The first was inspired by the Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami. I realized that such an overlooked notion like being prepared was actually a time saver. Then I realized it was just one of a similar set of simple acts, and they have application within a life and for larger organizations too.
Be prepared. I’ve got an earthquake kit and disaster supplies ready. When a natural disaster hits the news I don’t spend time worrying about whether I’m prepared. I know I have reduced the risk, and know that I can never be prepared for everything. I wish our government did a better job of this. By now, Katrina’s damage should be confined to history. It ain’t. I suspect that Japan, one of the most prepared countries in the world, will recover and then take this as an opportunity to improve further. As for other dramatic events – What will I do when the aliens say hello? Deal with it then.
Maintain what’s important. In this economy I’ve fixed many things but postponed many repairs. I saved money in the short run, and may even get by without ever having to fix quite a few things, but in the meantime there’s a chunk of every day that is spent wondering if I’ve put things off too long. If I had more money I’d spend less time worrying. I’m not the only one. Imagine the productivity increase in any organization if the people there didn’t have to spend time worrying about their health, their commute, their child care, their careers.
Treat luxuries as luxuries, not as necessities. If a luxury fails life continues. If a necessity fails, well, something made it a necessity, so something will be missed. Of course some luxuries embody certain necessities. Ask any pilot or skipper. But polishing the golf clubs may not be as important as cleaning out the gutters. This one is easy for me. I’m a minimalist, and one reason was the recognition of how much time was spent maintaining stuff. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff. I even have a de-clutter shelf during parties so people can take something that I want to get rid of. On a national level, there are plenty of necessities being ignored, but pork barrel politics seems to survive every reform. As an investor, well, I consider most management teams and directors to be more luxury and not nearly as necessary as the employees. Pity the compensation isn’t distributed that way. But that’s just my point of view.
Tell the truth. The world’s fascinating as it is. How does anyone ever manage to keep lies alive and untangled in any relationship that lasts over an hour? I will admit to occasional exaggeration, which is probably a request for attention. My friends would know better than I. I’m always surprised that organizations think they can keep secrets. Some secrets stay secret. Most leak out eventually.
Follow the laws. Drive below the speed limit. Because of stop signs, lights, and traffic, driving slowly usually doesn’t change my arrival time. I don’t have to buy radar detectors or spend time thinking about outwitting the cops, I can spend less on insurance, and don’t have to spend money and time on tickets or fighting them. Hmm, how much time and money does our government spend back-pedaling because of ethical ambiguities like torture (very unambiguous), corruption, and propping up unseemly governments?
Cook in instead of dine out. Cooking at home sounds like it could take more time. Actually, some recipes do. But even with slow-cooked recipes that take hours, I can get something done in the meantime. My favorite way to spend that time is talking with my dinner companion. There’s no time waiting to be seated and served. The dress code is much more relaxed. The costs are lower, and the wine cellar and bar are very likely to have my preferred beverages. It’s easier to get a meal that meets every dietary requirement, and the setting is much quieter than the fanciest restaurant. Cleaning up is a hassle though, at least until I get the dishwasher replaced.
Don’t spectate – participate. Don’t watch sports unless you know someone on the team. I’ll skip my usual expression of dismay with today’s millionaire athletes and the dearth of sportsmanship. I’m a fan of bicycling. I no longer watch football, baseball, or basketball, though curling is interesting. When the Tour de France was on TV, it inspired me to go for a bike ride. It took less time than watching someone else expend calories. I got exercise, maybe had some fun, and definitely got to eat more. But it is fun to watch local high school or even junior high games. The players aren’t paid as much. Their talents aren’t as developed, but they care about it a lot more than some professional who is more worried about the conditions of their contract.
These time saving tips actually take time, which is one reason they are easy to ignore. But just like that money adage, “You’ve got to spend money to make money”, sometimes you’ve got to spend time to save time.
Be careful out there. It will probably save you some time.
(Another time saving tip – get something done early occasionally. I thought about delaying this post until my normal Wednesday morning upload and realized that holding back and then remembering it later took more time than just hitting “Publish”.)