I never have enough time. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week. I’m juggling quite a bit these days, and I’m always looking for ways to save a few minutes. But, as much as I hate to admit it, I still find time to procrastinate. Weird, huh?
How do I procrastinate? Let me tell ya!
I find things for myself to do around the house, mainly cleaning. Do I have a blog post that needs to be written? Not before I fold laundry, sweep the porch, and polish the silver. Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I really do clean a lot when I’m putting something off. You can ask Ryan. (Strangely enough, I never feel as if our house is as clean as I want it).
For the last few months, I’ve been diligently working to finish the novel I’ve been writing for the past year. I’m determined to finish this book and send it off to my beta-readers by July 15th. I’m excited for this because it means I’ll finally get some feedback, but also because it means I can take a break and do some things I’ve been putting off for a while (let’s talk about the 20+ books I have on loan from the library that I need to read). I’ve worked really hard to develop better time management skill, and I want to share a few tips with you.
1.Meal Plan. This is, single-handedly, the biggest time saver of all for us. I hate going to the grocery store every couple of days (because I usually end up going when I get off work). Now, on Saturday or Sunday, I sit down and write out all the meals we’re going to have throughout the week. I usually pick something easy for Monday nights—spaghetti or tacos. And on nights when I cover meetings for the newspaper, Ryan will cook. Once I plan our meals, I make a grocery list and go shopping. I buy everything we will need for the week, including meat. (I’ve started washing and trimming the chicken as soon as we get home and freezing the ground beef in patties. It really speeds things up on weeknights). Having all the groceries I need on hand is really one of the biggest time-savers I have discovered, and when I’m unable to shop on the weekends and have to wait till Monday, I feel so behind before the week has barely begun!
(Ryan loves to try one-pot meals, so I always let him pick. It’s fun to try something new.)
2.Set Timers. I told you I like to clean as a form of procrastination. There are occasions where I genuinely do need to vacuum, dust, and clean the bathrooms (usually weekly), but if I’m not careful, I’ll let those tasks consume a large portion of my free time in the evening. When I’m writing and trying to accomplish a lot, I set a timer and write as much as I can in that period of time (without editing and without allowing myself to use my phone or anything else as a distraction). In the writing world, we call these “sprints”. I decided to take this concept and apply it to my cleaning, so I’ll set a time for 30-40 minutes and get to work. Whatever doesn’t get accomplished in that length of time will be saved for another day. Depending on what tasks you’re looking to complete, you might need more or less time, but 40 minutes is usually enough for me to get our apartment pretty clean. This really has saved me from procrastinating so many times, and I use it every week.
(This photo was captured between at the 1/2 second mark!)
Make Lists. everything down on my lists—shower, check the mail, pick up clothes at the cleaners, etc. If I write it down on my list, not only am I more likely to see a reminder of it every time I glance at my list, but writing it also helps cement the task in my head. And the best part about to-do lists—the satisfaction of crossing off (or putting a check mark next to) what you’ve accomplished. Such a good feeling!
(I literally write everything down, including what I wanted to ask the vet about Goose’s surgery, notes for the coming week, and anything else that comes to mind.)
I hope that my tips help you in some way, even if only one or two of them sound like something you would do. The one that has saved me the most time is definitely meal planning, followed by one big grocery shopping trip. Not having to run back and forth to the grocery store for something frees me up so much! Plus, if you’re like me, you always pick up one or two “impulse” items every time you go shopping, so this can actually save you money.
What time-saving hacks do you use? What works best for you? Are there any of these three that you want to try and apply to your own life? Comment below and let me know!