‘So much to do in so little time,’ calendars overflowing with appointments, commitments, deadlines, and that never ending feeling of being pulled in too many directions. Have I just described what you go through every day, of every week, of the whole year? Well, you are not alone. It is a known fact, as a nation, we are over scheduled, and over committed, more times than not. We are constantly distracted. I like to refer to these distractions as ‘time robbers’.
February is ‘Time Management Month.’ Consider using what little time you have, wisely to be ‘present’ and in the moment. Although I struggle with OCD tendencies, as a professional organizer, I have an advantage in utilizing my time efficiently. Below, I’ll share some self-learned, helpful ways of saving time.
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” -Benjamin Franklin
A wise man, indeed! Let’s start with cleaning up the kitchen after cooking a meal. One of my pet peeves is dirty dishes left in the sink. Does it happen on occasion? Of course it does! But, as a rule, I do not want to start my day loading the dishwasher with last night’s dirty dishes. Spend the extra 5 to 10 minutes cleaning up after cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This alleviates the piling up of dirty dishes from three meals. Now, you have much less clutter. Less clutter gives you more time.
My mother gave me a great deal of good advice after I was married. One thing she taught me was to do one load of laundry per day. This seemed rather easy in the early stages of my marriage. The laundry only came from me and my husband. Being in this habit, early on, paved the way for me adjusting to the amount of wash I must do as a family of five. Now, I may not get a load completed from start to finish daily. However, I’m still in the habit of transferring a finished load to the dryer and throwing another load in the washer. Then, I fold, and put, the freshly dried clothes away on a daily basis. Since my children are older, they help out. My best friend calls me the queen of delegating. Well, royalty never impressed me. But, a life skill, such as this, pay dividends of time.
Although I do not necessarily prepare my meals days in advance, I do have a ‘rough’ idea of what I am going to cook for dinner each week. One time saver for me is utilizing my crock pot. I am a huge proponent of the slow cooker. Nothing beats coming home from work to the aroma of dinner prepared and ready to go. With a little planning the night before or early in the morning, this time saver is my all time favorite!
My boys bring their lunch to school every day. I normally pack it in the morning. I’ve found gathering their snacks the night before saves me some time. Anything that can be done the night before to save me a few minutes in the morning is golden. Backpacks are laid out, gym bags are packed, water bottles are rinsed out and ready to go, school papers are addressed, and any notes are written. The more I’m able to check off my list at night, the more peaceful I’ll sleep.
We have a ‘house rule’ that there are no electronics at the dinner table. This goes for iPhones, iPads, hand-held video games, or even having the television on, for that matter. When the five of us get to share quality time together, which usually happens at dinner, this time is sacred. It’s a perfect opportunity to ‘catch up’ as a family, hear about each others day, and be there for one another. Years ago, I heard a dear friend questioning her daughter. “Who is here with us?” At first, I didn’t fully understand the question. Three of us were visiting, and she saw her daughter was distracted while texting on her cell phone. By asking that question, she was kindly saying “who is interrupting our time together.” I am not naive to think that 100% of the time this is going to work. However, if a conscious effort is made, quality time together would be more valuable, be of greater help and concern, therein more remembered and cherished.
These points have made a huge impact in my daily life. Maybe your struggle is totally different. Is getting out of the house on-time your nemesis? Why not shower or bath the night before? This alone could save you 30 minutes in the morning. If you like to prepare a hot breakfast for your family, the crock-pot can have hot oatmeal ready and waiting. There is always a solution to those pesky ‘time robbers,’ it is just a matter of recognizing the issue and coming up with a solution.Maybe this is where a Professional Organizer can help?