As a mother of three, I am excellent at saving time and not just in the obvious ways (dirty hair, drinking coffee so quickly I burn my throat at least twice a week, repeat outfits). I have some tricks that I have decided to share with you. You’re welcome.
- Don’t fix things that still kind of work.
A phone call to the dishwasher repair guy could take up to five valuable minutes (twenty seconds to dial the phone, three minutes to apologize for the yelling children in the background, one minute to make myself heard over the yelling children, and forty seconds to explain my issue and set up time for a service call). What’s a quick pre-wash every time I load the dishes and a quick post-wash every time I unload them compared to all of that wasted time on the phone?
- Hedge your bets when shopping.
Don’t let your kids to try clothes on at the store. Instead, buy multiple sizes of the same item and return the ones that don’t fit. I like to wait until after the return date and/or lose the receipt before I bring things back. Even though arguing with the manager might feel like it’s taking extra time, ultimately having a credit note (the only thing they will be willing to give you after an hour of arguing) will save you the hassle of having to choose where to shop the next time you need something.
- Don’t waste time making grocery lists.
Just buy whatever strikes your fancy. It helps to go food shopping when you are ravenous. If you get home and realize that you don’t necessarily have ingredients to make an actual meal out of the seven bags full of random impulse purchases, just plug it all into Google. It only took me one hour and fifteen minutes to find a delicious recipe that used the Cheetos, kale, white chocolate chips and cheese curds that I bought on my last trip. Forgot something? Go back tomorrow (and the next day)! Everyone knows that multiple short trips to the grocery store will save you infinite amounts of time and money!
- Don’t check the mail unless you absolutely need to.
Just bring it in and stash it somewhere. (Don’t waste time worrying about where.) Sure, every couple of months you might need to devote eight or nine hours to finding a tax-related document that you or a (very frustrated) loved one might need. Sure, you might need to make a few calls to get it replaced when it doesn’t turn up, but it’s better than wasting up to three minutes daily on pointless mail sorting.
- Don’t dirty home appliances when you can do it by hand.
How many hours have you spent assembling, disassembling, washing and reassembling your food processor? I would rather grate ten cups of potatoes, six cups of cheese and eight cups of onion by hand than be forced to put that food processor back together when it comes out of the dishwasher.
- Don’t check voicemail until your box is full.
By the time you get around to listening to messages, forty percent of callers won’t need a call back and twenty percent won’t want a call back under any circumstances. Fewer friends means fewer social engagements and fewer meaningful interactions, which means more time saved!
- Pay your bills on the last day possible.
The surge of adrenaline when your computer freezes minutes before your Visa bill is due is better than a strong cup of coffee. Enjoy that sudden burst of energy and use it wisely.
- Don’t bother making appointments for personal maintenance.
Aesthetics, optometry, hairdressing and dentistry are all trades that can be learned online at home. Sure, these courses might be time-consuming and expensive at the outset, but think of all of the time you will save in the long-run (unless you have to go for emergency dental surgery because of a botched home job, but how many times can that really happen?).
- Read and adopt self-help lists that you find on the Internet curated by completely unqualified people.
Nothing will go wrong. I promise.