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Although I’ve made improvements I’ve never been the kind of girl to sit around lazily for days at a time. Downtime is a newer word in my vocabulary. Being on the go is fun and exciting, but it can lead to increased stress levels. I’ve made it a point lately to breath a little more space into my life and the easiest way for me to ensure I stay relaxed is to stay on top of my priorities. Time is the one thing you just can’t get back and you can’t purchase. It’s an incredibly responsibility and I do not want to get to the end of my life and wish I had done more. For me to be able to relax I have to make sure I have my other ducks in a row and these are the time saving tips I’ve found to be tried and true.
Carry Healthy Snacks
At the beginning and middle of each week I make sure I have a few snacks on hand in my refrigerator and pantry that are easy to throw in my purse for on the go activities. You may have seen this instagram post talking about one of my favorite ready to go snacks, but I also prepackage other goodies including: hummus and carrots, smoothies in mason jars, and fruit. Not having to constantly look around for something to eat gives me more time to focus on downtime or productivity. Plus, we all are nicer when we eat.
Use Technology to Benefit You Not Hinder You
I’ve worked in the tech field for over a decade and I’ve learned if you don’t take control of it, it will take control of you. To ensure I’m not constantly looking at my phone to check the time or disrupt my thought patterns I set alarms and timers constantly. Now that I finally hooked up my Echo dot, it’s easier than ever to yell out across the house, “Alexa, set a time for 10 minutes to get ready to go.” I do the same when I’m working out, I’ll set a time for half the time I need to walk and then turn around to come home when it alarms. So simple, but it keeps me from worrying about the time, running behind and getting distracted.
Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time
I break things into 10-15 minute tasks instead of taking on a huge project all at once. For instance, if I need to clean an area of my home I’ll start by just clearing the clutter. Then, at a later point I might dust or vacuum. The goal is to do what I can in small pieces so it’s not overwhelming. It also is really helpful if you have kiddos or a team at work that constantly interrupts you. This was a technique I had to master when I was in the corporate world working with sales teams. My phone would constantly ring so to ensure I supported my teammates while finishing my own work I did things in small batches. Maybe it’s making a list of 50 people to call that day and taking it on 10 at a time.
Another tip I’ve implemented is Amber Fillerup’s two minute rule. If it takes less than two minutes, just go ahead and knock it out. This is the only way I can manage clutter. If I’m waiting on coffee to brew, I’ll wipe down the counters or clear off my coffee table. Maybe it’s picking up shoes by the door and putting them away. The idea is to not let little tasks take over your whole day.
Prepare for Problems
Things go wrong. We run late. A train blocks us from crossing a street. The kid throws up on us as we are walking out the door or the dog has an accident. All of these are time robbers. Time robbers can send me from a calm collected state to a raging bull in a matter of mere moments. To keep this under control try to build more space into your schedule and life by preparing for hiccups in your day. One way to prepare for problems is to set aside a few outfits for different occasions that I know are comfortable, stylish and fit properly. That way if I’m running late or my alarm doesn’t go off I know where to default. Another way I prepare for problems is to make sure I’m working two days ahead. I know what’s on my calendar 48 hours in advance to ensure I have a full business day to prepare before a deadline.
This takes on different forms in different areas of life, but think about the things that slow you down and find a way to make it simpler. Another way I’ve simplified is to have on hand a few hostess gifts or kids birthday gift cards for a last minute invitation. I also plan extra time to get somewhere. If I’m early, I pull out a book on my phone or use it as an opportunity to take a breather and meditate using the Headspace app.
Well, there you have it! A few time saving tips to keep your life running smoothly and giving your more time to enjoy what you are doing in the moment. As a takeaway, right now make a list of three things that regularly rob you of time on a piece of paper and next to each brainstorm a few ways you could make that hiccup simpler for your life. Try a few things out an see what works for you!