Thomas Ardal

Freelance software consultant and entrepreneur building SaaS applications like elmah.io

10 Tips to Optimize Your Time Part 2/2

This is the second and last part of my blog post titled 10 Tips to Optimize Your Time. If you haven’t read part 1, go ahead!

Only plan one visit every weekend if possible

We have a large family.  Both my wife and I are children of divorced parents and therefore have four sets of parents/grandparents.  The thing is, those grandparents want to see their grandson (and us) ALL the time.  Keeping grandparents in restraints has been a major issue for us.  We try to see family on the weekends and always only plan one of the days.  This gives us the other day to concentrate on our son and when he’s tucked in, coding time starts!

Pay someone to do tedious work

This is something that I’m not good at, but I keep trying to find new ways of outsourcing all of those tedious tasks.  Why not pay someone to clean your house?  Don’t wash the car yourself.  The car wash is a great alternative and you can catch up on your e-mail or Twitter while the old, dusty car gets a makeover.  Admittedly, we (maybe it’s I) drink a lot of soda.  Nothing sucks more than putting all of those empty cans in the can recycler.  I’m planning to make a deal with one of the kids on the street, that he will get the bottle deposit if he comes by and empties my shed for empty bottles and cans once in a while.  The point here is that people in the IT business make enough money to pay someone to do all of those tasks that you don’t like.  Just do it!

Buy work you can’t do yourself

It’s amazing what people do for money nowadays.  Before having my son, I would gladly sit down and scan hundreds of old photos, which takes a long time.  These days, I just send them for scanning in Morocco.  Yes this isn’t free, but doing manual work like that is time consuming and boring.  Last year, I started experimenting with buying help on fiverr.com.  The first couple of months weren’t a great success, but after spending a few more fiverrs, I ended up knowing some pretty talented people, willing to do stuff for $5.  I use fiverr for proof reading, graphics, copy-paste work and other tasks, which I can’t do myself or that I don’t bother to learn.

Don’t do stuff which never leaves your machine

Doing websites or code in general, which only lives on your machine, is fun if you want to learn something.  Doing stuff that other people see either through a website or GitHub is more fun.  I never write code that doesn’t end up on the internet somehow.  I have a principle that everything I do should be monetizable somehow.  I always have ads on my blogs and try monetizing everything from .NET assemblies to Chrome plugins.  I don’t even earn 1 % of my day-job paycheck each month, but the feeling of earning enough to cover your expenses on fiverr and hosting is enough to drive me. The point here is, that doing personal stuff quickly becomes a time consumer, cause you don’t get any feedback and you could have used your time on something else.

Buy gifts for your wife/girlfriend

If your better half doesn’t work in IT, he/she probably doesn’t understand that your job can also be your hobby.  My wife has become very understanding over the years.  A technique you can use, if you aren’t as lucky as me, is to buy time consuming gifts for the other part.  The Sex and the City boxset is a great example of how to make your wife happy for several hours.  Do not, and I must stress, DO NOT give her the impression that you want to see the damn thing with her though 🙂 Make sure to spend time with your other half, but make an arrangement for one or two nights a week, where you can get into the zone without being interrupted.

Happy coding!

Show Comments