Do you find yourself constantly on the go? Juggling work, family, appointments, catch-ups, extra curricular, deadlines etc? Me too! Honestly, being time poor is not where I want my days to end up. A family get away without needing to worry about work is where I would rather be!
So how can we get back that time we long to have? Time to, sometimes, just be able to sit down with a hot cuppa. Here are some of my top time saving tips just for you.
1. Plan your day.
And plan it the day before! Take a look at your calendar and have a look at what you have on for the following day. Then organise it! Plan your routes, figure out how much time you need or want to give to each activity in your day and feel that sense of achievement when you can look back on your day and go 'wow! I accomplished a lot today!'.
2. Schedule your time.
To carry on from above, dive into your day a bit deeper. For example, put any errands together so you only have to make one trip out. Plan to walk the dog while your having a break from working on the computer, or time it that the washing is ready to hang out after you've dropped the kids at school. This saves you having to stop, start, get up, sit down and double back on yourself more than you need to.
3. Only start something if you intend to finish it.
There's nothing worse than getting halfway through a job before having to move onto the next thing. Need to vacuum the car out? Make sure you have time. Otherwise you will find the vacuum cleaner sitting in the garage for a week! Only have 10mins? Then allocate that time for a small task like putting away the dishes or wiping down the benches.
This also applies to emails. Don't open an email if you don't plan to answer it. Otherwise you will end up opening it more than once.
But make sure you finish. It means it won't be left lingering in the back of your mind!
4. Write a 'To Do' list.
I know, I know. I'm probably stating the obvious with this one. BUT there is a right and wrong way to write a list. If your list is so long that there isn't any way possible to achieve everything without running yourself ragged, then shorten the list. It's better to be able to achieve your list and possibly add a few extra things on later, than it is to feel self-pressure to be a scheduling superhero. It doesn't bode well for your mood or relationships.
5. Schedule breaks.
Everyone needs a break. We can always ignore the option for a break but the reality is you will perform better if you are rested, or have taken your eyes away from the screen for a while. I am thankful I can work from home. I tend to work for an hour, then hang the washing out, walk the dog or have a coffee before getting stuck back into it. You might actually find that by giving yourself a break, you come up with your best ideas!
6. Find the right time.
Got important things to do? An important interview? Or a document that needs proof reading? Anything that requires concentration, is best scheduled for your quietest time of day, not when your attention is having to be divided. Whether that be while the kids are at school, your work space is calm, or at night. Find the time that works best. Save the 'multi task' activities for active/noisy times. I enjoy talking to the kids about their days and helping out with homework while I fold the washing.
7. Minimise distractions.
If your phone is often running red hot, or you have a habit of checking your emails or social media regularly, then stop. Allocate times for calls. Allocate times to answer emails. And allocate time for social media! It can be way to easy to drag all three of these things out, taking up your time and hindering your ability to complete your check list.
8. Everything needs a place.
Put things away where they belong after you have used them. In my household, this seems to notoriously be the scissors. Then you waste time trying to find them! Once you are done with something, put it away. Not only does that mean you know where it is for next time, but it also one less thing you have to tidy up while your cleaning.
When you attempt to implement some of these tips into your daily life, remember, it will take time to turn these tips into healthy time habits.
9. Get into a routine.
I know things crop up all the time. A business trip, a visitor, kids home sick from school. But have a basic outline of how your week is broken up. It will also make it a lot easier to shift things around if you need to. For me, my main two work/productive days are Tuesdays and Thursdays. While my youngest is home on a Wednesday, we run errands, have coffee dates, do house work.
10. Plan your meals.
The great thing about planning meals (besides time saving) is that you can then repeat them! No need to think! I have roughly 25 different dinner meals that I don't have to think about. If I want to do something different, I have a look through some recipe books. But otherwise it's that easy. The family loves them so why not keep things the same?!
11. Shop online.
I know it's fun to peruse the shops, but if you haven't got that luxury, then save time by shopping online. It can also be time saving to compare shop prices online so that you know exactly where you need to go to get what you're looking for.
And if you see a birthday present while you're out, buy it! Even if it's not their birthday for 6 months.
In line with this, try online grocery shopping. We have so many options with 'Click and collect' or home delivery these days. Not only will you find you save money by not buying all those unnecessary items (I'm sorry chocolate aisle), but it will save you time. You can also save your set grocery list so you don't have to do it all over again next time you shop.
12. Write your grocery list.
Keep a grocery list somewhere near the kitchen. As items run out, or you find you need something, write it down. That way you will only buy things you need and nothing will be forgotten. Especially those obscure items like shaving cream or batteries.
When I do go into the supermarket, I tend to feel like I'm the only one carrying a list. I couldn't imagine going into a supermarket not knowing what I had to buy. Or coming home to discover I actually didn't need to buy spaghetti because we already have 5 tins in the pantry and I've forgotten the milk.
And finally, number 13: DECLUTTER!
The less stuff you have:
the less mess,
the less clutter your mind will be,
the easier it will be to tidy,
the easier it is to find things,
the more simple choices will seem
It might take a while to implement some of these but give it time, gain back your time, and enjoy some time!!!