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!

Managing my time

As we have Bank Holiday Monday coming up I have booked a day’s leave tomorrow. Four days off!! Sadly, the weather forecast doesn’t look that great, but I will make the best of it.

 I find that my time off is currently completely filled with ‘stuff’. I need to make sure I have one day where we go out and have some fun. What’s the point of working hard all the time and not having the occasional bit of down time? I will try to get out in the garden and do some jobs if I can though as I want to keep up the momentum!

 I tend to consider myself quite well organised and good at time management. However, recently I seem to have been busy all the time. Too much to do, or not organising myself well enough?

 I read a post on another blog the other day about time management suggesting that I divide my day into 15 minute slots and write down everything I do during the course of several days to see where I am wasting time. I have carried out this kind of exercise in the past to see where I spend money and it was really useful. My initial thoughts on doing this to track my time were, ‘I don’t have time to do that!’ Perhaps if I just try it on the time I spend at home rather than the time I spend at work. I am thinking about it – anyone else tried this?

 In any case I do have quite a lot to do so I will attempt to be as productive as possible, at the same time as allowing some relaxation time! Whatever you are doing this weekend, have a good one. If I blog quite a lot over the weekend you will know I have cracked it 😀.

 

 

Organised? I have to be

My colleagues quite often start a sentence with  ‘You’re organised, you will know this’ or ‘Jane will find this’ if they are looking for a particular file. I am pretty organised at work. I have to be – I have a terrible memory so I need to keep lists of what I need to do and when, set reminders in my calendar and have a sensible filing system. 

At home I am no different. I get really stressed if I’m not on top of the cleaning, laundry or shopping. At times I feel overwhelmed by how much there is to do, but good time management and a routine keeps me in control.  I have to have a really good clean through every week and make sure any paperwork is taken care of. I do this on a Saturday.  I do washing about three times a week. I don’t iron much because I shake clothes out before I hang them and smooth them out as much as possible.

I check my bank balance once a week so that I can keep an eye on spending, make sure all the bills are paid and that there are no odd payments in the account. I know what I pay for everything. If I didn’t how would I know if I was getting a good deal? I also check to see if there is any extra that I can put in one of the savings accounts.

I plan the menus for the week as well as the shopping list. As things get low I write them on a board in the kitchen so we don’t run out.  I frequently cook double what I need to save myself a bit of time. We either eat it the next day as well or freeze it for those days when we are too tired to cook. On Sunday I made pukka yellow curry from Save with Jamie and we ate it again last night – curry is always better as leftovers! This is a nice recipe and it really is a good book. The recipe is here.

I started cleaning a cupboard or a drawer each week as my new year resolution in 2016 and it has really paid off. I know where things are and chuck out stuff we don’t need. Having said that, the drawers in my bedroom really need sorting at the moment as a continuation of my great wardrobe challenge, making sure I wear what I own or get rid of it. That’s one for next weekend. 

I never feel I have much spare time, but being organised helps a lot. If I do everything I need to on a Saturday I have the day free to relax on Sunday. We either go out for the day or spend some time in the garden, depending on what we feel like and the weather. 

I have areas I can improve on but I know that little and often is the way to go. Get things done, get organised and then you save time in the long run.

Are you an organised person? What are your tips to staying in control when you are really busy?

Getting organised

It’s so nice to have some spare time at home. Anyone who works full time and runs a home will know how hard it can be to keep on top of things after a busy day at work. As I am back in the office tomorrow I am glad I have got myself really organised here. 

The meals are planned for the week and the shopping is done. The house is clean – I will have a run round again with the vacuum cleaner today to get things spic and span. The laundry is up to date although I do need to iron a few things ready for the office. I have been through the bank statement too and know how much we will have over once all the direct debits have gone out. It will be tight but as I am spending nothing unless it is essential we should manage. 

Mr S laughs at me but I need to be organised to feel in control of my finances and my life generally. I am the same at work – I am queen of lists to make sure everything gets completed and on time.

At home being organised saves me time and money; at work it saves me time and stress! Does anyone else like a list?

Increasing my waistline and a lack of time management 

Sorry I have been so quiet of late. I have been using all my spare time to prepare for a job interview. Between that, work and Christmas prep there’s been very little time for much else. The interview went ok I think. I should find out next week whether I am successful. 

I am trying to catch up now. Last night I did the usual weekly shop at Lidl then went to Sainsbury’s for some Christmas bits and somebody’s leaving present at work. I didn’t get in until 8.15 then had to go out half an hour later to collect DD3 from work. 

I had just enough time for a quick cuppa and a bit of cold quiche, and to feed the cats who were looking very unimpressed at having to wait so long for their dinner.

This morning I was writing Christmas cards for colleagues in my car before I got in! I haven’t had the chance to do any that should be posted and have a busy weekend  ahead so Lord knows when I will find time. 

Today we have our Christmas buffet at work. I brought in some chopped veg and hummus and I’m glad I did as it was mainly pastry items like sausage rolls and lots of crisps – a veritable carb fest! I am eating out tonight as well with the management team from work. Oh well, the diet can wait until after Christmas.

Tomorrow will be my chance to check I have bought everything for Christmas and clean through the house and have a nice quiet night in. We are off to my sister’s for a gathering on Sunday as they will be away at Christmas. 

Next week I need to wrap all the gifts and plan the food shop. Thank goodness I have the week off between Christmas and the New Year.

I have rarely felt so disorganised for Christmas. I generally start in September and start wrapping and writing cards as December arrives. Better organisation should be my New Year’s resolution I think! How are your plans going for the festive season?

I’ll add it to my list …

I seem to have been so busy this past week yet have so little worth blogging about! Unless you want to hear about much there is to do at work? I rarely give my job much thought when I am home but it is so frantic I find it is playing on my mind. 

At least the cat knows how to relax!


There is a lot to do here as well  – loads of jobs to do before I feel happy bringing in potential lodgers. Their bedroom, the bathroom and the downstairs toilet all need work. The garden also needs several days worth of tidying up before the weather gets tooo cold. That’s the job I actually enjoy if I can find the time. I love to get outside.

I haven’t done much towards Christmas either, although I have sorted out the work team outing. I need to start my gift buying. I have normally done at least 50% by this time.

I have quite a few items I want to sell on eBay as this is the time of year when people are buying. So I have been putting a couple of bits on here and there and managed to sell three items this week. 

I am quite an organised person generally and this helps me to prioritise what needs to be done first. I am a great one for lists but at the moment the lists at home and work look rather long and intimidating!

The normal cleaning and shopping won’t do themselves though so I will begin with those. DD2 is visiting today with two of her university friends and they are having a night out in Colchester. They are used to the bright lights of London so it will be interesting to see what they think of our little town.

I will be curling up with Mr S, the cats and a glass of wine as I don’t think we will have much energy to paint the town red. 

Anyone else finding the pace of life a bit fast?

Little and often gets the job done

Well, it does for me! I finally got Mr S to start putting up the curtain rails yesterday in the lodger’s room. I hadn’t realised how creased the curtains were. They are a very thick fabric (good for keeping the drafts out) but took some ironing. One pair were from the charity shop as they fit the small window but I needed two long pairs to fit the patio doors and the other two doors that lead into the garden so I bought those new from eBay. They are a basic cream curtain but not flimsy at all as cheap curtains often are. The material is slightly imperfect but you can’t see this when they are up and I think they were a great deal at £20 a pair.

This room already feels warmer with the insulated wallpaper and the radiator foil fitted. I am really pleased with it. 

I finally visited our new Lidl yesterday. It’s much bigger than Aldi with better parking and a nice bakery section. However , I spent more than usual – partly because there was more choice and DD3 was with me making me give in to temptation and partly because I think it was a bit more expensive than Aldi. 

We have been to the garden centre and spent some  vouchers we were both given for our birthdays. We have focussed on plants and shrubs we can put in that will more or less take care of themselves. We need to try to make the garden more low maintenance as we don’t have time to do it justice. Too much garden and too little time!

So today we will work on the front garden and clear it up for winter then get these plants in.

Yesterday in my continuing declutter I cleared out just one bag for the charity shop, mainly old CDs that nobody listens to and then the old pine CD rack which I don’t need now that the CDs are rationalised. Little and often….

Feeling overwhelmed? Break the tasks into bite sized chunks

I have struggled to find time to blog this week. I am still recovering from my week off, catching up at work and trying to do the jobs at home I couldn’t do because we were decorating.

The house needs a really good clean, I have a pile of ironing and the garden is a huge mess. There is more work out there than we can manage in the next few days so I will attempt the little and often approach. This works well for me when I am feeling overwhelmed. I break things into bite sized chunks and prioritise what needs doing first! At the moment it is the cleaning. We have a student coming in Sunday so the house needs to look spic and span and I also need to plan the week’s meals and do a food shop. 

At the weekend I will do a couple of hours in the front garden as that is the most neglected.

I haven’t been to the gym for weeks or done any yoga so I need to find time to look after myself too.  So I am going to clean the sitting room and hall tonight and then do an hour’s yoga.

In the meantime DD3 has helped out by cooking a huge tuna pasta bake that will do for tonight and tomorrow so I don’t need to do any cooking!

Bite sized chunks: the secret of successful time management

Garden meI think I have finally got the hang of this time management thing. I am already Queen of Lists. At work I have a list of jobs then I prioritise that into a list that I need to do quickly and one of tasks that can wait a bit. At home I write lists too; it feels good to cross things off and know that I am achieving something.

garden weeded 2But it is the large projects that have always given me problems. I tend to see the whole huge task and get so intimidated I never start it. Now I am learning to break the big projects down into smaller tasks that will build towards achieving the outcome I am after. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to clear out a cupboard a week and I have done this most weeks. So, rather than saying to myself  ‘all the cupboards are in a mess, I need to sort them out’ then procrastinating because it is too big a job, now I  have divided this task into bite sized chunks it has become achievable. It doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to sort out each one so it’s not too taxing on my time.garden Justin

I started to apply the same line of thinking to the garden today. The back garden is big – 140 foot long and 50 foot wide, and we have a large front garden too. It can feel totally overwhelming at times as we both work full time and there are always lots of jobs to do at the weekend. But today we just looked at one bed and set about weeding digging and moving plants around. Mr Shoestring also sorted out some of the pots for the patio. This was easy enough as we just left all the bulbs in them from last year and they are all coming up and will look fabulous in a few weeks. We were out in the sunshine for about 4 hours and this was enough. We felt we had achieved our goal and our spirits were lifted by the warmth and the sun. Next time we go out we will focus on sowing seeds and sorting out the greenhouse.

When you don’t have a great deal of time on your hands you need to be smart about how you organise yourself and make sure you have time to do nothing too. Now we are just slobbing out and may even manage an afternoon nap!

How are you with time management and what are your top tips?

Not Enough Hours in the Day!

I thought I would attempt a blog post this morning whilst the rest of the house is still asleep. It is quite nice in a way being up early on a sunny Sunday morning. The birds are singing loudly and the cats are bouncing about but other than that the world is quiet and there is no traffic.

I have struggled to find a spare few minutes to blog. Work was full on during Friday, I came home to do a large pile of ironing and I spent yesterday back in the hall painting. As for housework, who has the time? I have been doing a bit here and there, but only the bare essentials – the laundry and sorting food.

imageToday the garden beckons. There are some plants in the greenhouse that really need to go in the ground now but before that I need to do some weeding to prepare some space. Some of my neighbours trees need a good hack back too or they will starve my side of light. There are lots of seedlings that need potting on too. At least I enjoy this, especially on a beautiful day .

Before that I will get up and clean the bathroom and downstairs loo and wash the kitchen floor. I can’t let standards slip too low!

Is it just me? Does anyone else struggle to fit it all in?