It seems like everywhere you go, you hear the same message. I don’t have enough time, I need more time, I’d love to exercise more, play more, __________ more (fill in the missing word) but I just don’t have the time.
Here are a few of my favourite time-savers.
o 1. Do your grocery shopping when the stores are empty
I’ve started doing our weekly shop on Friday nights at 6.30. My favourite grocery store closes at 7pm so the store is not very full and all of us shoppers are in “accomplish” mode so not a lot of browsing and so on. We’re armed with our lists and get on with the job. I’ve saved at least an hour from doing the weekly shop on Saturdays like I used to do.
o 2. Whenever you cook, cook double
I cook at least double of everything for the nights when I have coaching appointments in the evenings. It then takes just a few minutes to defrost the meals in the microwave and saves me about 30 minutes’ meal preparation time. You can freeze individual portions of just about anything – soup, rice, casseroles, etc.
o 3. When you return home from the shops, prepare all your vegetables immediately.
Yes, it will take a bit of time initially but it saves you time during the week when you’re busy. Remember, you can spend some time every night getting out all your chopping boards, knives, etc. AND cleaning it afterwards, or you can do it once a week. I vote for once a week. Do the same for your meat and chicken if you separate it out for different meals.
o 4. Set up a menu plan for the week
The best part of using a menu plan for me besides saving money is that it saves me time. You don’t have the indecision every night of opening that fridge or cupboard and wondering what to cook. It’s already decided. Try it and see – you won’t look back.
o 5. Choose your clothes in the evening
This is another underestimated time saver. When you choose your clothes in the evening, you can see if your shoes need to be cleaned, if all the buttons on your shirt are still intact, and so on. Then in the morning, you’re set to go. And if you’re like me, you need all the help you can get just to get out of bed!
o 6. Pack your lunch in the evening
Not only does this save time, but it also helps you to remember everything. I have a little cooler bag that I use to pack my lunch while supper is cooking (or defrosting). I pack my sandwich, cereal, yogurt, my cup-a-soup and my two fruits.
o 7. Use TV time for other mindless tasks
I understand that TV is relaxation time but this works for me. I exercise with weights, wrap gifts, pack my handbag, update my diary, sew buttons, go through my old magazines, etc, etc. all while watching TV. The list goes on and on. At least at the end of a show, I feel like I’ve accomplished something instead of just being a couch potato.
o 8. Tape TV programmes and watch them on video later
I’m a HUGE Dr. Phil fan and I tape the programme every day. If I had to sit and watch the programme live, it would take an hour. Because I tape it and fast forward through all the commercial breaks, it takes only 43 minutes. I also noticed that the reality TV shows like Survivor, Amazing Race and The Apprentice are usually only about 37 minutes long.
o 9. Batch routine tasks
Keep all your filing together so that you file 5 pieces of paper at once. Make all your telephone calls at the same time. Write out all greeting cards for the month at one time. And wrap all the gifts at one time too – yes, in front of the TV!
o 10. Automate as much as you can
Get your bank to automatically deduct your monthly payments. This is what I do with my business more and more, like automating my monthly newsletter, so I can focus more time on my core genius, coaching, organizing, writing and speaking. For example, I use the AutoText function in Microsoft Word extensively for all emails I write a lot, like questions on my coaching and workshops, my e-signature, etc. I read a great tip in an online newsletter recently. Whenever you comment on a blog, make it a meaningful comment and use the same wording as a post on your own blog. Or turn it into an article.
If you put just two or three of these ideas into practice, you’ll save an hour every day.
What could you do with an extra hour every day? You could play with your children, spend some more quality time with your husband, reconnect with family or friends or take better care of yourself by joining the gym.
Make a small change today and start changing your life.