A lot of our days are spent “doing” things: tasks and chores. If we don’t watch it, we can get off task and start doing something totally else, completely unplanned, for a long period of time, then look up and an hour of time will have passed. “Unplanned” is the operative word here.
Imagine being able to reduce the time spent on repetitive or time-consuming things and having more time to do what you need to get done and what you want to do! We all have obligations, but we also all have things we just like to do. Not having enough time to put the have-to’s in balance with the want-to’s just isn’t fun! And when we aren’t giving ourselves some personal time, that’s a tragedy, because every single moment goes to doing for others before ourselves.
But, how can you put more of the fun and pleasurable things into your day when there’s barely any time? Streamline! That’s how.
A lot of people find prep (preparation) or even the thought of it, to be too much to go through. I cannot understand why because if I have a routine set in place that will free up my time later on, I’m all for it! And once you’ve done it (prep) a few times, you come to appreciate its value.
Here are a few ways you can do the work now, setting yourself up to have that the freed time to enjoy later! These are easy things you can get into the habit of doing. If you pay attention or keep note of them, you will find some of the stress of the day can be relieved because every minute is not filled “doing”.
#1 Prepare meals (or portions of meals) to be eaten or cooked later.
This is called meal prep. I go into detail on how to make this a routine in my eDoc, titled “Meal Prep” (you can get that here), but the basic idea is that you do all of your chopping, separating, portioning and even cooking beforehand. Then, when you are ready to eat, your meals are ready or at least in a state of almost ready. Imagine coming near the end of a long, tiring day and you don’t have to worry about or figure out what you will eat because you did that several days ago. All you have to do is grab your food, get it hot, and eat it!
This can be as simple as having breakfast ready so mornings are much less hectic. Consider making up some overnight oats. In the morning you can warm the oats at home or take it to eat at work or any other place you decide! Time saved!
#2 Clean as you use.
As you cook, wash. There should always be a sink of hot sudsy water while you cook so as you finish using things (utensils, platters, cutting boards, pots, and pans), you can wash them up quickly. This also helps with keeping your countertops and the stove wiped and clean as well.
Who wants to stand in the kitchen after having cooked to deal with a PILE of dirty things? No one, that’s who!
#3 Handle your mail as you get it.
Please, do NOT take the mail from the mailbox and stack it anyplace without going through said stack! It literally takes seconds! As you get mail, separate the junk mail from the important stuff. Junk mail goes in the trash. (Be sure you aren’t throwing away things with any identifiable information, like an account number! Those pieces of mail should be shredded. See below.)
Any mail you want to read right away, like bills or personal letters, should be read and then put in an action folder or stack. This means you are going to come back to deal with this mail, i.e. pay the bill, later.
Things you will need to file for future reference, like bank statements, need to go in a secure place like a file or desk drawer. Maybe you could use something like this accordion file that has tabs you can label to keep organized.
#4 Shower? Bath? Wash yourself. Wash your bathroom.
Bathroom cleaning, for me, is one of the least loved chores of all. I hate taking time out to do all that disinfecting and washing and scouring on cleaning day. I DO IT. But, I find it takes a whole lot less time if I clean as I go!
By that, I mean I will wash out the bath tub as soon as I get out, before any dirt and grime gets a chance to dry up. I keep cleaning wipes in the bathroom to wipe out the sink every morning. Yes, EVERY morning. When I’m done with the sink, I swipe with the wipe! It leaves the faucet shiny and removes any grimy leftovers from hand washing or teeth brushing. Don’t let that build up.
There are also cleaners you can get that will automatically spray down your glass and tile in the shower. If you prefer to not use a lot of chemicals, a good DIY cleaner will do the same thing. Step out of the shower, spray down the walls and surfaces. Let it sit for one minute while you dry off, then rinse the cleaner. So easy.
#5 Keep a 3 item to-do list.
Yes, keep only 3 items on this list. It forces you to prioritize only 3 things you absolutely must do each day. Face it, a long list will have you frazzled and stressed. Stress is not a good thing to be under.
Hit those three items and only those three for sure. Then make up in your mind that anything else not on this deal breaker list will get done when they get done. It really helps.
These 5 timesavers are just a few of so many things you can do ahead of time that will save you a lot of time later! Please share in the comments any timesavers you have! I’d love to read what you use!
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