You know what they say -- time is money. So, finding extra time in your day is kind of like finding extra dollars in your pocket. Save time on life's mundane tasks with these 12 clever ways to add more time to your day to do the things that matter.
1. Do it now. Replying to a quick email or filing a piece of paper -- if a task can be done in a couple of minutes or less, make it a rule to always do it now. Putting it off and making a mental note to come back to it later not only takes extra time, but it adds more stress to your life because your mental to-do list just keeps growing.
2. Set a timer. Go up against the clock. If you don't want to waste too much time on a task like cleaning the kitchen or grocery shopping, set a timer. It will keep you mindful of your time and make sure you complete it efficiently. Plus, most of us have timers on our phones, so it's easy to monitor on the go.
3. Keep something to do in your purse (or briefcase or car). When you have a million things to do, wait time can be painful, whether it's at the doctor's office or sitting on hold with customer service. Make use of that time by always keeping something to do in your purse. Maybe it's an article you've been meaning to read or a permission slip you need to fill out.
4. Start carpooling. If you could cut the number of times you have to drop off at school and pick up from soccer practice in half, just imagine the many extra minutes you would gain per day!
5. Group errands together. Instead of running an errand here and an errand there, designate a set time each week and make a schedule. Number errands according to how close your stops are to each other and give each errand a specific time slot (see #2). Don't get off schedule.
6. Double recipes. Not only will buying in bulk often save you money, but cooking in bulk will save you time. For example, when you marinate chicken, double it and freeze half in a freezer bag. Just make sure you let the marinade absorb for a couple of hours or overnight before freezing. That's one less shopping trip, one less meal planning session and one night less of cooking.
7. Pre-sort laundry. Rolling laundry carts with three different sections will simplify your laundry routine. At the end of every day, toss dirty clothes into the appropriate lights, darks or colors bin and when you go to do laundry, the first step is already done for you.
8. Use that DVR. If you have a DVR, never watch a show live. Watch half-hour shows eight minutes after they start and hour shows about 15 minutes in. That way you can breeze through all the commercials and use that extra 15 minutes to get something done.
9. Use technology to save time. Apps like Grocery iQ allow you to synchronize shopping lists with other members of the family. Create lists by store. Now, whenever a family member shops at the drugstore or a warehouse store, they can refer to the list and get what everyone needs.
10. Turn it off. While technology can save time, it can also waste it. Log out of social media accounts for a couple of hours at work or leave your cell phone upstairs when you're cooking dinner. At least once a day, make a point to unplug yourself and focus on the task at hand.
11. Create a junk drawer email account. Set up a separate email account for newsletter and other non-time sensitive emails. This way you won't get overwhelmed when you check your inbox or distracted by non-work emails. When you're ready to read your newsletters or check out the latest sales, they'll all be there waiting for you.
12. Visualize your day. Every morning, I set aside five minutes to imagine my day going smoothly and that I will accomplish what I need to do in a stress-free manner. It is amazing how much smoother my day goes!