Our days are filled with errands, from the little things that stack up to those important ones that really can’t be left for later, so it's good to know some smart ways to save time running errands. Things needn’t be so stressful, if you’re doing things one at a time and without consciously making decisions to speed up the process, you may be loosing a bundle of time that you could have for some me time. To help you get those precious hours, here are my 8 top tips to help you save time with your errands:
1. Use the Internet
The net is not just for social networking and buying cheap shoes. It also really helps with those pesky day to day errands. Need to make a bill payment, make a money transfer or pop by the supermarket? It’ll cut down your time in half. Just make sure Facebook’s not on to distract you from your errands... otherwise, though, the internet can be one of the smartest ways to save time running errands.
2. Separate Things into Files
We always at least a house file, a documents file and a cars file (we’re a big family so when you have 4 cars you really need to keep track of the documents to avoid headaches later). Trust me, I know it seems like a pain, but it’ll save you so much time when you’re looking for your counterpart, or your passport to go on vacation, after all you should be worrying about having fun not where have you left it!
It’s one of the most important powers of those in managerial position and as the owner and therefore manager of your life, use it. We get filled up with things to do everyday, and if you can pass on little things like putting the laundry to wash or loading the dishes into the machine to someone else, it’s easy enough to do and it’ll save time for those things that really need your attention alone. Your partner or children are perfectly capable of hoovering the carpet. Just try and spread the load a little bit.
Think about it like a jigsaw. Is there anywhere near the cafe you can pop by whilst your coffee gets ready? What’s the easiest route and which is the longest? Which place closes the latest so that you can leave that for last, and most importantly, what must not be left for later?
5. Bloc Your Errands
It’s going to take much more of your free time if you go post office today, supermarket tomorrow, buy that new top the day after and so on. Rather than that, try going into the town centre or a mall and doing everything in one day.
6. Start from the Thing That Takes the Longest to do
That is, if all your tasks are equal in importance. By doing the longest thing first, you can plan the route to the rest easily in your head. Using our earlier list, supermarket would be first, followed by whichever is closest and so on.
7. Don’t Waste Time
It’s very easy to get distracted, I know. You’re there suddenly you see that great big banner saying the electronics are 25% off today, you suddenly think just a look won’t hurt... By the end of it you lost time, focus and possibly money you didn’t have to spend because A) electronics weren’t on your list and B) nothing in your house is broken, so there was no real need for that new buy.
8. Visualise What You Want to Have Done by the End of the Day
I use this tip not just with my errands but with just about everything I want to do. It’s very easy and surprisingly powerful as your mind and body work better if it has a clear set of goals. In my head I visualise what I have to do and write down the 5 things I definitely want to have done by the end of the day. Further down the page I write 2 things I’ll may be able to do if I have time. I then use the tips above to speed them up and voila, usually by midday I’ve done most of the things in my list.
Those are my ways to save time and they work greatly for me, but if you have any suggestions on how you save time on errands, leave a comment... I’d love to hear it!