Waiting on line is probably the biggest time bandit of all. Endless lines of traffic take you to more lines — lines at the airport, long lines at the store and, maybe the worst of all, the dreaded motor vehicle bureau line. But now those lines may be a thing of the past. The solution is online. Regina Lewis, consumer advisor for AOL, shares some web sites that are real time savers.
1. netflix.com: It's one of the more popular sites on the web and one of the biggest time savers. Never go to your local video store again! Netflix offers every title imaginable, new and old. And there's free shipping, both ways. Most movies are delivered in one day and there are never any late fees — no matter how late you are. If you're travelling for pleasure or business and won't be home to watch your movies, you should consider canceling your account until your schedule returns to normal, then resubscribe.
2. mapquest.com: This site has added a great new feature — the “route builder” form. Do you have a half dozen (up to 10) errands to run? Do you find that you almost always manage to take the least efficient way to get to all those places? Now mapquest enables you to plug in your destinations and get directions to and from all of them. Don't know the address for your video store or your supermarket? Just type in the name of the store and the zip code, and you'll instantly get your choice of every one in town. Click on the one you want and it's added to your map.
3. dmv.org: Coming to a state near you — the end of the motor vehicle bureau line. Dmv.org is essentially home to the DMV web sites of every state. What's available varies from state to state, but it's pretty standard to offer registration renewal and payment online. Online driver's licenses also vary, but some states now offer licenses that don't expire until age 65! Whatever your state offers, it's important to note that you can get instructions and download and fill out forms on virtually any of the services.
In terms of saving time, this site could save you a lost day at work, or a lost couple of hours of your weekend. Here are some of the times they estimate for getting things done on a DMV web site:
- Renew your driver's license: 4.5 minutes
- Replace it: 3.5 minutes
- Renew a vehicle registration: 3.5 minutes
- Order your license plates: 8.5 minutes
4. usersmanualguide.com: You know you've saved the manual for that DVD player, toaster, radio, clock ... somewhere. It came with a book and now, when you need it, it's nowhere to be found. Look for further than this site. It's got online versions of manuals for most anything, listed by manufacturer or product type, and available in most languages. The manuals and user guides for mobile phones, digital cameras, PCs, monitors, software, TVs, DVD players, and more are free as downloadable PDF documents.
5. tmz.com: Be the first one in your office to know the latest celebrity gossip at the water cooler. TMZ (the “thirty-mile zone” around Hollywoood) has all the dish and dirt hours before “Access Hollywood” and “ET” hit the air. Check out the news you need to know like “Nick Lachey Just Landed at Sidney Airport” and “Larry King Has a Fender Bender in L.A.” (no one injured!).
6. ohdontforget.com: It enables the user to send a quick, simple text message, at a time of your choosing, to remind the receiver (you or anyone else) about anything. How it works: On the front page there are three, simple boxes. Type in a cell phone number (with or without spaces). Then enter a date and time. If you want to send it now, type “now.” Type your message. Almost immediately, your message is sent.