down? Well, it really does work and it cuts down the clean up time.


    75. Cars

    76. Can you put your seatbelt on while you’re backing out instead of putting it on before you start the car? While you’ll lose the safety benefits of starting to move without a seatbelt, you’ll gain about 6 seconds of time. If you do this twice a day 6 days a week, you’ll save an hour a year.Only do this if you can do it safely.
    77. Most state driving laws don’t apply on private property. This means that if you’re at a mall and there’s no traffic you don’t have to actually stop at every stop sign you see. You can drive straight through stop signs and drive faster than any posted speed limits, which might save you a minute just getting into and out of the mall. But, don’t take this as permission to just disregard driving safely. If you do become involved in an accident on private property, then failure to obey road control signs will be held against you. Check local statutes to verify the latest laws in your area.
    78. Whenever you’re riding you can be reading. Whether you’re in a train, plane, bus or car; you can knock out reading or work on a laptop. You say you can’t read in a moving vehicle? No problem, catch up on your reading by listening to books on tape.
    79. Are you pumping your gas at the fastest station? Every year as gas prices go up more and more, gas station operators dial back the flow rate on the pump. They do this to make it take longer to fill up in order to make it not seem as expensive. In reality, they waste everyone’s time in America. If you’re lucky you may be able to find a gas station that lets the pumps run at full volume. You’ll be surprised to find that it only takes 1 minute to pump 20 gallons of gas.
    80. Have you reduced your speed on the freeway to save gas dollars? It’s true that slowing down increases your gas milage and will save you money on gas. But for most people, the money you save will not be worth your time. Here's how it works out. Let's say you normally drive 70mph and you reduce your speed to 55mph to save gas. Let's also say that your vehicle gets 20mpg at 70mph. Most cars would increase their mileage to 23.3mpg by dropping the speed to 55mph. Now to drive 70 miles, at 70mph it takes 1 hour and burns 3.5 gallons of gas. If gas is $3 per gallon the gas costs you $10.50. Now take the second scenario: If you drive 55mph then the trip takes you 1 hour and 16 1/2 minutes. and burns 3 gallons of gas for a cost of $9.00. So your monetary avings works out to $1.50 at a cost of 16 1/2 minutes. Taking this further, for every extra hour you spend driving you will save approximately $5.41 in gas. Question? Is your time worth more than $5.41 an hour? If it is, then go back to driving 70mph and enjoy the time savings.
    81. Checking your water level in your car battery every month? If you are it takes an enormous amount of time over the course of a year. Instead, next time just spend a few dollars more and get a maintenance free battery. You could save eight hours over the course of the batteries lifetime.


    82. Travel

    83. Pack convertible travel pants when you go on vacations. These reduce the amount of shorts and pants you’ll have to pack which will reduce the weight in your suitcase, letting you move faster. And when you wear convertible travel pants, it allows you to adjust your temperature without having to return to a hotel to change into pants or shorts. Don’t know what convertible travel pants are? They’re pants that have zippers so you can take off the legs (the zippers are a few inches above the knees). Many have small straps on the back so you can fasten the pant legs behind you if you remove them. REI makes good ones.
    84. Write your name in large dayglow letters on your suitcases. They’ll be much quicker and easier to find in airport terminals; plus, they’ll be more likely to be returned to you in the event they become lost.
    85. Program the phone numbers for your airline, rental car and hotel into your cell phone. If there’s a problem with the airline, you can usually call the airline much faster than you can wait in line to speak with a representative. Or, if the line is short you can always call on the phone and see which person you get through to first. If the airline problem will effect your car rental and hotel reservations, you’ll be immediately able to call them and won’t have to try and hunt down the phone numbers.
    86. Going on a trip and need to keep your kids occupied so one of the parents can nap, read or work while you drive or fly? Here's the solution. Before your trip go buy a cheap new toy or two. It could be a new type of drawing board, stickers or whatever, just so long as it's new. When you're on your trip, start the kids off with their old toys. Then when they get restless, whip out their "surprise". It will keep them occupied and you'll be able to get back to your book or laptop.
    87. Most people pick out some of their nicest outfits to wear while on vacation. But to save a little time and effort while traveling from place to place, try packing only one or two nice outfits. For the rest of your clothing, just bring old clothes that are ready to be tossed or given away. Then each night while you're on vacation, instead of packing the clothing you wore that day into a dirty clothes bag that has to be lugged around, just toss them into the trash! Voila! Your load will get a little lighter each day.


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