Your energy and time are precious commodities. That’s why I have two rules to help me avoid joyless tasks and have energy for the activities and people I love. Think nature walks, shopping, listening to music, and spending quality time with my daughters.
Just like most people I find myself getting trapped by so many tasks that on the surface might be appear necessary but end up sucking away the little time that I have. I have to remind myself to carve time for creativity and long term strategic planning vs. reacting to everyone else’s emergencies. Now that doesn’t mean I’m not running out to pick up my kids if the school nurse calls but I’m picky when it comes to volunteering my time.
So how do you handle having so many to-dos on your list and not enough ME time? I have two rules that I follow.
Rule number one is DELEGATE. If a task isn’t strategic and helping you achieve your long term goals, consider asking someone else to do it. Sounds selfish? Maybe.
Is telling your kids to pick up around the house (not just their rooms) or getting your husband to start dinner while you work selfish? I know most of us feel our families should see just how hard we’re working and offer to help out but let’s be real – its not happening today, tomorrow or ever. If you want help, you need to ask or tell.
Consider getting setting up a regular chore chart for the kids or splitting up dinner duty with your spouse. If you can afford it, hire a tutor or housekeeper to help. Use the time saved to relax and recharge.
But what happens when there is no one to help?
Rule number two is AUTOMATE. If you’re thinking you need a computer science degree or be independently wealth, don’t worry. Automation is a lot like delegation because someone or something else is doing the work which frees your time and relieves stress.
I discovered the power of automating my life when my kids were small. I had to keep diapers stocked both at home and at daycare. It felt like I was always running out of diapers and had to make frequent trips to Target or the grocery store to get those industrial sized diaper packs. If it wasn’t diapers, it was wipes or Cheerios.
Amazon Subscribe & Save
Somehow, because I don’t remember the details, I discovered Amazon Subscribe & Save. I’m a long time Amazon customer. The idea of buying online whether it be books, gadgets or everyday necessities always appealed to me. The subscribe & save service was a lifesaver, back then. Ordering diapers was a breeze – just set it and forget it. I did the same for paper towels, garbage bags, dish soap and yes, toilet paper too. One of the reasons why you didn’t see me freaking out about toilet paper shortages in 2020!
Today Amazon Subscribe & Save has literally thousands of products and you’re free to have each ship as often or as little as you like. Select monthly, every two months or every six months. If you need to skip a month, that’s an option too. You’ll have a regular day when all your stuff arrives which you can adjust.
Time Savings: 3-4 hours per month
Stop Grocery Shopping
Amazon may be great for staples and keeping the pantry full but you still need food – eggs, milk, veggies, meat – stuff you can eat. My kids are constantly on the hunt for food and they get bored easily. I used to hit the grocery store 3 times a week! It was truly a time suck and true, I could delegate this to my husband but only if we could live off bacon, eggs and English muffins. He rarely gets anything suitable for dinner.
Thanks to the 2020 pandemic, I found a better solution. I started taking advantage of my grocery store’s drive through and delivery services. What a time saver! Once you place an order, you can save the grocery list and adjust it week to week.
Not sure if your grocery store offers this service? Try Instacart. They are the Postmates of grocery shopping.
Time Savings: 5-6 hours per month.
I can’t tell you how much I hate dealing with finances. Bills stress me out. I don’t mind paying but the thought of missing a due date makes me crazy. Years ago I solved this with automatic bill pay. If you’re still sitting down each month writing checks, you could save hours by just automating the process. Regular expenses like your mortgage, insurance, car payment and credit cards can be scheduled to pay automatically and before the due date to avoid potential late fees and most importantly save you the hassle. Almost all credit cards allow you to setup an autopay and if you can’t, just setup bill-pay with your bank.
Time Savings: 1-2 hours per month
Way back in the day, I used to support Printers on Windows. Can’t get your network printer to work, I was your girl. Secret – restart the print spooler or update your print drivers. I tend to favor laserjet printers because toner lasts forever but most people these days have inkjet printers. Now doesn’t it seem like that nice color inkjet is constantly running out of ink even though you barely use it? You’re not crazy, it is!
A few years back I gave in and bought an inkjet for quick color pictures and the kids’ projects. I also signed up for HP Instant Ink. It’s a subscription service for your ink cartridges. HP basically monitors your ink usage remotely and sends you ink when you need it. No running out. The service has its pros and cons but it does save you both time and money if you need to print consistently.
Time Savings: .5 hours per month
Healthy Options EVERY MONTH
Several years ago, I discovered the benefits of pure therapeutic essential oils. After buying some yucky, questionable oils off Amazon, I was lucky enough to stumble on the very best Essentials Oils in terms of quality and company integrity. That company is Young Living Essential Oils. If you’re not familiar with all that essential oils can be used for, check out this post.
Needless to say, Young Living came in very handy during the pandemic – hand sanitizer, Super C Chewable, Thieves Household Cleaner when our store shelves were completely out. I felt like it was my little secret – no shortages here, just healthy abundance. I’m a firm believer in sharing so connect with me for a quick class or tips.
There is no shame in asking for help. Having kids and a never-ending to do list is frustrating especially when your other half seems to have lots of free time. I had to learn to value my own time instead of being grumpy and resentful. Would you rather spend the day picking up after your family or taking a walk, reading a book or maybe grabbing your violin and heading to orchestra rehearsal? I know what I’d rather do!
Taskrabbit is a great service where you can get help for countless tasks, errands, shopping and just about anything. Need furniture assembled? No time to pick up your drugstore prescription? Looking for help dropping off donations at your local charity? You can even get virtual assistant services if you’re running a home business. It’s like having a team working for YOU! You select a task, schedule a time and you pay when its complete. Voila!
Sold yet? Maybe you’re thinking it’s too complicated or too expensive. Put aside the guilt and know that your time and energy have value. Automating time consuming tasks will give you more time for yourself and your family.
Have you own task automating tools and systems? I’d love to hear what you’re doing.