Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Shaving Time Off Those Annoying "Must-Do" Tasks


What would I do
without coffee?
Everyone is busier than ever these days.  We’re connected 24/7 to our devices, so we rarely have an opportunity to be blissfully unaware of our obligations.  Plus, we’re all trying to balance busy schedules with family and/or free time, while not letting any of the balls we’re juggling drop.  Personally, I’m trying to manage a family that includes two teenage boys who take challenging classes and participate in multiple sports, plus my husband’s frequent business travels and the needs of our rescue pets.  Then there are my jobs: I teach fitness classes every morning, teach a writing class in the evenings, and somehow find time to write romance novels for a New York publisher.
It’s a lot to balance, and I’m always looking for ways to save time.  I’ve become very efficient through the years—doing two things at once is my specialty!  So I was inspired by the Dollar Shave Club’s "Shave Time/Shave Money" motto to come up with a post dedicated to the ways I shave time off of the stuff I have to do to make time for the things I want to do.
For me, trips to the grocery store are the biggest time suck.  My boys eat a ton, and I always seem to forget something.  That’s where the Dollar Shave Club comes in, because razors are not something on my radar when I’m shopping for lunches and dinners for everyone.  But three out of four of us in this family shave--with the fourth to likely start soon--so it’s a literal pain when new blades are needed and the package is empty.  I’ve linked the website—you can get new razors monthly, or every other month, for as low as $1.00…one less thing to think of!

But, the grocery store is inevitable, and I really try to minimize the amount of time I spend there.  I write my list beforehand, organizing the order in terms of the layout of the store aisles.  I also keep a recipe box of coupons filed in the same order.  That way I can quickly pull out what I need to save money!  I also check the store’s website for the weekly sale items and try to plan meals around those offers.
Making dinners is another task I try to approach with as much efficiency as possible.  I purchase value packs of meat whenever possible and prepare several meals at once.  For example, I’ll cut up chicken breasts into smaller pieces, store them in a ziplock bag, and add a marinade.  I freeze that for a future date, and as it defrosts, it marinates.  Then I do one of my quick go-to meals for that night…one of my family’s favorites involves just putting sliced chicken breasts in a baking dish, smothering with bar-b-que sauce (I use Stubb’s – all natural and no corn syrup), and baking.  Easy!  I can throw some foil wrapped potatoes into the oven a little earlier as well to have everything ready at once.

The crockpot is also my friend.  Another favorite involves putting chicken breasts in along with a jar of salsa in the morning.  By evening, you have Mexican shredded chicken to use in tacos or on nachos.  You can see some of my time-saving (and fairly healthy!) recipes on my Pinterest board.
For makeup and skin care items, I look for items that do double duty.  For example, my foundation is a tinted, mattifying moisturizer that contains sunscreen.  I get coverage, sun protection, and shine control all in one.  I brush on loose mineral power that minimizes lines and absorbs excess oil, sweep some bronzer or blush over cheekbones and eyes, and add lip balm that contains both shimmer color and SPF.  Ready to go in less than 5 minutes!  For my husband, I get the Dr.Carver’s Post Shave, as it serves as an aftershave, a moisturizer, and contains antioxidants to fight aging.  Some of my favorite products are on my Health and Beauty Pinterest board.

I also spend A LOT of my time acting as a chauffeur for my kids.  When they are actually in the car with me, I use the time to get conversations going.  But of course that’s only possible for one direction—otherwise it’s just me in the car, headed to pick them up, or driving back home after dropping them off.  Since I absolutely love to read, I decided to use that time to find another way to enjoy books.  My to-be-read list is enormous, so any book on the list that’s available as an audio download comes with me in the car.  That means I’m reading one book at home and listening to one book in the car, but as I said, I’m used to doing several things at once.  Often I’m reading up to three books at the same time.  Studies have shown that reading is one of the best stress-reducers there is—what busy mom doesn’t need that?
My favorite reading spot...can't
you just feel the stress melting away?
 
 
My goal has always been to write books that people can get lost in…engaging reads that provide suspense, mystery, and romance to keep the pages turning.  Writing is my passion, but it also takes a lot of time to write a quality novel.  Using the tips above help allow me to keep everything running smoothly so I can do what I love.  What are your tips to save time?  Feel free to share below in the comments section – I’m always looking for new ideas!

23 comments:

  1. Hi Kathryn, Great examples of time-savers. Wish I could add a few, but I need all I can get myself!! I'll be back for more :)

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  2. Thanks, Barbara! Hope the tips helped, and thanks for stopping by!

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  3. My biggest tip from the days of teenagers in the house was the big calendar page so you knew where everyone had to be and when. (I remember making three separate trips to the school in an hour once, simply because I had practice times wrong.) I don't know how much time it saved, but it did wonders for my sanity.

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  4. That's a great tip, Liz, and one I need to try! Right now I keep that info in my head, and it doesn't always work out well, lol. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  5. I loaded the cardstar ap on my phone so all my store cards are on my phone and I pre-load as many coupons on my card as possible to eliminate the need for printed coupons. Even with coupons, when you can find them, razor blades are more expensive than disposable razors. So, I just might have to try the Dollar Shave Club because I'm sick of dull blades and cheap plastic razors. Thanks for the post!

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  6. Wow Lilly I never heard of that app - I'm going to check that out, thanks! And these are great razors and it's so easy...one less thing to have to think about :)

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  7. Some great ideas in this post - thanks for sharing!

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  8. I need to check out the razors for hubby! I'm curious what else Dollar Shaver offers now. :) I love the time saving tips. With a grade schooler and an elderly, both with multiple appointments, I keep a calendar so I don't put them on same days. Any time save I find I try to use. :) Thanks and LOVED Gull Harbor!

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    1. So glad to hear you enjoyed Gull Harbor! Yes, I think the razor membership makes a great gift - Christmas is getting closer! I use my date book calendar to record appts - the problem is if I don't take the time to actually record it, lol

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  9. The calendar has always worked for me, but also everything and I mean "everything" needed for the next day, from permission slips to gym clothes to what-to-wear has to be decided and done the night before. I hate rushing in the morning! :-)

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    1. I do too, Judy - I'm possibly the world's worst morning person. I do a "last call" each night - laundry, notes, lunches, etc. - to try to avoid that morning rush. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. My Franklin Calendar/notebook has been a life saver, Kathryn! I used it for my kids decades ago when they were young, but I still rely on it heavily. It's my "other" brain. Also, I have a magnet calender on the fridge where I post my shopping days. Underneath, my husband and I write items we need during those weeks, so when it's time to shop, I don't have to check supplies. You have some great ideas, too. Thanks for the post! :)

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    1. Thanks Mary! That's an excellent idea, keeping the list right on the fridge. And I could also use another brain. My son told me I packed 4 plastic spoons in his lunch (all we had left - I meant to put them in the drawer). Of course he threw them all out - back to the store for me!

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  11. Hi Kathryn! Great blog! I enjoyed reading about your tips. You probably already do this, but I try to pack lunches the night before. That way I can rush out the door in the mornings. :)

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    1. Thanks Karilyn! I do try to make lunches the night before...but I always make sure my boys have credit in their school accounts in case I'm exhausted and they'll need to buy...or in case the lunch doesn't make it into the backpack, lol.

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  12. Kathryn, I like to listen to audio books while I'm driving, doing housework, weeding the gardening. Since I started to listen to audio books my 'reading' has really increased.

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    1. Hi Jana! Isn't it great? I'm really enjoying 'reading' this way! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  13. Great tips. My biggest time saver is to hav emu clothes ready to don in th morning and get dresses as soon as I get up. Otherwise I dither around and don't get started.

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    1. Yes, I agree...there's something about staying in PJs that reduces productivity! Thanks for stopping by Barbara!

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  14. Kathryn I love this blog. Time is something that keeps getting away from me. Great ideas. Kayden Claremont. I'm not anonymous but it doesn't like Kayden

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    1. Lol I see your name there Kayden :) Glad you enjoyed the blog, and thanks for leaving a comment...saving time is something we all can benefit from!

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