Every day can feel like a race against time. With over-packed schedules, long commutes and a life to maintain somewhere in between, the weekdays can shift from a normal routine to a carefully planned, minute-by-minute itinerary.
Technology is already playing a big part in our overscheduled reality. Smartphones and computers, with synchronized meeting-filled calendars and constant connection to email, can make it harder for us to separate life from work, adding distractions to our day instead of helping us better manage time.
Living in a more connected world creates new interruptions, but it can also free us from certain time-consuming activities if we adopt the right ones. They might not be Time-Turners, but these technologies could add lost time to your everyday routine.
Eliminate lost items. Losing keys or a wallet every morning is almost part of the schedule itself. Rushing out of your apartment on the way to work, it's become normal to budget 10 minutes so you can actually locate items you need for the day.
Some smart technologies can now make sure you never spend extra minutes looking for lost keys again. Tools like Cobra Tag or Linquet let you attach sensors or key tags to the items you don't want to lose track of, and then keep tabs on everything from one app on a smartphone. Now just don't lose track of your phone or the app, and you're good to go.
Potential time saved: 10 minutes.
Ditch the wallet. Instead of digging through your wallet for the right credit card while buying coffee, mobile payment technology is saving the seconds you would waste swiping the old-fashioned way. Mobile payment options like Visa Checkout and Google Wallet let users connect credit and debit cards to smartphones, eliminating the need to carry around a bunch of cards.
Mobile payments use Near Field Communication technology, which lets two devices exchange data when they are placed a short distance away from each other. This is the same technology that lets us share photos between phones with friends, only this involves sharing credit card information between one smartphone and a payment terminal at a store. It might only be a few seconds, but eliminating the need for a wallet or the wait from swiping, entering a pin number and waiting for a receipt could be the couple of minutes that make you late for your next meeting.
Potential time saved: 3 minutes.
Track your steps. When you're already over-scheduled, making time for exercise and watching what you eat can seem like the last priority on the to-do list. Fitness wearables and apps can make exercising automatic, and demand for the devices is only growing. In 2014, 90 million fitness wearable devices were sold, according to Time.
Fitness wearables, like Fitbit, attach to clothing or can slip onto a wrist to track your habits. Other apps, like Nike+, download right to a smartphone or smartwatch to track exercise patterns.
Smartwatches, combined with these fitness apps, can save even more time when exercising. With the fitness app, you can play music, use GPS to find a running route and track your workout distance, pace and calories burned from your wrist. Instead of typing in the details of your workout to a smartphone after the fact, the smartwatch eliminates those steps and gives you the extra tools you need for the exercise itself. It's also much less clunky to run with a watch than a smartphone strapped to your arm.
With access to information about how much you're moving and eating in a given day, you can be more conscious of your health without wasting any time. These tools help people set fitness goals simply while tracking it all in one place — and if you do it right, you might be able to give yourself a break and skip one workout during the week.
Potential time saved: 30 minutes.
Living in a world filled with technology means we have to learn how to best use it to our advantage. Wearables and connected technologies that sync to our smart devices can change our relationship with time as we learn how to integrate them into our everyday lives. One in 5 Americans owned some type of wearable technology in 2014, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, and that number will only grow as we rely more on these tools to help us get the most out of the 24 hours we have each day.