Are you short on time? Dumb question, I know. Seriously, who in this world is satisfied with the 24 hour days we get??? If you are, I want to know you and learn from you!
Until I hit my more enlightened stage of life, I will try to get more out of my day than I really should, and part of how I do that is by making use of a few tips and tricks that save me time, and really do make my life a bit easier. Wanna hear them? Thought so!
1. Shop online, baby. I’ve addressed this a million times: taking Darah shopping is a recipe for lots of wasted time, lots of frustration and lots of missed items on the shopping list (or worse, purchases that I made too hastily). I prefer to shop around 5am, and sometimes around 8 or 9pm. Always in my pj’s. The deals are just as good (and sometimes even better) than what I can find in the stores, and I don’t have to schlep out to the mall! I save gas and commute time and I get my shopping done quickly.
2. Keep a list of errands you need to run by the door. Unfortunately, you can’t live your ENTIRE life online. Believe me, I’ve tried! Sometimes you have to brave the world and run some errands. It’s a good idea to keep a running list of things you need to pick up or places you need to go by the door. Then, when you are headed somewhere, you can browse over the list and see if there’s an errand you can run in the direction you are headed. This keeps the cross-town trips down to a minimum.
3. Do a load of laundry every day. This works for me SO much better than having a laundry day. Also, if I don’t, I regret it the next day, because the pile gets out of control, and then I spend time procrastinating about doing multiple loads. Seriously! But if I just do one load a day, the pile of clothes to fold stays manageable and I’m actually willing to do it. This means that I also spend less time ironing wrinkled clothes, or worse, re-washing clothes that were clean but that stayed in a pile on the floor so long that I thought they were dirty again (you know that’s happened to you…be honest).
4. Create a menu of meals for the week. I think a lot of people already do this, and it saves so much mental anguish at the witching hour (5pm at our house). When you are hungry and don’t know what you are eating for dinner, that’s a recipe for overspending (grabbing some takeout that you don’t need and that likely is terrible for you) or for spending too much time in the kitchen rummaging around and wringing your hands about how you have NO food (when in fact you probably have a pantry full, but you haven’t thought about how to put it together yet and can’t really figure that out when you are hungry!).
5. Wanna know the real trick to creating those weekly menus? You need to create your own cookbook! No, I’m not saying that a published work should be in your future. I’m saying that you need to build a solid collection of recipes that your family has tried and loves to eat. And 10 recipes is not enough. In my opinion, 30 recipes isn’t enough, either. We have worked on this project a little at a time for several years now, and we have well over 100 recipes that we know we love. This makes choosing 7 for the week a walk in the park, I promise!
6. Set the timer when you check your email. I am the world’s worst at sitting down, “just for 5 minutes” to check email and coming back up for air 45 minutes later. Don’t do it! It feels SUPER productive to check email. I totally get that! But it is a major (MAJOR) time suck! How often do you check your email and then feel awesome about what you accomplished during that time? Maybe when you empty your inbox, but how often does that happen (about once a month for me…). When you choose to spend so much time in your inbox, it comes at a cost to your family, your home and your other interests. Just try out setting the timer, and then when it goes off, getting up and walking away. If you are REALLY bad (like me), you can set the timer again and not let yourself check it until it goes off. I do that on my days when I’m procrastinating on other tasks, and it works like magic.
7. Stop using shampoo. Huh? Yeah, I said it. Switch over to baking soda and vinegar for your hair. You’ll save time int he shower, money on products, and you’ll have the best hair of your life. Promise.
8. If you blog as more than a hobby, hire a Virtual Assistant. This has got to be the best decision I have yet to make for my blog. My VA saves me so much time and has taken on some of the aspects of blogging that I wish I could live without (and now do!). My time is freed up to spend with my daughter and to spend on some of the more strategic aspects of growing the blog. This makes me soooo happy!
9. Blogger, or not, if you are a stay-at-home parent, hire a Mother’s Helper. A Mother’s Helper is a young person just getting started as a babysitter (think ages 12-14). Their rates are much lower, which is great if you are short on funds to hire a babysitter. I have hired one and she starts this weekend. I’ll actually still be in the house while she is babysitting in case there are any problems, but I’ll be able to focus on other things like blogging and house work without being interrupted and knowing that Darah is having a blast. SO worth it.
10. Adopt a “good enough” philosophy. I’m thinking of this particularly as it relates to housework, but it can be applied to so many areas of your life. Striving for perfection has its place, but if you take that approach to every single thing in your life, you will be one seriously worn out and unhappy person. I have felt such a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders ever since I realized that spending time with Darah was far more important than making sure every room got vacuumed on schedule and that our bathrooms sparkled. I do what I can, and then I just don’t worry about the rest. I figure that if anyone comes to my house and is grossed out by our “lived-in” house, we probably weren’t a good fit as friends, anyway, and their opinions don’t matter to me nearly as much as spending time with D and Tim matters!
What about you? What’s your very best time saving tip?
Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.