When asked that awkward question “So what do you do?” I respond, I write a blog. This answer generally kicks off another series of questions. Sometimes people ask me for my best 5 tips on the spot! I find that a hard question to answer as the tips that are best for me differ through out the stages and seasons of my life.
This also means just because they work for me and help me doesn’t mean they will be perfect for someone else. But for the people I have met recently and shared these hacks with, they have found them pretty useful and I hope you do too!
1. Make a big dinner so there is left overs for the kids’ and my lunches
Every weekend I will make our evening meals on the weekends, meals in double quantities that I know the kids will eat in their lunch boxes, for example chicken schnitzels, tacos, sausages, meatballs. It is so much easier and quicker to double a recipe than have to start from scratch, cook something else and clean up another mess.
2. Leave every room in better shape than I entered it
Big messes always seem worse and make me feel overwhelmed. As I move around the house through out the day, I make sure each room I enter, is in a better state as I leave. This doesn’t mean a thorough clean, but it does sometimes mean, a quick wipe down of the bathroom bench (my bathroom caddy makes this so simple!) or taking floating items back to their respective homes.
3. Handle paperwork only once
I leave all mail, school notices etc to the end of the day and action it then. As I shared in my post on Evernote, I am also reducing the amount of paper clutter I keep, which is a win all around – less paper to file or move from one spot to another!
4. Batch tasks
Very similar to above, it is about grouping tasks together and doing them in the one session. This is not about multitasking which I think is the biggest time management mistake anyone can make, but about allocating time to similar tasks to reduce running around and removing distractions. Some tasks I batch are:
- Errands – will aim to have a morning every week or two as needed, where I will run around and complete the out of house errands I need to do.
- Menu planning – doing this on a monthly basis saves me a huge amount of time.
- Email – I check my email only a couple of times a day and respond in short dedicated sessions. Checking email constantly can be such a time suck. This does mean that sometimes I do get a back log, but as I wrote a few years ago, I am learning to embrace the undone, so I can focus on a bigger goal.
5. Sleep more
I cannot stress just how much difference this has made to my life. A few years ago, I would average only about 6 hours a sleep a night. Now I average 7 hours of sleep weekdays and 8 hours plus on weekends. Over a week it means I now get about 7-8 more hours of sleep than I did when I was burning the midnight oil, thinking I was being productive because I was working more hours.
I am working less than half the hours I used to, with the main reason for it being that I am not working at nights anymore and I am getting more sleep. I realise now just how much time I wasted working when I was exhausted. Tasks would take me up to twice as long at night because I was tired and then the next day I would have fewer hours when I was really “on” with work because I was so tired, meaning tasks again took me longer.