Technology Tools That Literally Let You Buy Back Your Time

Invest in time-saving apps, plug-ins, and websites to upgrade your routine.

If time is money, then the reverse must also be true, right? Of course, when you have money, you can hire someone who can clean your home or even prepare your taxes, thereby saving you time. But you don't have to hire a human to outsource such dreaded work.

Instead, invest in technology that yields similar results. Several time-saving apps and tools can help you get your life back. In fact, you can virtually outsource practically everything that eats up your time. Here are the best technology tools that can dramatically streamline the things you need to do daily.

01 of 06

Productivity

The internet is a place where information and time are highly transactional. Online learning and e-courses are a great use of the internet, but dawdling on social media can take up more of our time than many of us would like to admit. Here's how you can limit your unproductive screen time:

  • Install the Freedom app on your device, which means no more milling about—and certainly no more relying on willpower. Scheduled and automatic blocking of websites, pop-ups, and internet access means that you can't derail your day. O
  • For a one-time fee of $39, download Cold Turkey internet blocker for life. Students can even get a 20 percent discount. Whether you're stuck on that novel you've been working on or the homework you were supposed to turn in a week ago, these apps are your friend.
  • If the internet is blocked and you're still distracted, then double down on apps like Flora, Forest, and Tomato Timer, all of which adopt the Pomodoro productivity technique, invented in the 1980s. A sequence of 25-minute blocks of work is followed by short breaks to maximize concentration and ensure prompt task completion. Tried and true, this productivity technique is highly effective—and apps make it incredibly convenient to implement.
02 of 06

Scheduling

Too many of us have gotten trapped in the time vortex of coordinating schedules, suffered from the missed appointment ("oops, I forgot to put it on my calendar"), or the time zone mix-ups that start a whole new litany of rescheduling requests to address the lapse.

As lovely as paper planners are, they can make tracking offline and online appointments difficult. Instead, free appointment scheduler apps like Calendly and Doodle spare us the never-ending email chains with the subject line "When can we all get together?"

The nuisance of scheduling can really add up for busy individuals and large households. Let these apps sync multiple online calendars and send text and inbox notifications so that you can hold onto both your time and your peace of mind.

03 of 06

Fitness

There are many ways to ensure you can fit a workout into your day. The following fitness apps can save you time and money:

  • Fitify incentivizes folks to stay in shape with home gyms—and cut out the drive to the fitness club. Not only does the app save on costly memberships, but it also cuts down on paid parking, gas refills, and time spent getting there.
  • Alo Moves combines meditation, yoga, and weightless workouts that most people would have to go to three separate locations to enjoy, which further compounds the time savings
  • Nerd Fitness is an online coaching website that will use an app to craft your exercise plan, track your progress, and count your calories—all commute-free. This program is helpful if working out from home is difficult because you lack discipline.
04 of 06

Meal Prep

Consider eliminating meal prep—one big task that most people associate with money, but is really an underestimated time suck. You might be able to get your food budget down to the cents, but for many people, this takes running around to different stores and coupon-clipping—literally a trade-off of time for money.

Instead, ditch the grocery shopping, the cooking, and the dishwashing by buying pre-cooked meals from sites like Freshly and plant-based Veestro, both of which offer meal plans at less than $12 per plate. At that price, it is well worth the opportunity costs. If you still want to cook your own meals at home, opt for quick dinners that are easy to prep.

05 of 06

Finance

There are lots of tech tools out there to help people invest: Stash, Acorns, and Chime are among the most popular. But before you try to grow your money, it's wise to keep track of how much is coming in and going out, when bills are due, and how much is siphoned off in fees. These tools can help you do just that:

  • Mint offers alerts for credit card fees and low balances, which can eventually lead to more overdraft fees. Getting these timely messages can mean that a quick call to the bank can save sizable sums.
  • You Need a Budget, better known as YNAB, offers a zero-based financial plan that doesn't just look back on what you spent; it also projects into the future. Taking just a few minutes to plan for payment delays or to set goals to build an emergency fund can equate to financial freedom.
  • Square or Freshbooks tracks invoices and payments, which is extremely helpful if you're self-employed. Doing it right the first time can save immeasurable amounts in taxes and bookkeeping.

The minimal time commitment to set up these money apps is well worth the return on investment.

06 of 06

Business

Create projects and business plans on sites like Fiverr. Then use U.S.-based virtual assistants Fancy Hands to reclaim all the time you would have spent making client reservations, checking business hours, or researching a topic that would have sent you down a rabbit hole. You can delegate these time-consuming tasks for as little as $5 per request.

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