Time Savers

Reporter: Andrea Burns

Work. Home. Kids. Shopping. Cooking. Cleaning. Homework. Pets. Exercise? IF we all have the same 24 hours- why does it feel like your clock's spinning out of control?And what would you do with just another hour a day?

Shaun Ridley from the Australian Institute of management says whether you're running a firm or running a family, Aussies are increasingly time poor. "We need to schedule time, we need to get our lives into order" He says, managing your time well is the similar to budgeting your money. Work out the best use and spend accordingly. "So whether it's a family holiday, or a job or a project in the back yard or a job at work, it needs to be scheduled, it needs to be planned"

If you want something done, they say give it to a busy person - and they don't come much busier than Christine and Jim Douglas - parents to a dozen children. "Christine this must be the ultimate in multi-skilling when you're breastfeeding while you're checking the lunchboxes. yes it is. can you do everything on the run?, practically everything" The Douglas' say the key to getting through the day sane, comes down to organisation. Little things, like folding the washing as you get it off the line - Less ironing...time saved - around 10 minutes every day. .

Of course, many hands do make light work. And whether it's getting the littlies to set the table...or the bigger ones to peel the spuds, the more your kids do, the less you have to. Sleep in and you're behind the whole day. The Douglas dozen's clothes, school uniforms, even shoes are put out the night before, lunches made, bags packed and stacked. "It just makes the whole morning go smoothly, it's just grab grab grab, dress, eat wash, grab your bag, grab your lunch and you're out the door"

Time saved - fifteen minutes a day.

When you're whipping up monster meals twenty one times a week, Jim and Christine again say planning is the only way to beat the clock, and keep to a budget. Every Sunday they spend a couple of hours working out the week's menus, and the cheapest places to get the ingredients.

Time saved - at least ten minutes every day.

Then it's just a matter of making the meals. And if you're cooking, why not make two nights' worth? "Christine, they've already had one lot of dinner - what is this, you're making seconds? no this one is for later on in the week for when I've got a busy day and then I make these up and freeze them" While Jim's made stew, Christine's made lasagne for tomorrow night. More time for more important things. Jim says "we consider our time with each other very precious and very valuable so we try, and make the most of that"

Catering manager Erin Appleby also says cooking up a storm makes sense. She makes bulk of whatever she can. "This is something that on a commercial sense, can also be applied to us domestically" Tonight's bolognaise, could be next week's tacos. Erin freezes different size meals for later in the week. Time saved - 4 minutes a day.

She shops once a week and keeps the list on the inside of the pantry door - if it's not written down, the family know she won't buy it.

Time saved - 4 minutes.

Professional cleaner Rob Ellison says he can clean all the windows in the average home in ninety minutes, which it comes down to technique. "You can try going down on a window -and that's fine on a small window, but then you've got the line, so what I do on a window like that is I go across and that way the line's cancelled" He uses a micro fibre cloth to get rid of the streaks.

Time saved - another five minutes.

In the bathroom, Rob says why scrub when bleach will do the hard work for you?

Time saved - another two minutes.

An extra hour a day - you want it? you can have it. These tips add up to 60 minutes.


1. Fold washing straight away 10 minutes

2. Get the children to help 10 minutes

3. Make lunches, put out

clothes the night before 15 minutes

4. Plan the week's meals 10 minutes

5. Double up and freeze 4 minutes

6. Make a shopping list 4 minutes

7. Clean windows monthly 5 minutes

8. Save on scrubbing 2 minutes

TOTAL = 60 minutes

Now, saving time at work - Shaun Ridley says prioritise - if urgent, do it. if not, let it wait.

Diarise appointments AND the day's key tasks.

Emails check only a few times morning and afternoon.

And meetings - set a clear agenda, set a finish time, and stick to it.


Prioritise - important vs urgent



Meetings - agenda and finish time

Source - Dr Shaun Ridley

Australian Institute of Management