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Improve Your Time Management with Right Turns

Save time and money you can put toward school

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Driving by Jim Vecchione - Getty Images
Jim Vecchione - Getty Images
Almost every adult student has the challenge of balancing a job, a family of some kind, classes and school work---life in general. It isn't easy unless you're a superwoman or superman, and how many of us are that?

Every little thing you can do to improve your time management, your efficiency, helps you find more study time, increasing your chances of succeeding at school. I've written here before about the efficiency of running errands counterclockwise, making right turns only, but I'm writing about it again because I found some interesting articles I'll call "supporting data."

The main idea is you can save time and, it turns out, gas money, if you plan your errands so that you make only right turns. Even if the total route is longer, it will take less time and use less gas if you eliminate waiting in left turn lanes.

I don't know why this turns me on so much. I guess because I hate waiting. For anything. The busier I am, the less time I have to waste sitting idly at red lights. And who doesn't like filling up the gas tank less often?

I first wrote about this in our time management tips: Lists, Errands, Time Is Money. In hindsight, and with the supporting data coming next, this little ditty is woefully inadequate.

Scott Davis, Chairman and CEO of UPS (United Parcel Service), has included his company's "Right Turn Policy" in speeches he gives around the world, like the one he gave at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel on July 12, 2011. In his speech, he states:

"We carefully map out routes for all our drivers to reduce the number of left-hand turns they make. Now get this: In 2007 alone, this helped us:

  • shave nearly 30 million miles off already streamlined delivery routes.
  • save 3 million gallons of gas, and
  • reduce CO2 emissions by 32,000 metric tons—the equivalent of removing 5,300 passenger cars from the road for an entire year."

Impressive, yes? I think so. I have been doing the same thing since I first started hating errands in 1980, and while I don't have impressive statistics like Mr. Davis, I can tell you I have greater peace of mind and a lot more time to do the things I want, like studying, when I make only right turns when running errands.

Not convinced yet? I have more supporting data.

In Episode 145 of the popular television series Mythbusters, the mythbusting team tested whether or not right turns really do save time and money. The results: "After reviewing their results, the Build Team discovered that the right turn route was more fuel efficient by 3%, despite having to driver a longer distance."

I love that. The Mythbuster data isn't quite as impressive as that from UPS, but their test was significantly smaller, too. Think of the number of UPS trucks on the streets of America every day. That's data I trust. And, even better, the UPS data supports living green. The CO2 emissions they save make tree huggers like myself happy. How about you?

We have other time management tips on the site. If you're a student trying to balance work, life, and school, check out:

And from elsewhere at About:

How do you save time? We'd love to hear your ideas. Share them in two places:

  1. How do you balance school, work, and life?
  2. Share your time management tips

See you in the right turn lane!

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