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How to Save 7+ Hours Every Day

The easiest way to stop feeling so stressed? Add a few more hours to your day! Just try these simple tricks to carve out more time.

Save 10 Minutes

Skip the suds. Shampoo every other day (or even every three days) -- it's better for your hair, you'll save time in the shower, and thanks to the miracle that is dry shampoo, no one will even notice.

Stop the scavenger hunts. Two minutes looking for your cell phone, five minutes tearing the house apart for your keys, nine aggravating minutes searching through the pockets of every pair of pants you own to locate your wallet -- it all adds up. Save yourself the time and stress by cleaning out your wallet/purse/pockets/whatever on a regular basis and placing your keys and phone in the same spot every time you enter the house (a basket or tray in the entryway or kitchen works well).

Use shortcuts. Bookmark websites you frequently visit, create shortcuts on your desktop for applications or folders you open regularly and enter new contacts into your phone's speed dial.

Procrastinate at work. How can procrastinating save you time? Allow us to explain: If you normally get stuck spending the entire morning at the office on the phone with Chatty Kathy -- aka the sales rep who talks your ear off every time you call -- wait until the end of the day to ring her. At 5 p.m., when she's rushing to get things done so she can go home, she'll be more likely to get down to business (and less likely to gab about the new cleanse she's trying so she can lose the baby weight).

Screen. Caller ID was invented for a reason, people! So only pick up when it's someone important (like your boss and, okay, maybe your significant other) or you actually have the time to talk. As for your mom, the bank promising you a better deal on your mortgage and your best friend with her 10th crisis of the week? Call 'em back when you have time (like when you're waiting in line to return something)...or never -- it's up to you.

Save 20 Minutes

Cut commercials. Sure, you've been waiting all week to watch the new episode of Glee. But trust us, you can wait another hour. Take advantage of TiVo, DVR or your Internet connection (stations like CBS and Fox post episodes on their sites soon after they air) to watch your favorite shows -- commercial-free.

Make errands efficient. Plan to pick up your prescription between two meetings or grab TP on your way to work (if you're not too embarrassed to waltz into the office with your Charmin in hand). That way, you won't be tempted to wander around the store browsing, saving you both time and money.

Turn up the intensity. Cut your gym time in half by alternating between spurts of high-intensity cardio and slower recovery periods. Studies have shown that 20 minutes of intervals can burn just as many -- if not more -- calories than 40 minutes at a steady, mid-intensity pace, and you'll burn more calories for hours afterward. Bonus: Add a little resistance or up the incline to burn even more calories in the same amount of time. For quick workouts that give major results, try one of our 15-minute workouts.

Curtail cook time. Considering the average woman spends 46 minutes a day on food prep and cleanup, it's not hard to see why takeout and frozen dinners are staples for many households. But you can actually save money, calories and time by trying one of our quick and easy weeknight meals that'll have you sitting down to eat in 20 minutes or less.

Save 60+ Minutes

Multitask. True, in some cases doing several things at once, like trying to finish three presentations at the same time, can actually slow you down (shifting focus zaps enough time to really add up). But there are situations when multitasking can add minutes (or even hours) back on the clock, like when one or both tasks don't require much focus. Some multitasking moves that can save you time: watching your favorite shows while you work out, going through the mail while you're on hold with the cable company or throwing in a load of laundry while you wait for the oven to heat up.

Turn off personal email alerts. Checking your email every time a new message pops up in your inbox kills your focus and wastes more than the two minutes it took to read about J. Crew's 30 percent off sale -- there's also the time it takes to refocus on what you were doing just before your inbox dinged, buzzed or flashed. To stay on task, switch off the email alert setting and set a calendar alert for every hour (or half hour, if you must), reminding you to check your mail. Relax -- if someone really needs to reach you, there's this thing called a phone, and it's actually far more efficient.

Stop surfing. Ever notice how what was supposed to be a five-minute celeb gossip break can easily morph into a 45-minute sesh spent reading about the merits of the new Shake Weight? Check out RescueTime.com, a website that will monitor how much time you spend on certain sites, alert you when you've been there for too long and even block certain sites you can't help but procrastinate on (besides TheNest.com, of course).

Skip the gym. Now here's one we love. If you're working out intensely five or more days a week, feel free to cut back...to three or four. Fitness experts insist that more isn't necessarily better when it comes to exercise. Giving your body a day to recover can help you go harder and faster the next time you work out.

Set deadlines. Ever notice how your coworkers who have kids somehow find a way to get their work done by 5 p.m. every day? Believe it or not, they're not running on baby-induced adrenaline; they're just wasting less time during the day -- gossiping, online shopping, perusing YouTube-ing -- because they know they have to leave to get the kids, no matter what. Deadlines help you work much more efficiently. So even if you don't have kids, give yourself a deadline by making plans to meet a friend for happy hour or your trainer at 6 p.m. sharp.

Nestpert: Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (My168Hours.com)

-- Kristin Koch

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