25 Time-Saving Secrets

From The Experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute

If you were given an extra hour every day, what would you do with it? You're about to find out! Our genius tips and tricks let you create those magic minutes.

By Betty Gold
Images by Getty Images

Snooze-proof your morning.

Save yourself the early-A.M. energy drain that comes with hitting the snooze button again and again. Instead, set an alarm the night before for your actual wake-up time—and then move the clock across the room. That way, you'll have to get out of bed to shut it off and start your day.
Saved: 1.75 hours/week


Prone to zone out if you're in the shower? Set a timer for seven to 10 minutes—when it goes off, so should the water. To get the most out of those sudsy seconds, use GH Seal holder Olay In-Shower Body Lotion as conditioner sets. It's specially formulated so it works right in the shower—no need to apply lotion later and wait for it to absorb! Another Beauty Team hack: Detangle with a wide-toothed comb while the water runs through your hair, since freshly conditioned strands are less susceptible to breakage.
Saved: 1 hour/week

Bring on the clean machine.

We've always been fans of hands-free cleaning—iRobot's Roomba vacuum was a top pick in our Cleaning Lab tests! Now you get gleaming floors, too, as you brush your teeth…drink your coffee…walk your dog, with the company's Braava Jet ($200, amazon.com), a convenient robot mop that sneaks into tight places you might miss.
Saved: 30 minutes/week


Avoid bumper-to-bumper frustration with Waze as your copilot. The free navigation app sources real-time road and traffic updates from other vehicles' passengers. You'll get alerts to avoid roads clogged by congestion or crashes. It also gathers gas prices so you can find the cheapest (or closest) fill-up.
Saved: 1 hour/week



Salon-worthy hair for up to five days? Yes, please! A blowout is an up-front commitment, but you can sleep on it and not have to redo it the next day (or four). Use your time in the stylist's chair to relax or read e-mail. "It'll save tons of time in the days to come," says Drybar founder Alli Webb. Extend your 'do even further with dry shampoo: Spray roots to freshen, absorb oil and add body. Our pros like L'Oréal Professionnel Fresh Dust Hair Powder ($20), which topped our Beauty Lab tests, leaving hair clean and helping styles last.
Saved: 2 hours/week


Eliminate the what-to-wear guesswork with a go-to look. GH Style Director Lori Bergamotto (above) began with a basic template—a white button-down and black pants—and reimagined it six ways! Outfit-making accessories like metallic pumps and a layered necklace made each look unique. "I had time in the morning to spend with my kids instead of fussing over my outfit," she says.
Saved: 1.75 hours/week

See the whole week of outfits at goodhousekeeping.com/outfitchallenge.



"I use a sunscreen that doubles as a moisturizer — that's one less step! I wear SPF 30 365 days a year, since 90% of the signs of aging come from unprotected UV exposure," says Mona Gohara, M.D., associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine's Department of Dermatology.
Saved: 15 minutes/week


Smoothies are a great on-the-go way to get in about two servings of fruits and veggies, says GH Nutrition Director Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D. Opt for frozen berries and spinach (they're just as nutritious) so you don't even have to clean or chop. Our kitchen experts like the single-serve JCPenney Cooks Power Pro 700 Watt Blender, a GH Seal holder.
Saved: 1 hour/week



"A five-minute conversation is so much more efficient than e-mail. Sometimes e-mails just create more e-mails!" says Blythe Harris, Stella & Dot cocreator and Keep Collective cofounder.
Saved: 1.75 hours/week


Boost a slow computer by adding random-access memory (RAM). For as little as $8 you could get faster-loading pages!
Saved: 1.75 hours/week



"In lieu of breakfast or lunch meetings, I meet people for an early-morning SoulCycle class and coffee. I get to exercise, check in with the team and get a potential new rider…all in a little over an hour," says Melanie Whelan, SoulCycle CEO.
Saved: 3 hours/week

Job-share at home.

"Have a conversation at your house about who's doing the majority of chores and whether that's working. There's a worldwide gender gap in household job responsibility because societies tend to assume it's 'women's work'. In the U.S., the gap is about 90 minutes a day. It's fine not to split tasks 50/50—what matters is making sure women aren't stuck with them by default."
Saved: 5.25 hours/week


Read only the e-mails you truly want to with Unroll.Me. Log in to the free service to see every e-mail list and newsletter you receive, then unsubscribe or bundle all promo e-mails into one daily digest.
Saved: 1 hour/week


…and e-mails, and texts. Use a free service like BatchedInbox that delivers messages at times you specify, or check e-mail only once an hour (more if you expect something urgent). Putting the virtual world on (temporary) pause will help you stay focused for a tight deadline or important project.
Saved: 7 hours/week

Schedule your outbox.

Can't sleep at 2 A.M. and want to get a jump on the morning's e-mails? With Boomerang for Gmail or Outlook, you can write messages and set them to be sent at a later time. It can also remind you to send thank-you notes or follow up on a high-priority e-mail.
Saved: 35 minutes/week

"Hire" a free assistant!

Schedule that impossible lunch or meeting with multiple attendees sans e-mail tag. GH Chief Technologist Rachel Rothman loves x.ai, a free digital assistant that uses artificial intelligence to chat and make (complicated!) plans involving up to five people.
Saved: 1 hour/week

Never reset passwords again.

Forget forgetting! Dashlane remembers your usernames and passwords so you don't have to. Download the free app on your device, and it'll autofill everything and alert you to weak passwords.
Saved: 30 minutes/week


Channel Frozen and let…it…go.

Not everything needs to be perfect. "After washing sheets, put them right back on the bed so you won't need to fold them. The same goes for underwear—just toss it in a drawer. I love the look of nicely folded undies, but life's too short!"
Saved: 30 minutes/week


Laundry takes long enough as it is, so presort clothes in hampers for lights and darks as you take them off. They'll be separated already on laundry day.
Saved: 10 minutes/week

Use the cloud.

Collaborate with coworkers and family anywhere, anytime, with cloud-based services like Google Docs and Office Online. That way, everyone can access and add to the grocery list or brainstorming memo from his or her computer/smartphone/tablet.
Saved: 1 hour/week


Get a jump on tonight's dinner and prep all the veggies when you have a spare minute with Oxo's Vegetable Chopper ($20): Place a veggie (it works with fruit, too!) on the grates, press down the lid and eureka—a perfect dice. It cut onions, cucumbers and apples the most evenly in our Lab tests, and bits of food didn't catch in its blades.
Saved: 35 minutes/week



Whatever you're cooking, chances are you'll need it. "Before doing anything, turn on the oven or broiler and set water on to boil."
Saved: 1 hour/week

Leave shoes at the door.

You won't waste time searching for missing ones, and dirt- and mud-free floors mean less vacuuming and mopping.
Saved: 30 minutes/week


You could burn about 300 calories by walking for 60 minutes&emdash;or shave 40 minutes off the sweat session and zap the same amount doing speed bursts called high-intensity interval training (HIIT). The workout repeats quick bursts of exercise to raise heart rate followed by active rest periods. Sure, you'll work a little harder, but for a fraction of the time—and you'll keep burning long after leaving the gym.

Saved: 1.5 hours/week



"Develop a transition to sleep that starts before you get into bed. I turn off all my electronic devices, take a hot bath, drink tea and read a book that has nothing to do with work. Sleep is the ultimate performance-enhancing tool: It improves decision-making, problem-solving, creativity and our ability to deal with stress."