I once had a coworker look at me and say, “You know Amy, you don’t work harder. You work smarter.” I must have given her a puzzled look because this was immediately followed by, “It’s a compliment, I promise!” And you know what, she was right. (Well, sort of. I do work hard!) But I am always looking for the easier way to do something. No long and winding roads for me. I’m more of a straight line kind of girl. Here are a few of my favorite tips to save time. Hopefully one or two of them can save you a few minutes in your busy day!
Make a list. (And check twice if necessary.)
I am really into list. I have little pads of paper in my purse, on my fridge, at my desk. I even keep digital post on my laptop. Making lists is my first line of defense in staying organized. And isn’t staying organized the key to finding more time for yourself? When you don’t have to remember what you needed to pick up at the grocery store because you have it written down you can zip in and out. This is instead of staring aimlessly at the aisles trying to remember the one thing you came in the store for in the first place while standing over your already full cart!
Let someone else do it.
Let’s face it, we are all interesting and fascinating and totally unique creatures. And yet there’s nothing we haven’t encountered that someone hasn’t encountered before us. The internet is your friend. Need a packing list for your next vacation? Trying to prefect your chocolate cake recipe? Just do a quick search. There is going to be a post somewhere from someone else who just packed for the same trip who can let you know what you need. There are only a few billion chocolate cake recipes. Check out a few. (And report back.) You’re sure to find what you need without starting from scratch and you’ll also save a little time in the process.
Clean up your act!
I can credit and old roommate for this habit of mine. I used to get well meaning lectures every time I coooked about cleaning as I would go. “Why are you stacking the dishes in the sink? It would take the same amount of time to put them in the dishwasher.” And of course she was right. I started doing it just to avoid the lectures. Now I continue to do it because it really does save time. Mom was right-cleaning up as you make a mess is the right thing to do!
So you gotta have friends, right?
I don’t know how many times I’ve come across one of my friends slaving away on a project all by themselves without asking for help. Unless we’re talking about something you just love to do, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I will happily help any of my girlfriends plant some flowers, cook dinner for a sick friend, pick up their kids from school. But I don’t know if you need the help unless you ask. So ask away-there could be someone out there who’s happy to help and free up some of your precious time. Just don’t ask too often. And please note, if you need help moving I’m busy. ☺
You deserve a break today-and every day.
Lots of people think the way to get things done is to push through until it’s all finished. But if you’re so tired you are just dragging you’re no good to anyone. Taking a break for a cup of coffee, a cat nap or even a quick run to the store can help you refresh and re-energize. You’ll be more productive and save time in the long run. So enjoy that cup of Starbucks guilt free, knowing you’re going to do better work after your break.
Plan for the future, today!
I have a friend who constantly teases me about how far ahead I think about food. But really, isn’t cooking one of everyone’s biggest time gobblers? (Pun totally intended.) Planning meals ahead of time, doing doubles of things that will freeze nicely, and having a stocked pantry will all save tons of time down the road. (Also, please feel free to invite me over for dinner on lasagna night.)
Kids don’t always know it’s work, bless their hearts.
I remember when I was young and naive and thought things like scrubbing toilets were fun. Ah, youth… Well, take advantage of that. Kids are taught that chores are to be dreaded and avoided. Try to get in as much help as possible while they don’t know any butter. Hand that child a duster and tell them to enjoy themselves. OK, so they don’t always do the best job, but they’re great for in-between cleanings and really can be a big help. So put those kids to work!
Make your smart phone a genius phone.
Are you an appaholic or are there things you don’t even know your phone can do? Spend some time checking out the features of your phone and learn what special tricks it can perform. After all, a phone as only as smart as you make it. There are tons of time saving apps available, just search around. Better yet, ask your friends for their favorites!
No is a complete sentence.
I know plenty of moms who say yes to everything. They’ll say yes to making cupcakes for the party. Sure, they’ll pick up everyone after dance class. And make all of the gifts for the teacher appreciation celebration? Why not? OK, for the record-yes is a good word. Some people really do need to say Yes more often. But if all you ever say if yes you will get more and more requests and eventually have no time for yourself. So remind yourself that you can say no when you need to say no. And that it’s perfectly ok to not do it all!
Make your priorities a priority!
Everything has differing levels of importance. Some things you need to get to right away. Some things can wait. Prioritizing things can really help you get a handle on what you have to do, what you want to do and what you need to do. I’ve found sometimes that by the time I get to whatever is the lowest priority on my list it’s not really something that needed to be done in the first place.
What are your tips for savings times and getting the most out of every day?
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.