Are you constantly feeling like you don’t have enough hours in the day? Do you find yourself scrambling to get dressed and out the door on time for work or school? Find yourself turning to food delivery services more often than not? Hectic schedules and juggling multiple roles can understandably make anyone’s life feel topsy-turvy. If any of these scenarios sound vaguely familiar, we’ve got you covered.
1. Add gratitude journaling into the mix.
While it may seem counterintuitive to add something that takes time into a list of tips to save time, I’ve actually found that starting or ending my day with gratitude journaling helps reduce time spent on anxiety, stress, or worrying! By intentionally reflecting either at the end or the start of a jam-packed day on what I have to be grateful for, I find myself not only approaching tasks from a more positive place, but truly making more time for joy!
I’ve added my Gratitude Journal into my daily routine, and it has helped me gain perspective on what matters most. I started out skeptical, but I’ve found the benefits to be incredibly rewarding. I encourage anyone interested to incorporate gratitude journaling into their routine to see how it reinvigorates your routine and intentionally sets you up for success.
2. Meal prep with a solid game plan.
While meal planning is certainly nothing earth-shattering or groundbreaking, I’ve found a system that truly works for me and my family. I go to the grocery store on Sunday mornings with my husband (a crucial step as he’s the real chef of the family), with a game plan. This is no time for leisurely strolls through the aisles, picking what looks good or is in season. With a hectic schedule and four teenagers at home, I need to go to the store with a solid plan.
I outline what I know I need for lunches for myself for the week, for the kids for the week, and what we’re having for dinners. Because I try to pack lunch for myself at the office most days, I try to find options that I won’t get bored of too quickly and that will stay fresh! Usually, I let my husband prepare something healthy and filling for me that I can pack for several days in a row, like roasted chicken and veggies with brown rice, and then switch to something that keeps longer for later in the week like veggies and hummus. By zeroing in on my plan early on in the week, I’m less likely to throw in the towel and order Grubhub or Postmates.
My kids are old enough to pack their own lunches, so I really only have to worry about packing mine, which I like to do the night before work so I can grab and go in the morning! If the idea of bringing lunch every day of the week sounds daunting, start by picking one day a week that you allow yourself to purchase lunch out! Not only does bringing your own lunch save time, but it also is an incredible money-saving tool! (Pro tip: Put on a podcast or blast your fave playlist while you’re prepping. It can turn even the most mundane activity into a kitchen dance party, my personal fave.)
3. Set intentions & goals for the week ahead.
While I’m a huge advocate of “work hard, play hard!” and I love unplugging and recharging on the weekends with friends and family, I do think it can make the transition back into the work week a harsh reality come Monday morning if you don’t do any check-ins. I like to take 10-20 minutes before bed on Sunday nights to go through my schedule for the week ahead (both in my LifePlanner™ and on my Outlook calendar) and get an idea of what I’m facing.
These 20 minutes are incredibly important for me as I truly make a playbook for the week. It gives me an idea of what I may need to prioritize and allows me to set goals and intentions. Investing this time upfront really does save time. While I used to spend the first seven to 10 minutes of my workday getting organized and going through my calendar (that’s roughly 45-50 minutes a week I get back!), I now go in with a clear head and a knowledge of what I need to accomplish. It recharges me and is a productive way to go to bed heading into a strong week with intentional goals.
BONUS: Plan your outfits the night (or week!) before.
This tip may sound a bit superficial or silly, but it is a lifesaver (trust me)! I personally like to do a day or two at a time, but one of my team members (who I got the idea from) does the whole week at once and swears by it!
The basic principle is that if you lay out your outfit the night before, you won’t have to wrestle with what to wear in the morning. There’s nothing worse than trying on something, hating it, throwing it on the ground and repeating the process until you’re frantic and 20 minutes late. Then you get to come home after work and clean up your closet-raided mess. No thanks!
By going through your closet patiently (and without a time limit) the night before, you can thoughtfully select something that makes you feel your best. This also gives me time to think about accessories, shoes and all the extras that my mornings may not allow for. My daughter likes to say “Dress best, test best!” And it’s totally true. Dressing for success is empowering and sets the tone for a positive and productive day. By doing this, I’d estimate I save 15-20 minutes each weekday morning, which gives me back roughly an hour and 40 minutes of free time each week, and I’ll take all the time I can get with my soon-to-be college-bound seniors!
Try to integrate these tips into your week and I guarantee you’ll discover more time than you knew you had!