This post is all about SAVING TIME! It’s a list of things you can do (or stop doing) to gain back a sufficient amount of time each and every day. It’s a nice follow-up to “5 Steps to a Freer, Happier, More Balanced Life,” which offered practical advice on some pretty common issues that prevent people from living as well as they could. So, look-over the list below and choose a couple to try. You may be familiar with some of these time-saving tips and tricks, but I’ll bet there’s a few on this list you’ve never heard of.
1. PLAN YOUR ATTIRE
Use ten minutes on one of your days off to put together an outfit for each upcoming day of the new work-week (two weeks if you have enough clothes) and hang them in your closet. You will never again waste time figuring out what to wear each morning. This is a great way to save time!
2. STOP WASHING YOUR CLOTHES AFTER EACH USE
If you have an office job, it’s very likely that the outfit you wore to work isn’t dirty by time you get home. Sure, it got a little wrinkled, but the major creases are still in place. Why not spend, literally, 3 to 4 minutes knocking out the wrinkles so you can hang it up and wear it again? Doing this, instead of throwing it in the dirty clothes, will cut your loads of laundry in half, save you money on water, soap and electricity, and make your clothes last longer. This nifty little trick will get you through two to four weeks before you have to wash clothes again. And if you combine this step with the first one, you will save a considerable and noticeable amount of time. Now that’s a smart and efficient time saving move!
3. REUSE THE SAME DISHES
Whether we use a cup for water, juice or milk, it always ends up in the sink to be washed. Why not just rinse it out, place it on the counter, and consider it your cup for the rest of the day, or two or three? Imagine if you did that with all your dishes – every time you used a plate and fork or bowl and spoon, you gave it a quick wash and placed it in the drainer. The next time you needed one of those items you would simply grab it from the drainer instead of the cabinet. What does this mean? It means by reusing the same dishes throughout the day, you’ll never wash more of anything than there are people in your family. Work smart… not hard.
4. KEEP IT ALL IN ONE PLACE (GET ORGANIZED)
Keep your keys, phone, purse, wallet, folders, documents and anything else that needs to leave the house with you each day in one location. If you have kids, have them do the same thing with their stuff but in a different location. This is very easy to implement, it saves time, and it eliminates a lot of frustration.
5. TWEAK THE ROUTINE
Our careers consume the majority of our waking hours, so stop hitting the gym every day you’re scheduled to work. People get so wrapped-up in the idea that they have to hit the gym five or six days a week, that they actually deprive themselves of sleep and eat fast-food in order to “make-it-happen.” A goal to get healthy will be lost if too much emphasis is placed on the gym. Your health starts in your home… specifically, in your refrigerator and with quality sleep. Try working out four days a week; twice on your days off and twice during your work-week. Consume a healthier diet and get more sleep. This isn’t just a great time-saving tip, but it’s a healthier lifestyle as well!
6. ONLINE GROCERY SHOPPING
Grocery shopping can be a time-consuming task for anyone. Why not reduce how long this process takes by ordering your groceries online. There are several stores that offer this service free of charge (Walmart is one) and all you have to do is show up and watch someone load your groceries into your car. This is an obvious time-saving move.
7. PREP IT
If you pack a lunch every day for work, you may very well eat some of the same things all the time. If so, prep it! Make sure you have five of anything refrigerated you typically take, and five of any dry items in plastic baggies ready to go. You’re going to have these things out making Monday’s lunch, so prep Tuesday through Friday while you’re at it. Each subsequent day, you then only have to make a sandwich or throw last night’s dinner in some Tupperware. This is a time-saving move anyone who’s brown-bagging it should implement… like yesterday!
8. OUTSOURCE IT
This time-saving tip doesn’t come without a price, but… there will always be someone out there who will gladly exchange their services for your cash. You can get your lawn cut, dog walked, car washed, house cleaned, clothes laundered, groceries delivered, food prepped or even cooked, and so on and so on. Most people can’t afford all these services, but if you can afford just one, pick the one you hate doing the most.
9. STOP MULTITASKING
Multitasking wastes time and reduces productivity. It’s very simple, when you give your full focus to anything, you naturally get it done faster and produce higher quality results.
10. MAKE A LIST
A list serves two purposes; it prevents you from forgetting what needs to get done and it’s motivating. There’s no better feeling than checking off a task as compete and actually looking forward to tackling the next. Just remember, don’t multitask. Give each task your full attention so you can get it done well and in a timely manner. This is probably one of the oldest time-saving tips around, and there’s a reason for it!
11. 86 THE DAILY COFFEE STOPS
Making a pit stop while en route to work can cost you anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Make your coffee at home and enjoy a cup while you’re there or put it in a thermos and take it along for the ride… or both! This is a great way to save time AND money!
12. MAKE YOUR KIDS START PULLING THEIR WEIGHT
Teach your children from a very young age to clean up after themselves. Stop doing it for them! Besides saving time, you’ll be molding your children into responsible adults who will respect their belongings, their home, and you.
13. SET LIMITS
Limit the number of toys your children are allowed to play with throughout the house. I wouldn’t recommend setting this limit higher than five since the idea is to prevent a mess, not encourage one. If your child wants a different toy, one should be put back so there’s never more than five in use. This is a great time saving technique that teaches children to appreciate what they have.
14. DESIGNATE AN AREA
Create an area for children to play with their toys. This doesn’t have to be a separate room, but could be just a section of a room with clear boundaries. Toys should never leave this area except for at the end of the day or “playtime” when children should be required to put everything back where it belongs. A contained mess is quicker and easier for children to clean up and will save you a good amount of time!
15. BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND PEE IN THE SHOWER!
What? Doesn’t everyone do this?
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