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Richie Etwaru Headshot

How to Win Back 1 Hour Per Day with 5 Easy Tips

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I always get asked how do you find the time in the day to do all that you do? Usually my answer is, "I do not have kids as of yet, so I am taking advantage of it." Watching David Pogue discuss the 10 time-saving tech tips on TED got me thinking about what else we do with technology to win back the time technology took from us in the first place.


Photo Credit: iStock

In addition to David's tips, and after some self-reflection below are five that I use that usually save me approximately an hour per day.

1. Find content on your timetable, but share on the timetable of others.

We have all seen it: people who share on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, on their company pages, community pages and other Twitter handles all day long. They share brilliant stuff, and it seems like, instead of working or spending time with their families, they are constantly sharing. Well, not so fast; I learned this from Guy Kawasaki.

Use software to share for you; Guy uses, and I use an app called Buffer. I have no affiliation to the Buffer app. Buffer allows you to (a) connect all of your social accounts together, (b) send it content you want to share via the app, or via sending a simple email, (c) set up a timetable for sharing, and then (d) it auto-shares your content for you on each of your social channels, at the optimal time based on your following on each channel and your timetable.

By using Buffer, instead of sharing all day, I spend about 10-15 minutes per night perusing articles and content I find interesting and want to share, and then load said articles up into Buffer, and viola, it shares for me. If I find interesting articles or content during the day, I simply load it into Buffer, and it gets added to the queue. This trick gives me back significant time in my day and shares for me in an optimized way, and on a follower-friendly timetable.

2. Use Blind CC after key introductions to keep email volume down.

Have you ever been introduced to someone over email, and you reply all, then the person replies all, but you want to pull the original introducer off the thread but can't figure it out?

This happens to me all the time and it usually requires some time to think about how to get out. Here is a simple way. When you get introduced, reply all but move the introducer to the BCC field. Then add to the top of your reply "John, I have added you to the BCC so you know we have connected, and will subsequently fall off the thread." This saves you time from thinking about how to gracefully pull the introducer off the thread, and it saves the introducer time from having to read a flurry of reply all responses.

3. Do not try to remember PIN for conference calls.

When you are dialing into a conference call on your smartphone and cannot remember the PIN from the top of your head it wastes time. This happens to me twice per day. You dial the 800 number for the conference call, after attempting to memorize the PIN from an email. You quickly try to dial the PIN but the voice recording on the conference bridge starts talking to you, distracting you, and by the time it is PIN dial time, you have forgotten the PIN! So now you have to switch back to the email or calendar, re-memorize the PIN and by the time you switch back to the phone, the voice recording on the conference bridge starts scolding you for waiting too long to dial the PIN. This costs me five to 10 minutes per day, and lots of frustration.

Here is the solution, figure out a way to dial the numbers the following way 999-999-9999,55555#. The 999-999-9999 is the conference bridge number, the comma is a two-second pause (you can add multiple commas for more pauses) and the 55555# is your PIN. Some phones (iPhone in my case) do not dial the "#" after the PIN, so you have to dial the "#" manually after the PIN is auto-entered.

What I have done now, is in the invite of my meetings, I have trained myself to enter my conference bridge as 999-999-9999,,55555# (I used two commas for a four-second pause), and folks that are dialing into my bridge simply click on the link of the entire sequence of numbers to dial into the conference call with the PIN already embedded saving time in their day.

4. Have 15 minute meetings.

This is simple, I have a rule, if the meeting is less than three individuals, and it is not a show-and-tell meeting, I schedule it for 15 minutes. I usually leave the 15 minutes after in my calendar free anyway. Scheduling it for 15 minutes forces everyone to come in to make decisions, it removes the fluff from the conversation, and if it goes over you have the time allotted any way. If it does not, you get time back, and the others get time back in their day as well.

5. Use the keyboard shortcuts on smartphones for capitalization and abbreviation.

I can't tell you how much time is wasted with the SHIFT key on smartphones, abbreviations and other cumbersome things to type. Use keyboard shortcuts. Below are some keyboard shortcuts I use on my iPhone.

1. mycell - 917.403.5555 (not my real cell number)
2. myemail - (my real email)
3. funrec - functional requirements
4. myhuffpo -
5. myli -

All of these save me tons of time in my day. None of these are perfect, and by no means are they the best ways to deal with some of the challenges.

Let's share more; giving the gift of time is awesome.

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