The year is quickly coming to a close - but there's still so much to do! Do you ever wish there were more hours in a day? Do you sometimes get to 5pm and wonder where the day went? What exactly did you achieve? Peoples' lives are getting busier and busier, but not necessarily more efficient. If this sounds vaguely familiar, we've got the top 10 tips that will help you save time, money and effort. And, generally make everyday life that little bit easier...
Top 10 tips to save time, money and effort
1). Stick to time boxes
And, to be even more efficient, break them into slots of 2 minutes, 5 minutes and 30 minutes. The 2-min slot is for quick, immediate things like replying to an e-mail or taking the bin bags out. The 5-min slot is actually to break down much bigger tasks into 5-min boxes. Before you know it, you'll be nearly done. And the 30-min slot is for when you need to sit down and solidly concentrate on something for at least 30 minutes. Do only that task and don't be interrupted by e-mails, calls or chit chat.
2). Don't let e-mails drag you down
Rather than breaking your day up by answering each mail as it comes through, designate 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon simply to responding to mails. In that time, be decisive. Try to reply, action or file each mail. So that they're not hanging around in your inbox for days.
3). Online shop
This is something that really helps you save time, money and effort - especially these days. Most products are now available to shop online, so you don't have to drive to a mall, find parking, stand in a queue etc. Have a clear shopping list and stick to it, and your goods will be delivered promptly. There are also loads of sales and discounts for you to look out for.
4). Keep things in the right place
Ever spent 10 minutes in the morning searching for your wallet and keys before you leave the house? So your day starts late and you're in a bad mood? To save time and effort, keep essentials like keys, bags, wallets and - today - masks in a central place. The saying 'a place for everything and everything in its place' is old but true.
5). Do a night time sweep
Don't worry, not with a broom. Before you go to bed, do a scan of the rooms in your house to see if anything needs to be cleared or organised. To make your mornings a bit smoother. Put dishes in the kitchen, take your briefcase or bag to the entrance hall, pack away toys or blankets, fill water bottles and put them in the fridge. It'll take 5 minutes and you'll be grateful for it the next day.
6). Prepare for the next day
While you're keeping things in their proper place, be aware of things you might need the next day. Are you doing a presentation, do you need to take a specific file to work, is it PE day at school? Gather anything you need for the next day and put it all in one place. So it's easy to collect on your way out the next morning. Definitely a time- and effort-saving hack.
7). Switch off the lights
How often do lights in your home and office just stay on, simply because they always are. We're in South Africa, and our local sunshine is pretty strong. Check a room before you leave it and switch off any lingering lights. Even if you turn off a light for just a few seconds, it'll save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again. And you'll see a difference on your electric bill.
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8). Be dustbin savvy
It's your job to take out the garbage, right? Keep a roll of bin gabs at the bottom of your bin, so that when you take a bag out there's another one there for you to pull into place. This old office-cleaner's tip is simple and it works.
9). Don't be on standby
If you switch something off, do it at the plug to save electricity - and money. Before you go to bed, check that things like lamps, appliances and even the TV has been switched off at the plug. And don't charge phones overnight, they probably don't need 8 hours on the charger.
10). Remember the microwave hack
A common home or office pet peeve is a dirty microwave. Everyone uses it, and few of us remember to clean it. If something has splattered and dried in the microwave, place a bowl of water inside and 'cook' until the microwave is all steamy. Then, it's easy to wipe the grime away. To improve the smell, add vinegar or lemon juice to the water.