Why is it that today even with all our modern conveniences, and sometimes because of our modern technologies, we seem to be "busier" and more stressed than ever? I personally think that trying to stay in touch with everyone constantly whether it's through texting or Facebook or some other online media, creates a lot of "busyness" and mental clutter. Sometimes I long for simplicity, quietness, and mental and physical breathing room. Busier isn't always better, sometimes it's just busier, and I want to help us recognize the many little areas in our lives where we can "trim the fat" and have more breathing room.
I'm not an expert in this area by any means, but here are some tips I've used for simplifying and saving time.
- Learn how to gracefully say "no." I'm a people pleaser, and this hasn't always been easy for me, but as I've gotten older and bolder, if it's not something I really want to do, or something I think I absolutely should do, I nicely decline.
- Create limits for how much time you spend online each day.
Now, I'm still learning on this one, but with so many social media sites, and working on improving my blog, my computer can be a black hole that just sucks away my time and focus from my family, unless I set limits.
- Practice delegating.
That people pleaser (and perfectionist) in me wants to do everything myself, but I've finally gotten to the point in my life where I really realize that I can't. That means asking my husband for help at times. It also means taking time to show my children how to do things around the house, which is a "win, win" anyway, because they need to learn skills to help them later in life.
- Pay bills online, and bank online. I pay all my bills online through my bank, so it's one website, one stop. It's awesome, I can pay my bills in five minutes. Use direct deposit for your paychecks, and set up automatic withdrawal for bills that are the same each month.
- Buy in bulk for nonperishable items or items that you use a lot of, like paper products and toiletries.
Less trips to the grocery means saving time and money.
- Shop online.
I have a prime membership through Amazon, so most items qualify for free shipping. I buy most gifts, household items, clothing and books etc...online. I've really never had a problem with returns either, many items already come with a return shipping label just in case, and my local Staples store has a UPS returns station.
I have a folder on my computer where I keep track of online purchases for tax purposes.
- When I do shop (in person ), I don't go to 5 different groceries to get the best price. Even if something costs a bit more at one store, sometimes the convenience of one stop is worth it. Also, my sister from Saving 4 Six told me about price matching. Some stores will price match if you just bring in the ad for the competitor's product.
- Meal plan before shopping. It cuts down stress and trips to the grocery.
If you need ideas, I post my my weekly meal plan at the bottom of my blog, and I also have some free printables to help with the process.
- Cook in bulk. When I grocery shop, I always buy extra ground beef or turkey and chicken breasts, and in the next day or two, I cook it all up in my crockpots (I have three ), and portion it into recipe or meal size portions and freeze it. It simplifies meal preparation and clean up. Another idea is to double a recipe when you're cooking it anyway, and then stick one meal's worth in the freezer for another day.
- Pay for convenience sometimes.
If you're short on time, and it works with your budget, buy the store bought dessert or cookies for a function, or pay for someone to do a job around the house that you've been avoiding. Our sanity and physical health are important.
- Use the phone and the online resources that we have today.
Instead of "riding by" somewhere to see if they're open, or checking if a store has something in stock, call or check online and find out what their hours are, or if they carry this or that.
- Make lists.
My mind is not as good as it used to be. I would rather put the things running around in my mind down on paper or in my computer, so I don't have all this clutter in my head.
For instance, I keep lists for my blog, like my ideas for future posts and things I need to work on, in a post draft.
I also use a daily planner every day even though I'm a stay at home homeschooling mom.
I keep a dry erase board on the refrigerator to keep a running list for items we need from different stores.
- Record any television programs you like to watch so you can fast forward through the commercials (which aggravate me anyway...I hate watching something with my children, and then up comes an ad for underwear or intimate products, errgggg!!!!! don't get me started...). I usually multitask and watch something I've recorded when I'm ironing.
These are just a few of my thoughts on how I personally try to save some time, I would love to hear about how you manage your time!