I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: time is the one non renewable resource we all share and are subject to. How many times do we say to ourselves “if only I had more time, I would do X” or “there is not enough time in the day.” The reality is we can’t add another couple of hours on to our day but we can make the most of what we have and do as much as we can comfortably. That last word is most important because what I am advocating here is making your life easier, not more complicated, and not more full of activities.
I used to work in the lovely world of software sales and the product I sold and implemented, in its basic simplicity, helped people manage their reporting paperwork more effectively. Essentially, it was putting a SYSTEM in place where there was none. I have carried this out in my work today as an organizer by helping clients create systems in their home to organize not only their paperwork but also their kitchens, closets, offices, pantries, etc. The most effective thing you can do to help yourself in your home is to system-ize things that are more mundane so you don’t have to use your precious time and mental energy to figure out the answer to the same question every day. I’m not suggesting that we all become automatons but instead focus your energy on the things you enjoy and leave other things to work themselves out. Here are some examples:
- Come up with some type of uniform for how you dress. Now this may seem crazy coming from the person whose sole highlight in school was coming up with a different outfit every day but I don’t have that kind of time anymore. Now, I am meticulous about the clothes I have in my closet in that everything has to serve a purpose, look good on me, and be ready to go more or less when I want to wear it. I have a pair of black pants, a white blouse, and a black cardigan that is my standard Fall/ Winter uniform. I can put black chunky heels with it or flats, loafers, or tennis shoes depending on the occasion. I throw on a strand of beads or pearls and I am ready to go. I don’t wear this every day but I know that when I do, it’s a good outfit and I don’t have to think about it. This is a SYSTEM that works for me and something similar can work for you. Mornings can be frenetic anyway so why not simplify your schedule by creating some basic uniforms that look good and make you feel confident in your appearance?
- Add a system for your eating habits! This makes for fewer decisions to have to make every day and lessens the opportunities to made bad eating choices because of a stressed out environment. When I went into an office all the time, I would take the same thing for breakfast everyday: homemade granola, kefir, and blueberries. I still eat this most days even though I work out of my house. This means I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to eat every morning and I have it ingrained in my brain that I must have these things on hand at all times. I don’t want to eat the same thing for all meals by any means but sometimes I struggle with what to make my family for dinner. I’ll think of something and then wonder if I have the ingredients or did I make that 2 days ago or did anyone like it? I haven’t implemented a menu plan yet but I am going to start writing on our calendar in the kitchen what I made for dinner so I can refer back to see when was the last time I made lemon chicken pasta or lentil soup. One of my favorite blogs, LifeinGrace, had a great suggestion for creating a SYSTEM to manage menu planning and mapping it to Google calendar or your iCal. Edie Wadsworth wrote a 3 part series on why create a menu planning system, how to link it to your calendar, and she provided sources for recipes. She’s amazing, too: she writes this awesome blog, home schools her daughters, takes pristine care of her family, reads like there is no tomorrow and is an inspiration for those of us trying to figure it all out.
- The last suggestions is actually quite easy and will make your life infinitely less stressful and thus give you more time in your day which is what we all want. Are you ready? It’s huge: PUT YOUR KEYS IN THE SAME SPOT WHEN YOU COME IN THE HOUSE. Maybe it’s just me but I used to waste tons of time looking for my car keys every morning and it would always put me in a foul mood. Sometimes they were in the kitchen, sometimes they were in my purse, sometimes they were on the couch, etc. Now they are kept by my purse on the counter in the kitchen and I never wonder where they are. Time saved = more time to do what I want to do.
So I hope you enjoyed these suggestions for streamlining some mundane activities in your life. Do you have suggestions for other systems that can be created to save time?