10/13/2014 12:26 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Potentially Earn Back 7 Hours and 17 Minutes of Your Average Day


Wouldn't you like to have more time in your day? You could use it for whatever you want: cuddling up to your spouse, working on a hobby, or even just getting some extra sleep.

Tweaking the time it takes to manage your daily responsibilities is a great way earn back some free hours in your day.

Granted, depending on your daily routine and how much time you normally spend on certain tasks, you could be saving more or less time than the estimated minutes saved that I'll mention below. But regardless of how many minutes you save, some are better than none, right?

Huge Time Hacks: Save 30 to 60 minutes each

Dry laundry overnight

Throw your laundry in the dryer right before you go to bed. I usually set my dryer for 60 minutes and then head to my room, waking up the next day with perfectly dried clothes. Just hit the wrinkle remove setting a few minutes before you're finally ready to start folding, and you're good to go.

If you're worried about a heavy sweatshirt or blanket not drying all the way, throw it on a drying rack (they're very cheap to buy) before throwing the rest of your items in the machine.

Approximate time saved: 60 minutes

Buy necessities when you're already out

Rather than blocking off an hour or two of your weekend to hit the grocery stores and outlets, pick up the necessities you can think of when you're already out shopping.

Have to run to the store to grab some chicken for dinner? Get your produce for the week while you're at it, and maybe pick up some cat litter, too.

Buying in short, necessary bursts forces you to prioritize the items you need most and saves time in the long run.

Approximate time saved: 60 minutes

Shower every other day

Depending how gross you get on a daily basis, skip showering every other day. It's better for your hair and skin and will help you cut some unnecessary time out of your daily routine.

Approximate time saved: 30 minutes

Sleep 7.5 hours instead of 8


The approximate amount of time it takes to move through an entire sleep cycle from beginning to end is about 1.5 hours (90 minutes). Thus, when you set your alarm for eight hours after you plan on falling asleep, you're actually forcing yourself to wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, which isn't exactly the best way to start your morning.

Instead, plan to sleep for either 7.5 hours or nine hours a night. This will ensure that you wake up after you have fully completed your last sleep cycle. For the purpose of gaining more time in your day, set your alarm for seven and a half hours after you go to sleep.

Not only will you gain some waking time, but that waking time will likely feel better because you won't have woken up mid-cycle.

Approximate time saved: 30 minutes

Have the "How Was Your Day?" talk via exercise

It's very important to maintain a regular exercise schedule if you want to stay healthy and feel good. Many of us also feel that it's important to catch up with our spouses after work.

Why not save yourself some time while improving your health and relationship by talking over your day with your spouse while you're both at the gym or taking a walk?

My husband and I like to get treadmills next to each other at the gym and mountain climb (jack that incline up all the way!) while we talk about the day's happenings.

Approximate time saved: 30 minutes

Helpful Time Hacks: Free Up Approximately 15 Minutes Each

Eat a healthy granola bar for breakfast

I like a nice omelet or bowl of cereal now and then too, but if I want to earn some extra time in my day I just grab a fruit and nut granola bar and head out the door.

You don't have to prepare anything or spend time cleaning up; just grab your breakfast and get a move on.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Use part of dinner for lunch


This tip is especially helpful if you are someone who uses a lot of the grab-and-go breakfast options like the one above. Try to make your dinners as well-balanced as you can so that, the next day, you can compensate for your somewhat menial breakfast in the morning.

When you cook or order dinner the night before, make sure you plan to have extra so you can throw some in a container for your lunch the next day. This will save you time and keep you from resorting to junk food on your lunch break.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Don't blow-dry your hair

Let your hair do its natural thing instead of subjecting it to tons of heat. You'll save time and your hair will be healthier.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Write notes on a whiteboard

Rather than texting your spouse or kids throughout the day, leave them a note on a whiteboard (I keep mine right by the front door) before you head out.

Something like, "Have a good day! Please clean the living room when you get home. I love you!" is a sweet and effective way to quickly communicate what needs to be done around the house.

Plus, getting handwritten notes from your spouse or parent is kind of nice.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Preset your coffee pot


I don't know about you, but I'm more coherent before I go to bed than I am first thing in the morning. Take advantage of your wakefulness to preset your coffee pot for the morning.

You won't have to fumble around in your cabinets right away and waking up to the smell of coffee already brewing is pretty awesome.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Keep essentials in your car

Keep a pair of sunglasses, an extra set of keys, and a spare phone charger if you have one in your car at all times. This can minimize some of the pointless where-did-I-put-that? rushing around we all do in the morning.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Decide what to wear before bed

You don't have to orchestrate every detail of your wardrobe before you go to bed, but take a few seconds to think "I'll wear the blue one tomorrow." Deciding what to wear the night before can save you a lot of time making decisions while you're still groggy in the morning.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Keep extra shoes at work


If you're someone who spends way too much time playing the which-shoes-will-keep-my-feet-dry? game, this tip is for you. Keep and extra pair of shoes at your place of work so you can leave the house quickly, knowing that if your flats get wet you have a backup pair at the office.

Especially with the winter months approaching, this tip can be a huge time-saver when you're unsure of how bad the weather really is.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Do minimal makeup

If you have a clear complexion, consider foregoing makeup altogether. Or, if that just feels like too drastic of a step, consider wearing significantly less eye makeup. Throw on some foundation, blush, mascara and tinted lip balm, and you're good to go, lady.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Always keep your stuff in the same place

Few things suck more than running all over your apartment looking for five things that are in five opposite locations. You can save yourself a ton of time and hassle by keeping your daily items all together near your front door or, at the very least, by keeping them in the same locations every day so you always know where they are.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Get a hair cut that compliments your hair's natural quirks


Rather than spending a ton of time styling your hair to look like it came out of a magazine, embrace its natural quirks by getting a haircut that compliments them well. That way, you can just de-knot your hair before heading out the door in the morning and reduce your use of damaging hair products.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Pay bills once a week

If you don't have bills to pay every week, that's fabulous. But if you have bills spread out across each week of the month, taking the time to pay them as they come due can consume a lot of your free time.

Instead, log onto your computer or get your stamps and envelopes ready one night each week with the express purpose of paying all of your bills. I usually take care of all my bills that will be due in the next seven days, but if you feel like going farther than that, by all means, make it happen.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Answer messages in the waiting line

If you're someone who uses a lot of emailing or phone calls as a part of your job, knock out a few voicemails or email messages while you wait in line for other things.

For example, waiting in line for food, waiting at the doctor's office or waiting for something at the DMV are all great times to tap into your inbox and free up some time later in the day.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Go with your gut

How much time do you spend trying to decide between two or more things each day? Instead of always weighing the pros and cons of every little choice you make, just go with your gut and move on.

After all, whether you get the store's brand of yogurt or the name brand kind won't make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Spot clean in the moment; heavy duty clean once a week


Rather than letting your house or apartment get filthy throughout the week, pick up trash and crumbs when you see them, but only do excessive vacuuming and scrubbing once a week.

If you do an exceptional job of cleaning up the little things the rest of the time, your once-a -week detailed cleaning shouldn't take as long either.

Approximate time saved: 15 minutes

Micro Time Hacks: Save About 1 Minute in Your Day

Brush your teeth in the shower

If you really must get a shower before heading off to work for the day, why not earn back an extra minute of your time by brushing your teeth while the conditioner sets in? The minutes saved likely won't make or break your day, but it is one less thing you'll have to do before you run out the door.

Approximate time saved: 1 minute

Have slip-on shoes

Cutting it too close to tie your shoes? Make sure you have a few slip on options for those days when your hands are full, you're halfway out the door... and you see you're still in your socks.

Approximate time saved: 1 minute

What other ways do you find to earn time back in your day? I'd love to hear about them in the comments section below!

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