Save Time: 10 Ways to Achieve More in your Day

If only it were possible to actually make more time! The things we would all achieve! As a busy full time working mum, I frequently lament my lack of time and wish I had more. It’s true that my full time job uses up the best hours of my life, but still there are tricks I have found to make me feel I have a few more precious hours. If you can’t make extra, you can save time at least.

There are things that I like to do rather than need to do, such as yoga,  gardening, blogging and making extra money on the side such as going to boot sales and selling on eBay . If I want to do these things and have time to spend with my loved ones, I need to be organised and not waste any! These are my favourite tricks to save time:

1. Do the cleaning as you go along. 

I used to spend the whole of Saturday cleaning the house. Now I clean a room or two a night during the week, which gives me a whole extra day a week! I also get the family to help – I don’t make the mess by myself.

2.  Stop being house proud.

This relates to number 1. If you insist on perfection you will spend a lot of time trying to achieve it. This is unless, of course, you can afford a cleaner, in which case you can be as obsessively perfect as you like!

3. Train your family to be tidy. 

If they put their clothes away on hangers or in the wash bin, tidy up their games, toys and books when they are done, rinse out the shower, make their own beds and wash up their cups and plates as they go then you won’t have to.  We make a rod for our own backs when we let our families develop into messy monsters.

4. Batch cook. 

If you are making a casserole, chilli, tomato sauce, quiche, meatloaf, etc, why not double or triple the quantities and freeze? It is really very little extra effort to make a large batch rather than a small portion of  anything you can freeze.

5. Freeze your leftovers.

Not only does this reduce waste and save you money, freezing leftovers saves you time. You will have a frozen ready meal or two for when you need to eat and run.

6. Invest in a slow cooker.

Another money saver, as they cost very little to run, your slow cooker can also save you time. Throw some meat and veggies in before you leave the house in the morning and you will be rewarded with a delicious meal ready to hit your plate when you arrive home.  You can find some yummy recipes, but it’s not rocket science and I tend to chuck in whatever is available.

7. Set up direct debits for all your bills.

There is enough paperwork to do without having to sit on the phone or go to the Post Office to pay your regular bills. This is also good for your budget as it ensures the essential bills are paid on time.

8. Give up ironing

This was an easy win for me as I HATE ironing! When you hang your clothes out to dry give them a really good shake. Hang or fold them as soon as you get them off the line. If you use a dryer they will tend to come out pretty much crease free anyway. All but the pure cotton garments will be good to go; I still iron these but deliberately buy few garments that are likely to get very creased. Don’t buy linen if you don’t want to waste time ironing it. Back to the perfectionist issue: underwear, towels and sheets do not need ironing!!

9.  Plan your week’s meals in advance then do the shopping in one trip.

Repeated visits to the supermarket take lots of time and are likely to cost you more on impulse buys.  Alternatively do your shopping online and get it delivered.

10. Use your lunch hour to keep fit.

A brisk walk or run at lunch means less time (and money) spent in the gym or exercise class. Freshen up with some baby wipes if you manage to work up a sweat. Alternatively, could you get up half an hour earlier and do a quick workout to set you up for the day? This is my preferred way to keep my fitness regime on track and save time.  I go to work relaxed and full of energy as well, which is a bonus.

There are many ways you can save time. I hope you find my suggestions helpful!

15 thoughts on “Save Time: 10 Ways to Achieve More in your Day

  1. I agree with most of what you say, dear lady, but I do like to see freshly laundered bed linen nicely ironed when it goes on our bed. But for the rest, I agree. Don’t aim for perfection otherwise nothing at all would ever get done, clean as you go, tidy as you go, it then becomes second nature. If you are going upstairs (provided you don’t live in a bungalow, of course!) think, “What needs to go up/come down?”
    Have a magnetic handy jotter pad on the side of the fridge (or somewhere else convenient) and jot down things as they become ‘low’ or empty, and then before shopping transfer the to a neat shopping list (I do ours on my computer so that I can read it easily, and it looks so efficient going around with a trolley and a TYPED LIST!) I type the list in the order in which they come in the supermarket/shop, rather than in sections, as not all supermarkets place their items logically and you get to know whether you will find the dried figs, for example, that you want with the cooking ingredients, with the snack packs, or somewhere else (dried figs in ‘our’ branch of Waitrose can be found in at least three different places and they are different size packets, different quality and certainly different prices!)
    However, I didn’t like what emerged from my slow cooker. Regardless of the recipe, or how long the things were cooked, everything came out tasting much the same (and not very nice at that.) These are OK if you manage to make good meals in them, or if you go out to work and can leave them on while you are out, but as I’m retired, I use my circotherm oven.
    Housekeeping (for I don’t refer to it as house ‘work’) is also a way of keeping fit, as is gardening. And your home and garden benefit from your activity, too.
    Margaret P
    http://www.margaretpowling.com

    • All good ideas , Margaret. I remember you saying that before about the slow cooker. I love a mushy dinner . I also love sheets that are ironed but not when I am short of time – they take forever!

      • It wasn’t that the dinner was mushy, but that everything tasted the same, and not very nice at that. I took it to a charity shop along with my slow cook recipe books I’d bought.

  2. All good tips. I hate wasting time doing mundane and boring tasks. I rinse dishes, pots and pans under the cold tap as soon as I have finished cooking and eating. They are left to drain and air dry. Once a week I have a bowl of hot water and wipe down all the surfaces and the cooker top. I don’t use the oven at all.

      • It took me almost 17 years to find out (from a professional oven cleaner I engaged) that my oven had a self-clean facility! Yes, I’d been scrubbing the wretched thing out and using Mr Muscle Oven Clean, when all I had to do was put some water in the bottom of the oven with a little washing up liquid and switch on the self-clean and then mop it out. Easy Peasy. I do this about every 3 months, as our oven doesn’t get very dirty (I cover roasts with foil) and once a year I have it professionally cleaned. Yes, this is an extravagance, but it keeps our 17 year old oven in tip top condition.

    • I think we all do the things we enjoy doing, and either leave or put off the things we don’t like doing, Ilona. I don’t mind housekeeping because I like the place in which I live to look, feel, and smell pleasant. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m sure your home is lovely, too, and a really cosy billet for you and your pets. But I couldn’t just rinse the things in cold water? Aren’t some of them greasy and need hot water right away? But if this works for you, that’s absolutely great. And I have to admit that it is only because I have a good and kind husband who does a lot of the jobs for me that I can keep the place clean and tidy. I have arthritis and can’t do as much as I once did, so we both do what we can to help each other, even if this means him doing the lion’s share. And some mundane tasks are really quite nice as they’re stress free, you can think of other things while you are doing them. I enjoy cleaning the silver picture frames (not that often, mind!) as I can think about other things while doing it. Doing little and often is the best way, and even to set time limits on jobs, too.

  3. The only items I have ever regularly ironed are my children’s school uniform. I suspect my mother thinks I’m a bit of a slattern – she still irons everything, including underwear! One of my biggest time savers in recent years is simply to get rid of stuff. The more you have, the more time you have to spend taking care of it/ cleaning it/ tidying it up etc.

      • I agree in general – but the reason we had a big clear out was the imminent arrival of a very belated third child. We looked around at all the stuff we’d accumulated in the twelve years since we’d last had a baby and thought, there’s no way this house is safe for a toddler! And actually, our (then preteen) got on board enthusiastically. She read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and got rid of about 2/3 of her belongings! And now we know how few toys children really play with (ours, at least), we’re more thoughtful about how much stuff our son has (he spends most of his time outside, anyway). Of course, not every parent has the ‘opportunity’ we had to start over 😉

        • You are right about the toys. I used to put half in the attic for a few months and then swap them. It was as if I had bought them a whole load of new toys and they all got played with. But in general kids don’t need that many toys -they get overwhelmed by the sheer choice I think! I will take a look at that book

  4. I did a list of everything I buy on the computer. Several copies were printed off at a time. I use a highlighter to mark everything I need to get on a shopping trip. The highlighted list is not exhaustive -it’s just the ‘must haves’. I guess that saves a little time.
    I used an ironing service when we both worked full time but now I do it myself, I iron as little as possible. Fortunately I also have a husband who irons the sheets! He does his own shirts too.
    Batch cooking is one of my biggest time savers so I do buy certain foods in bulk.
    That said, I am trying an experiment this month -£100 only for fresh stuff whilst everything else has to come from my overstocked freezer and store cupboards. So far, so good.

  5. Ahh! batch cooking is by far my favorite way to save time and still eat healthy. My favorite is to make a huge pit of rice (which is always better on day 2 anyway) then I add in fixing through the week. Veggies one day meat another. Then I throw both together and make a burrito or salad and the next day ill throw it all together with some broth and have soup!

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