If you look around and spend most of your time doing nothing, you can’t wonder why your life is going nowhere, but if you spend more time on activities that move you forward, naturally, your life will move … FORWARD.
This is my working theory, anyways.
Part of my wellness journey has been to spend more time on activities that help me reach my goals and move my life forward, which means less time on those that don’t. So, in deciding to streamline things, I’ve been paying really close attention to what I spend my time on. I realized that a lot of time is spent on busy work, things you have to do, but don’t really get you anywhere. Activities like paying bills, sorting mail, grocery shopping, household chores, even cooking are on that list for me.
Some people get a lot of joy and fulfillment out of these, and that is great. I do enjoy doing some of these activities sometimes, but not at the levels in which I was engaging in them. I like cooking when I get to have fun with my son and teach him something new or do something nice for my husband. Cooking, on the other hand when I am very tired and just back from work, not so much. Household chores if it is a form of exercise or relaxation, great. If it is a source of stress and dread, not so great.
Just by paying close attention, I’ve been able to build in more efficiencies in different areas, including finances, childcare and home maintenance. What is more important is what I’ve been able to do with the time saved. Saving time to watch more TV we can all agree is not progress, but saving time to start a blog is ;).
With regard to cooking, I’ve been working on simplifying meals. Breakfast is a smoothie, so that’s easy. I’m working on gathering 3 good salad recipes with only 3-5 ingredients, that I can easily rotate between. Maybe we just spice them up every once in a while with different dressings. I also want to get 3-5 meals that are easy to make in 30 mins or less. So now, on weekends, I try to make the big meals that can be put in the fridge for the week, and make the easier meals in between on weekdays.
Coupling / Grouping
Another idea was to look for activities that will be more efficiently done together. I used to work out in an area, come home get dressed and then go grocery shopping in another. It finally occurred to me to workout, go grocery shopping in the same area, and then come home. I save time and gas, but also get a good stretch of me time.
Also, I keep things I have to take out of the house or return to stores near the door. I take the metro to work normally, but when I actually have to drive, I look through the things by the door and see if I can easily run any other errands in the areas I’ll be driving through.
In areas like bill payment, there were may tools that can be used to streamline things, like bill pay and auto-pay. I’ve also started utilizing a lot of auto-ship service from sites like honest.com and amazon.com to get things I frequently use be automatically shipped to me every month. Almost all my baby supplies are shipped to me.
Automation can also apply to groceries. I started seeing a basket of produce in front of two of my neighbors doors. Fabulous! I’ll try their service out. It will also be green because the company is already delivering to my building. If I like it, then some grocery shopping will be automated. Really wished that Trader Joe’s and Whole foods had delivery services.
Delegating / Leveraging
I took a look at my list to see where there was someone else close to me that was better suited to do it and see if there was anyway I could help them with in my areas of strength. Besides delegating sometimes to my husband, there hasn’t been much traction with this approach. It will probably come in handy more when my son starts doing more activities outside the house.
One example though is that, I have a friend whose birthday is close to mine and loves planning events, something I loath. With her consent of cause, I used to piggy back off her birthday plans and invite some of my guests, we had a lot of the same friends anyways. She loved having more people and I’d help her by contributing.
Some tasks are worth just outsourcing. Cleaning my space, is one of them. When I clean, I clean every nuke and cranny, numerous times, which means it takes me a loooot of time. It seemed more efficient to outsource this to people who were better and faster than I am, and I get to support someone else’s business. Also, getting to clean used to stress me out, do I have time today, tomorrow, not in the mood, and we all know stress is bad…
In the past, my husband and I used to wake up Saturday morning and clean together. Then, it was good team work and bonding time and more worth doing. Now, we have other things to do Saturday morning and bond on activities that are more fun for the both of us.
Taking care of my son is another. I have a very, very energetic son that wears me out constantly. Staying at home with him was sooo draining. I figured, there have to be people who actually enjoy this, and can even do a better job than I can. Also, I wanted him to be scheduled, but mine has always been erratic. I wanted my son to eat well, but had a tough time feeding him. When I got help, I got my life back. I can now create a schedule and someone else can follow it. I can created a healthy menu, and someone else can feed him, much easier and better than I can.
Now our time together is more quality time. I can spend time with him in areas that play to my strength like educating him , teaching him new skills, taking him to new places and just playing with him.
If you have any ideas, please share.
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