We’ve all heard the phrase “time is money.” And you’ve likely muttered the words “there just aren’t enough hours in the day” at least once in your life. But like your finances, it’s a lot harder to manage your time if you don’t have a specific plan and time-saving tactics in place. Check out the following 6 tips for saving time on everyday chores and errands so you can have more time to do the things that truly bring you joy.
Take advantage of the shopping evolution.
While the idea of grabbing an iced coffee and casually strolling the aisles of a supermarket might sound like a relaxing Saturday morning, the reality of grocery shopping is usually less appealing. From crowded parking lots to cart-jammed aisles and never-ending checkout lines, stocking up on food for the week is not only stressful, it’s often also a drain on your time.
With helpful online apps and services at your fingertips, grocery shopping doesn’t have to be a time-consuming chore. Try time-saving services, like the grocery delivery app Instacart, which allows you to select a local grocery store, create and submit a grocery list and pay your bill. Someone else does the grocery shopping for you and delivers the groceries to your door. All you have to do is put the groceries away! The app saves your previous purchases, making it easy to compile a new grocery list in the future. This also helps limit those impulse buys of items that catch your eye when walking through the store.
You can also use pick-up options that many stores now offer, which allow you to drive to the store and have your pre-shopped bags loaded into your vehicle for you—helping you avoid the busy aisles and long lines altogether.
Another grocery shopping time-saver is a master grocery list. This can be a piece of paper stuck to the fridge or a shared list on a grocery list app that allows family members to add items throughout the week. If someone uses the last of the milk, it’s their duty to add it to the master list. This cuts down on the amount of time needed to make your list before you head to the store or submit your online order.
Manage your finances from your home.
Everybody loves getting a check in the mail, or a birthday card from grandma (thanks grandma!). Not everybody loves having to drive that check to their financial institution to cash or deposit it to use the money. Luckily, most financial institutions have an app that allows you to deposit checks and fully manage all your banking. Most financial tasks—from paying bills and sending money to family and friends to applying for loans and transferring money to and from accounts—can be completed from the comfort of your couch. Avoid the drive to your financial institution, waiting in line or driving to your friend’s house to hand them cash.
Remove the “What’s for dinner tonight?” stress with weekly meal prep.
Sometimes deciding what to eat for dinner is exciting. The world is your oyster and the options are endless. And other times the idea of deciding what to make for dinner seems like the most impossible, daunting task of your entire week. And that task has to be decided on and completed EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
But what if you set time aside once each week to decide on and prep your meals for the entire week? Thinking ahead helps you map out meals for the week and plan your grocery list to get everything you need, avoiding multiple trips to the store (or multiple grocery delivery app orders!).
Once you have your supplies, take a little extra time to organize and do some of the easy meal prep in advance, including cutting veggies, grilling chicken for salads, making quinoa in bulk, etc. This will significantly cut down on your cook time throughout the week. Want to save additional time on cleaning up? Consider sheet pan recipes that allow you to cook your entire meal on one baking sheet, reducing the number of pots, pans and utensils used In preparing the meal.
Tidying up the house doesn’t have to take all day.
When you finally find a chunk of time in your day to tidy up the house, half the battle is finding places for everything to go. That’s why it’s important to have a designated location for everything in your home. Yes, everything. Then, when it’s time to clean up, you just have to put everything back where it belongs. There’s no guesswork, rearranging or cramming items into closets and drawers. Using bins, baskets and labels can help make sure everybody in the house is aware of these designated locations, making it easier for everyone to lend a hand.
Not only does this help cut down on the amount of time it takes to clean, but it can also save you time looking through the house for various items when you need them. If shoes always go in the bin in the back closet, toys always go in the chest in the family room and electronics always go in the desk drawer, you’ll save yourself a lot of time on those “have you seen my ______?” moments.
Take control with a family command center.
“Do you know where my birth certificate is?”
“Is my soccer practice Tuesday night or Wednesday night?”
“How much did we owe on the last water bill?”
If only there was an easy way to organize all these moving parts. There is! This tip takes Tip No. 4 a bit further, focusing on making sure all important household information is organized in one easy-to-navigate location. Sometimes called a “family information center,” this could be a desk in the office with organized, labeled drawers, making the water bill, important personal documents and family calendars easy to find. This could also be a simple corkboard in the kitchen with organizing baskets or even an online command center where digital documents can be organized and shared with everyone in your family for easy access. It’s important to keep these family information centers organized and updated frequently, otherwise, it defeats the purpose!
Put down the phone.
We’ve all been there: you have the best intentions to get your household chores done. You’ve blocked off your schedule, gathered your cleaning supplies and you’ve even found the perfect cleaning playlist. You’re ready to be productive, then…*DING*. A new notification appears on your phone—a text or a social media notification. You pick up your phone and before you know it you’ve spent 23 minutes scrolling through Instagram. Not only did you likely not accomplish anything significant in those 23 minutes, but you’re also exactly zero minutes closer to finishing your chores.
If you don’t have the self-control to put your phone away for longer periods of time, consider setting up app limits or downtime on your phone. These allow you to set periods of time where your phone will lock you out of your most-used apps or limit your usage each day to encourage you to step away from your phone for a bit. Just imagine how much more efficient your daily or weekly chores would go if you weren’t stopping every eight minutes to send a text or check what’s trending on Twitter.
Organizing and optimizing your everyday tasks can help streamline them, giving you more time throughout your busy week to do things you actually enjoy. Looking for more tips and information for creating your best home life? Check out our other blog posts.