UNITED STATES—We all have a schedule to follow. Even if you have your daily routine boiled down to a fine science, there are some ways you can tweak it to save more time. Or maybe you’re someone who always finds themselves running behind in the mornings, desperately trying to get things done and leaving too many things to the last minute. There is no judgement here, but trying out these simple suggestions could free up some space in your life to make getting things done easier with some time to spare.
Before you dive in, it’s helpful to consider where your routine is benefiting you and where it may be holding you back. Sometimes, we adopt unhelpful habits because they partially meet some unmet need. The catch is that these habits only perpetuate our problems instead of resolving them. It could be procrastination, giving into anxiety or taking on the role of always being busy to avoid confrontation or vulnerability. Therapy is always a good way to dive deeper into your motivations, but you can make plenty of progress on your own, too. These simple strategies are meant to simplify many of the little things that clutter up our days, so you can focus on what really needs attention in your life.
Write Your Week on a Whiteboard
Get a dry erase board and put it somewhere you always see it, like the kitchen or right above your computer. On Sunday, write out the days of the week and what you need to accomplish under each. Just one task per day is enough. The big picture should keep you focused and help you avoid getting sidetracked. Minor bullet points under each day’s goal can help you tend to smaller tasks that you’re likely to put off or forget without note. At the end of each day, add a check for the things you got done or revise your plans. Either way, this will help you get a clearer view of what you’re prioritizing in life. Just gaining perspective can be extremely helpful in making positive changes.
Automate Your Purchases
Many online vendors allow you to sign up for a subscription on things you always use. You will never have to worry about running to the store for staples because they’ll be delivered to your door each month. You can even order a subscription snack box that sends delicious treats to your doorstep. Save gas and money by eliminating late night drive-thru runs or trips to the convenience store. You can also make snacking more enjoyable and consider it something to look forward to instead of a mindless way to ease stress.
Lay Your Clothes Out Every Night
What are you going to wear this week? Don’t scramble to put together an outfit every morning. Instead of stumbling bleary eyed into your closet, set yourself up for success by laying out the morning’s clothes before bed. You’ll be able to wake up a few minutes later, enjoy your breakfast and start the day with a sense of being supported. This is the type of self-care that really matters. Do small acts of love that make your future self feel cared for. If you have kids, conduct nightly backpack checks to ensure they have everything they’ll need. The whole family can check their bags, plan their outfits and take the stress out of their mornings. You may even free up enough time to spend the start of your day together instead of running around the house.