In this current stage of life I am involved in helping my husband run his business and I work about 30 hours a week for a software company. In addition to these two jobs, I am a full-time student, a part-time blogger, and a volunteer at church. As you can well imagine, life is fun and it takes a lot of planning to get everything accomplished. Here are some things I do to make my life work:
Write a to-do list: - It is very important to prioritize and list out what you feel needs to be accomplished each day, week or month. I have daily lists, weekend list, weekly lists, and even monthly lists. This may sound overwhelming, but it frees up brain space because I know I will not forget anything. Having a dedicated notebook or planner for your to- do lists will help keep you organized. A hundred sticky notes on your fridge will not de-stress you. When writing my to-do list I also take note of items I’ll need on different days. If I need to pickup dry cleaning, I put the dry cleaning ticket in my planner. If I need to go to the grocery store, I put my list and coupons in an envelope in my planner.
Create a schedule – Some people groan at this because they think that it will be just one more added pressure to their already hectic life! Take your to-do list and break it down into your schedule. When you write that schedule, you will realize that you are not superwoman and you have to weed out some tasks. Is it more important to sleep at night or to finish dusting the house? The dusting can always wait. J It is liberating to walk past a messy bedroom and know that you have “clean bedroom” at 2 PM. It prevents distraction and encourages productivity!
Plan for leftovers – When life gets busy, the first thing that most of us start to skip is cooking at home. Unfortunately, this can dramatically affect our budget quickly, because eating out is not cheap or healthy! When I cook, I plan for leftovers. When I make spaghetti, I cook enough ground beef to use for dinner and to freeze for a future dinner. If I make rice, I make enough rice for two meals and just plan to make two rice based dinners. When I make a pot of soup, I will make a double batch and freeze the second half for a few weeks out. This cooking ahead principal takes no additional time, but it allows me to have a freezer full of options for days that just don’t allow for kitchen time.
Talk and work – I try to save up my personal phone calls for the part of my day that I tackle household chores. I put a headset on and catch up with friends while I clean the kitchen, fold the laundry, straighten up the house, or wipe down the bathrooms. This allows me make time for my friends and keep my house in order!
Learn to say no – this one is hard for me and my husband. We both love to help people and to spend time with people, so “no” has been a hard lesson to learn. But it’s very important to realize that we are all human in 24 hr day constraints and there is only so much that we can do! Release yourself to say no sometimes!
I found this quote a few months ago and it resonates with this stage of my life, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” Our life won’t always be this busy, but during this season it has been a necessity and thankfully we have tackled it with the grace of God!
What are some things you do to save time?