For many of us, work and home lives have merged (whether we like it or not) during the global crises in which we currently live. When your job, family life, rest, and relaxation time all happen at the same location, it can be difficult to keep things separate and feel in control of your life. Fortunately, I’ve been living this life for longer than most and have had a chance to try out some critical strategies. Here are some of my top time-saving life hacks that have made a difference for me and my family.
Prioritize Your To-Do List
If you are a “list maker”, you’ll want to pay attention to this one. I am no stranger to jotting down each and every little thing I want to accomplish in my day. Before I know it, that list looks more like a chaotic road map, leading to nowhere. Yeah, I tend to be an overachiever most days. So, to end the madness and follow my own mantra to “be kind” to myself, I started to prioritize all tasks.
One of the things I noticed about myself was that if I started things that were really bothering me, my energy and motivation was instantly increased for other tasks. For this reason, I do always put those irritating things at the top of the list and give them little stars for emphasis. Secondly, I pay attention to those things that have a time limit or urgency attached…you know like feeding the family and book deadlines.
Another thing that helped me was to do the things I hate to do first instead of procrastinating them. This is a game-changer. This lessens the chance of the carry-over-syndrome taking over your life, your world, and ultimately the universe as we know it. The smaller tasks that hold less importance or urgency can be put at the bottom of the list and given permission to become another day’s problem.
Use Technology Wisely
Fortunately, there are many ways that tech can help you keep everything together. That said, there are even more ways to allow it to take over like a rogue sea monster does an unsuspecting ship. Yeah, I’m talking to you…that woman who starts her day with high hopes of getting things done but ends up neck-deep in a social media bog. My weakness lately has been Pinterest. However, I decided to only allow myself to use it while I’m immobile such as when I’m in the sauna or doing other health therapies. This is quality multi-tasking.
If you’re on committees, have a demanding job, and workload, you might also find technologically driven services like online booking, social media scheduling, and text sanity to help. Remember, any technology that helps you save time is worth looking into, especially if it brings you peace.
Do you ever feel like the word “no” never comes out of your mouth…well, unless it’s to yourself about proper self-care? I swear that some days my children, pets, and husband have a conspiracy to surgically remove “no” from my vocabulary. After all, who can resist those puppy-dog eyes, whines, and guilt trips? Be strong, my friends! It’s time to take back our power and time!
There are lots of ways to say no, but, obviously, you want to be kind and clear. I found that using my superpowers of language, creativity, and keeping order has gotten me out of doing everyone’s everything all the time. Being clever with positive messages (when you say “no”), helps to empower those demanding children, partners, and work colleagues to take charge of their own shit! (insert mic drop here.)
OH, BOY, is pre-planning meals the Hercules of time-saving life hacks! It can especially be a downright necessity if your proverbial mouth is crammed with more tasks than you can healthily chew. I also highly recommend that you schedule your meal planning time, as it is one of those things that can easily get bumped. Make it a family affair by asking everyone to participate in looking for yummy recipes and fun ways to prepare them.
If all else fails, and regular planning, shopping, and cooking have become burdens, consider looking into convenient meal companies like Hello Fresh. We also have done meal prep for the week on many occasions. This takes a good portion of a Sunday, but it pays off all through the week.
Make Time for Self-Care
Finally, make sure you’re setting aside some time for yourself. Even if lockdown has meant that you aren’t able to take a full vacation this year, there are plenty of ways to get some rest and relaxation without going away. It really is about taking your needs as seriously as everyone else’s. Yes, small things make a difference. For example, take five minutes to breathe deeply when you get overwhelmed or fatigued. Hell, go hide in the bathroom and dance or say kind things to yourself in the mirror. No matter what you do, do it regularly and with purpose. Remember, your time is precious and important to life fulfillment. Spend it passionately, wisely, and with clarity!