These are not huge things - they are very small things, small suggestions. But my days are so crazy packed that 10 minutes makes a big difference. I've tried all the steps below and they helped save time.
• Before you go to the fridge make a mental list of all the items you’ll need and take them all at the same time. You’re saving energy and saving time for return trips.
• Instead of writing down 3 things on your to-do list, just do them. You’ve saved time writing them down and crossing them off – and potentially time spent stressing about getting these things done or procrastinating.
• Unplug your modem or wireless connection for 30 minutes while you work. You will get more work done without interruptions from email, IM, Twitter, you name it. Switching between tasks – from writing a work report to checking email – takes time and reduces your ability to focus and get any one thing done.
• Designate time during each day for phone calls. Unless it's a personal or work emergency, no call is so urgen that you need to take it when it comes. Designate an hour in the morning and one or two in the afternoon for phone calls, and let others go to voicemail. You will save time by not getting distracted.
• DVR/Tivo your favorite TV shows and watch them later, skipping commercials. An average TV show is 45 minutes of actual show and 15 minutes of ads – skip them all and you’ve saved more than 5 minutes. (This isn’t a reason, however to watch more TV than you would normally. In other words, bank your saved time rather than spend it on another show.)
• When buying clothes, take them off the hangers and hand them to the cashier with the tag on top. When buying groceries, lay them out with the UPC code on top so it’s easy to scan as they come through on the belt. Yes, this is anal. Yes, this will save more than 5 minutes that cashiers would otherwise spend trying to scan your purchases.
• Sort your mail as soon as you get it. Most of us are in the habit of putting our mail on the kitchen counter, then dealing with it later. Besides the clutter this creates, it's a waste of time - as soon as you get your mail, throw out the junk and organized and put away the rest.
• Accomplish small tasks during waiting time. If you need to write some thank you cards, bring them with you and do a few while you wait at the doctor's office or to have your car filled with gas.