Managing Time With the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Method

Maintaining a good work-life balance is essential to your health. When you work too much, you don’t have time to do activities that you enjoy, which can be harmful to your physical and mental well-being. As a result, the quality of your work may drop along with your productivity.

While some time-management strategies are helpful, others consume more time to implement than they save. Instead, keeping things simple with the three Rs — reduce, reuse and recycle — is more straightforward and can prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. Let’s take a look at how this method can be applied to more than just saving the planet.


When you avoid buying items that you don’t need, you waste less. Also, rather than continually replacing cheap items, spending a little more so that they last longer reduces waste.

In regard to time management, you can eliminate unnecessary meetings and the clutter in your workspace that only causes stress and distracts you. You can even avoid people who waste your time and remove tasks from your to-do list that aren’t priorities.

For social commitments, practice politely saying “no” to multiple events in the same weekend. If you’ve already accepted an invite to a party, don’t try to attend another. Reducing the number of invitations that you accept will leave you more time for activities that help you recharge.


Reusing items is a concept with which everyone is familiar. For example, you may use old pickle jars to store coins or old newspapers to wrap fragile belongings during a move. You might even decide to go all digital and donate your old books so that someone else can use them. The whole point is to reuse things that you already have to reduce the consumption of resources.

This concept can be applied to time management as well. For instance, you can create a template for emails or reports that can be reused so that you don’t have to start from scratch for each new one. If you attend recurring events or meetings, set these up to repeat on a digital calendar so that you don’t have to manually enter them every week or month on a physical calendar.


Although most people in the United States have access to recycling programs, only a fraction of them actually recycle waste. The same can be said for time management. If you produce content for your company’s website, you can recycle evergreen content into infographics, eBook sections or slide decks. Simply updating the content with new information is a great recycling method too.

Another way to apply recycling to time management is to perform similar tasks together. If you add an hour to your lunch break to meet with a client, recycle the leftover time to run errands while you’re out of the office.

By implementing the three Rs into your everyday life, you could save more time and become more productive than if you were to use some other time-management strategies. Best of all, this method can help you maintain a healthy balance between your work and personal schedules.

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