Time. It’s elusive. It can be a dictator. It’s the one thing we can’t get back. It disappears. I know all these things, and yet I realize we are all blessed with the same 24 hours each day. I simply cannot blame my chaos on not having enough time.
If we’re going to Get it Together, we must take control of our time! And so I give you…
Top 10 Time Savers that Amy knows all about and yet continues to wrestle with.
1. Go to bed early.
Burning the midnight oil is not the best way for me to gain time in my day. Yes, it is nice to stay up late at the only time of day that my house is blissfully quiet. Yes, I can be productive in the wee hours. But, morning always comes. If I’m awake late at night, I struggle to gear up which wrecks my time management throughout the day. It’s an ugly domino spiral, easily avoided with an extra hour or two of quality sleep.
2. Get up before the family.
If I go to bed when I should, then it’s easier to get up and around before my children. And that, my friends, truly does save me time. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when I’m racing the “when will they be up” clock. Laundry started, breakfast made, email read, bread mixed. Face washed. There’s something energizing and time-saving about those first few busy moments of the day.
3. Budget your minutes.
Amy Lynn Andrew’s Tell Your Time is right on! Budgeting our time like we do our money frees us from getting stuck in the vortex of whatever project we started that is taking three times longer than what we thought it would. You can find time in your day if you allow yourself only x amount of minutes for certain tasks. When I know that I’ve only got 10 minutes to clean the bathroom, you can bet I work a lot faster, too! Budgeting your time places a sense of urgency on getting things done that naturally adds minutes or even hours to your day.
Staring at the refrigerator or pantry for several minutes at 5:30 with children hanging on your skirt is not the best use of time. Creating a simple meal plan each week frees up those minutes, and if you can get all your shopping done in one trip, even more time is spared by skipping the daily walk through the store.
Putting off the tasks we most dread does not save time. In fact, by avoiding them and procrastinating our way into other easier chores or mindless fillers, we tend to while away the minutes and wonder why the larger projects never get done. (This is so me!) Get the big things done first, and the little things tend to take care of themselves in the spare minutes of the day.
6. Set a timer.
Speaking of spare minutes, you think 15 minutes isn’t enough to clean the house? Set a timer for the family and have a little race against the clock. Turn it into a friendly competition and you’ll be amazed at how much clean up can be done in a mere quarter of an hour! Make it a daily event, and the house will shine in no time at all.
7. Establish routines.
I have got to get better about this with my children! The morning routine, after-school routine and evening routine, when executed consistently, save oodles of time. Set school clothes out at night, place back packs by the door. Remove papers from back packs right after school. Tidy rooms in the morning before leaving the house. You’d think I’d be all over this one just so we didn’t have to search for shoes 5 minutes before school starts!
8. Turn off the computer.
Or something like that. Ugh. What is with our need to be connected 24/7?! If I really want to get something done around the house, I have much greater success and save a ton of time if I shut down the temptation to check email and skype and facebook and twitter… and just do my job already!
9. Clear the clutter.
Oh my word, the time I waste digging through junk to find something that “I know was on that table yesterday.” It’s pitiful, really. Take 5 minutes (set the timer!) 2 or 3 times a day to clear your surfaces and keep clutter at bay. Your blood pressure will thank you for it.
10. Find your groove.
Some people prefer to schedule “laundry day” once a week. I, on the other hand, prefer to do two loads of laundry, start to finish, each day. Some people have great success prepping all of their meals on the weekends for fast weekday suppers. I like my weekends free for family activities and would rather spend time each day in the kitchen. Don’t fight your groove. Figure out what works for you and go for it! If you’re happy with your system, you’re more likely to save time in the process.
What’s your biggest time-sucking struggle? What time-saving tips help you gain minutes (or hours!) in your day? Do share, and help us all Get it Together!
Linking with the Top 10 fun at Oh Amanda.