10 ways to save time at work

A handy guide.

We all wish we could turn the clock back, make different decisions and spend more time with the kids. With hindsight, we'd all have lived our lives differently, especially, I suspect, at work. You see it's at work where the most time gets wasted. Wasted time is lost time. Time that could have been made making better decisions. Better because with more time and less pressure, decision making becomes more objective.

So whilst I cannot tell you how to go back and change the past, I can help you make more time in the future. That way you'll gain time you'd otherwise lose. You'll make good decisions and have more time for family, friends and fun.

Here are ten simple things that will help your time travel more slowly:

  1. Define your vision and focus on this, not the carrot on the end of the corporate stick;
  2. Write down, in the present tense, how your Iife will look in five years time;
  3. Making scheduling tomorrow's tasks the last thing you do at work each day. Then start your day with the most important from that list;
  4. If you're desk based, run your PC with two screens - then you can use two applications at the same time - the improvement in efficiency will amaze you;
  5. Go paperless and use a tablet computer when on the move - invest - integrate - work simply;
  6. Avoid pointless meetings - when you do meet, keep to both agenda and time - leave when bored - nobody will sack you;
  7. Be brutal with time thieves - get 1:1 meetings done in an hour - don't 'drop by' or allow others to drop in on you;
  8. Say no to stuff that's not for you. Instead, volunteer for stuff that builds your career;
  9. Keep fit - make time to work out and make it sacred;
  10. Break routines - this blog was written on a hot afternoon by the pool.

Robert Ashton's book Teach Yourself Time Management in a Week, is published by Hodder Education

Photograph: Getty Images

Robert Ashton's book Teach Yourself Time Management in a Week, is published by Hodder Education

Photo: Getty
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Ignored by the media, the Liberal Democrats are experiencing a revival

The crushed Liberals are doing particularly well in areas that voted Conservative in 2015 - and Remain in 2016. 

The Liberal Democrats had another good night last night, making big gains in by-elections. They won Adeyfield West, a seat they have never held in Dacorum, with a massive swing. They were up by close to the 20 points in the Derby seat of Allestree, beating Labour into second place. And they won a seat in the Cotswolds, which borders the vacant seat of Witney.

It’s worth noting that they also went backwards in a safe Labour ward in Blackpool and a safe Conservative seat in Northamptonshire.  But the overall pattern is clear, and it’s not merely confined to last night: the Liberal Democrats are enjoying a mini-revival, particularly in the south-east.

Of course, it doesn’t appear to be making itself felt in the Liberal Democrats’ poll share. “After Corbyn's election,” my colleague George tweeted recently, “Some predicted Lib Dems would rise like Lazarus. But poll ratings still stuck at 8 per cent.” Prior to the local elections, I was pessimistic that the so-called Liberal Democrat fightback could make itself felt at a national contest, when the party would have to fight on multiple fronts.

But the local elections – the first time since 1968 when every part of the mainland United Kingdom has had a vote on outside of a general election – proved that completely wrong. They  picked up 30 seats across England, though they had something of a nightmare in Stockport, and were reduced to just one seat in the Welsh Assembly. Their woes continued in Scotland, however, where they slipped to fifth place. They were even back to the third place had those votes been replicated on a national scale.

Polling has always been somewhat unkind to the Liberal Democrats outside of election campaigns, as the party has a low profile, particularly now it has just eight MPs. What appears to be happening at local by-elections and my expectation may be repeated at a general election is that when voters are presented with the option of a Liberal Democrat at the ballot box they find the idea surprisingly appealing.

Added to that, the Liberal Democrats’ happiest hunting grounds are clearly affluent, Conservative-leaning areas that voted for Remain in the referendum. All of which makes their hopes of a good second place in Witney – and a good night in the 2017 county councils – look rather less farfetched than you might expect. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.