It seems like everyone I know is looking for ways to save time right now. Between regular tasks, upcoming spring schedules, the chore of getting everything together to complete our taxes (I know, bad word, I’m sorry), opening the garden or freshening the landscape, and just general spring cleaning because we’re finally able to leave the house without having to brave the cold every day — there’s a lot to do at the moment. I quipped this morning I might farm out some of my tasks to the dog. And while she’d likely try to do her best, I think I’ll leave that as a joke between us.
While we can’t actually create time, we can save it and use the extra minutes each day in efficient ways to seem to do more things without giving up sleep or fun.
- Find 3 to 5 minutes every time you’re in the kitchen. We likely spend more time in the kitchen than any room in the house–and the most time waiting. While waiting 3 minutes for the microwave:
- clean out the refrigerator and update the shopping list.
- plan a dinner menu and check for ingredients to add to the shopping list.
- go through recyclables and take out anything that landed in the wrong bins.
- When on the go, don’t stare out the window and wonder when traffic is going to move or the doctor will finally call you for your appointment. Instead “discover” an extra 10 or 15 minutes by:
- keeping pens and a notepad handy to jot down reminders.
- making a grocery or to-do list.
- dashing off a couple of quick thank-you notes (yes, we all use email a lot for this, but some things still need a personal touch).
- Let natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda cut cleaning time in half:
- fill a water bottle with white vinegar and leave for everyone to spray on the shower door and walls after each shower to help reduce the buildup of soap scum and hard water deposits, and make bathroom cleaning a breeze.
- leave baking soda sprinkled in a damp bathtub to sit for a short time, and dirt and scum wipes right off later with a rag–no hard scrubbing and minutes gained.
- instead of dealing with lint still on clothes after drying (and having to look for the lint roller or masking tape), add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to reduce lint buildup on clothes.
- Spend 15 minutes once a year to make self-stick notes to label cards/envelopes with names and birth dates, then file them by-month in an accordion folder so no birthday is ever forgotten. Another trick that a friend uses is to create a “personal” event page for herself on Facebook for birthdays and anniversaries she never wants to forget. Then Facebook alerts her each time she “has an event this week.”
- I love using colors to organize, so every project, every family member, every year has it’s own color, because:
- using specific colors for each family member means I can see with a glance at the calendar who has some event or appointment each week–without having to get close enough even to see the name–just by seeing what ink colors are used to mark in the days’ boxes.
- using colored baskets in the mudroom for each family member means it’s easy to sort out all the personal things for each person that get distributed far and wide in the house, and then family members can take the basket full of items and put everything where they need to go.
- when I use specific colors to label projects and years, it is much easier to find things later, as I can immediately disregard files, boxes, notes or notebooks that aren’t the right color.
These are just a few tips for creating time by using it in new ways. Right now, I’m working on a two new Organized Mysteries projects–a new novel and a new short story. And, yes, each has its own project color.
Do you have a tip you want to share that keeps your life balanced and a little better on-track? Feel free to add it as a comment.