I am always looking for ways to become more efficient, to get the most out of my time and get things done. I’ve got a few hacks which really make a difference to my life – give them a try!
One of my personal favourite acronyms is JFDI – or, Just F***ing Do It. It works like this – you think to yourself, ‘I’m going to get up early in the morning and smash out a workout before I start work.’ Full of good intentions, you set your alarm for half an hour earlier in the morning. The alarm goes off, and you reach for the snooze button. Several snoozes later, you haven’t got time for that workout, so as you are getting ready for work you vow you will do it when you finish work. All day, in the back of your mind is the promise you made about getting a workout in later. After your work is done, you convince yourself that it would be better to eat first (you are starving…) and workout before bed. Once you’ve eaten, you sit with a cuppa on the sofa and before you know it, it’s bedtime and you haven’t done that workout. The answer to this is to JFDI – when your alarm goes off in the morning, DO NOT allow yourself to even THINK about hitting snooze. Just get up. Once you are up, head over to where you have laid out your workout kit, get changed and head to your workout area. DO NOT sit down, and DO NOT lie back down on the bed (been there, done that 😊 ). You don’t necessarily have to apply this to just getting up and getting your workout done – you may plan to do it as soon as you finish work. Just don’t let yourself think about NOT doing it. Walk into your house, head to your bedroom, get changed and get into that workout without pausing to do anything else. One of my favourite speakers is Mel Robbins and she has a version of this called ‘The Five Second Rule’ – watch this clip about it.
When you feel more like lying down than downward dog…JFDI!
Photo by Form on Unsplash
Contain and control
A great way to organise your stuff is to use baskets or containers – for example, in your kitchen cupboards. Group ‘like’ items together – packet sauces, packets of rice or pasta, tins – and put them into baskets that you can pull out. That way, you do not have to individually take out every single item to find the thing you want which is right at the back of the cupboard. You pull out the basket, take what you want, and put the basket back. If you are feeling uber-organised, you could even label the basket, so you know what’s in there. You can also use baskets to store stuff which is out on your counter-top – for example, your face creams and lotions, your makeup, your body care stuff. Then when you come to clean, you only have to lift off the basket rather than move eleven different items to clean. Use baskets, or tidies in drawers too – again, put like items together and use containers that fit in your drawer alongside each other.
Feast your eyes on these beautifully arranged baskets…
Photo by William Felker on Unsplash
Make the best use of your time by categorising similar tasks to do together, in a block of time. For example, if you have several trips to do or errands to run, schedule a block of time to do them all together, rather than leave the house in the morning, then go back out again later that day. Think about where you are going and plan your route to make the most effective use of your time (and your petrol!). If you have a few calls to make, do them one after the other. If you have several things you need to research on the web, make a list and do them one after the other. That way, you are not jumping between tasks that use different parts of your brain, and it also maximises the ‘flow’ of work.
Wait to buy
I am a spender, not a saver, and this can be my downfall at times. That, and the Amazon app….and Pinterest. And vloggers on YouTube. But I digress. One trick I have learned is not to immediately give in to my impulse to buy the latest gadget, or miracle cream or makeup item, but instead to save the idea and come back to it in a couple of days – or even better, after a week. Very often (in fact I would say 9 times out of 10), that impulse to buy has disappeared. The urge to buy that item that is going to make your life so much better, just seems to die away if you don’t give in to it. Use the time to consider whether you really need it – if it’s a costly item, do some research. Can you buy it cheaper elsewhere? Can you get cashback on it (Quidco or Top Cashback)? Can you buy it second-hand? Do you really really need it? If you do – and you can afford it – then go ahead. At least you have given yourself space to make the decision a considered one.
Same old, same old….
Very often (for me anyway), the daily routine can lead to decision fatigue. What to wear? What to eat (X 3 – breakfast, lunch and dinner). One way to make this less of a bind, is to rotate the same clothes/meals over a weekly or fortnightly schedule. For example, plan your outfits across a week, using the same tops and bottoms (within reason…) but swapping them around. Build yourself a wardrobe where your clothes will go together multiple times. Use accessories to liven them up and ring in the changes. There are lots of good ideas on Pinterest for capsule wardobes. The key is to plan your outfits, preferably for the week ahead but at the very least the night before.
With your meals, again planning is the key. Personally, I eat the same breakfast on a weekday – Monday to Wednesday it’s granola, berries and Skyr or Greek yoghurt. Thursday and Friday, I have overnight oats with frozen berries (thawed out) on top. Lunch wise, I have either soup, sandwich or jacket potato in the winter – summer it’s salads all the way, prepared on a Sunday/Wednesday. I just couldn’t face having to make those decisions every day – making it weekly (even though it’s still a pain in the ass) is so much less hassle. And keeping it to the same ‘family’ of meals, makes it so much easier to do!
Your time is up!!
You’ve been too tired to do the housework all week, and you’ve set aside the weekend to get it done instead. Well, chances are, unless you set yourself a time limit, it will take you all weekend to get it done. ‘Work expands to fill the time available’ otherwise known as Parkinson’s Law. If you set yourself a time limit, it is amazing what can be accomplished. Write yourself a list of what needs to be done (obviously lists were going to be mentioned here… 😉 ) and set your timer going for short periods (10 – 20 minutes max) and then just GO! Clean the bathroom? No problem, 10-minute timer then move on. Vacuum downstairs? Got it – 5 minutes and we’re done. This will work for many projects or tasks – for example, when I was looking to change jobs, I would spend literally hours crafting my application until I was sure it was perfect. Until that one time, when I was on a deadline, and I had to submit the application without my usual perfectionism, and in a much shorter timescale. I was sure it wouldn’t be successful. Well guess what? I got an interview. That taught me a valuable lesson – ‘done is better than perfect’.
Gone in 60 seconds…
Photo by Jaelynn Castillo on Unsplash
Another simple hack that really works is also on the theme of time. If something is going to take you less than a minute – just do it. Don’t put it to one side, thinking you will get to it later. Do it now. Those small jobs mount up and can then feel overwhelming. Plus, it motivates you to do more – productivity encourages productivity. Many tasks feel like they will take longer than a minute, and so you put them off – e.g. tidying away magazines, or straightening cushions, or putting something back where you got it from. I promise you, keeping the ball rolling on the small tasks will help you to achieve the big ones!
What hacks have you got to help streamline your life? I would love to know!