Time is invaluable and unfortunately, it becomes easy to forget how fleeting it can be as we pile more and more onto our plates. It is important to always be conscious of the fact that we are mortal and our time will eventually come to an end. When we look at life that way, while yes, somewhat morbid, it is a wondrously simple wake up call.
This series began with ideas on how to save time as we beautify ourselves for each day and continued last week with tips on how to find extra time during your work day. Today, I’d like to finish the series with ideas that can be incorporated into any aspect of your life and will hopefully create a life that is organized, thus simplified, revealing more extra time to enjoy than you realized was possible.
Plan a Weekly Menu
The planner in me loves this one. Typically my Sunday shopping list is the same from week to week, aside from a special dinner or two that may occur. I make sure to include my regular breakfast items (I eat the same thing each work morning), pantry items that I’m out of that I will need to make the meals I’d like to make and any fresh vegetables or fruit that are seasonal (when possible). By knowing that I will be fueled and ready to go, I am taking one more thing off of my list to keep track of.
Create systems for regular routines and tasks that need to be completed and completed well, but can be tightened up a bit. For example, laundry – designate a day that will be laundry day, be clear about how clothes will be organized, which ones will not be dried in the dryer and which ones will need to be ironed. This will save time, questioning and lack of clothes in the closet when the new week begins.
Ask for Help
Asking for help has never been something I’ve been comfortable with, but when we know someone else can do a far better job that we can or has time (unlike ourselves) and has offered to help, by all means ask for help.
The house doesn’t have to look perfect each day, the dog doesn’t have to be beautifully groomed each day and you can put your hair up in a top knot instead of washing your hair for a day. Let go. Let go of trying to be perfect just a bit to allow yourself to catch your breath. And be sure to take Anna Quindlen’s advice (click here to read her thoughts on perfectionism), who confidently states that by letting go, we gain so much more.
There are certain abilities and talents that either we don’t want to learn or are unable to acquire. But there are some skills that by teaching ourselves to do can save us time. Such as learning how to troubleshoot a computer, paint with precision, give yourself a manicure and pedicure and properly care for your clothes, just to name a few. Instead of waiting for someone to take care of these tasks or working around their schedule, as well as pay them a pretty penny from your paycheck, you are taking back some control and potentially saving time and your sanity.
Make a List
Just as you would make a grocery list, have a planner and keep a to-do list for each day. At the beginning of the day, consult it to determine what you and when you will be accomplishing each task. By putting what you want to do on a list, you free your mind to keep track of other tasks – such as emotions that can’t be described or encourage new creative ideas to form.
Have a Place for Everything
The keys, the coats, your shoes, unwashed dishes (the dishwasher, not the table). Eliminate the time wasted looking for your cell phone and get into the habit of leaving it either in your purse or in a particular place in the house. This will quell unnecessary frustrations and leave your mind much more sound.
The over-arching message is that life is what we make it. We can choose to become so bombarded by tasks, clutter and responsibilities that free time, time to immerse ourselves in what we enjoy, only occurs in dreams, or we can simplify, organize and be clear about exactly what is important. It is all up to us. Choose the path that will bring you the most fulfillment and you will never regret letting go of those events, people and tasks that were placed at the bottom of your priority list.