Automated Systems to Incorporate Into Your Everyday Life

When sending out emails, you don’t type out the same letter over and over.  You have a template saved that you simply open and send.

Why aren’t you doing this for the rest of your life?

Automation isn’t a bad thing.  Especially when you’ve got so much to do.  Why not embrace implementing a few systems to help you streamline your daily chores?  It’s such an incredible time saver.

And your time is valuable, isn’t it?

Grocery Shopping

You tend to buy many of the same items over and over, so why aren’t you using a master grocery/pantry list to work from?

The way it works is that you compile a list of most of the items that you use on a consistent basis that you can refer to and check off such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, condiments, etc.

There should be blank spaces at the end of each category so that you can add in new items that you want to try or items that you only occasionally need to purchase such as deodorant, etc.

If you are handwriting your list, you’ll want to photocopy it so that you always have a blank copy ready.  If you compose yours on the computer, be sure to print out a number of them.

Each week (or however often you shop), you’ll refer to your list, fridge and cupboards and decide what needs replenishing.  Are you out of milk?  Add it to your list.  You were going to make a recipe tonight, but you need thyme and butter.  Add those too.

Sarah wrote about really neat grocery lists last week, but there are a ton of them online to get ideas from.

Note: If you tend to shop at the same place, I suggest compiling your list by the aisles.  It will shave time off your shopping like you wouldn’t believe.

Cleaning the House

Hopefully this is something you’re doing on a regular basis.  And no doubt you’re using specific products for each room – bathroom, kitchen and other rooms.

Consolidate your supplies for each room into a bucket or basket that has a handle.  If you have the space, store it in the room that it’s designated for.  If you don’t, put it with the rest of your cleaners.  That way, when it’s time to clean the bathroom, you’ve got all your supplies in hand and you don’t have to spend time hunting through all of the bottles and containers for the ones you need.

It’s such a small thing, but boy does it make a difference in your time!

Getting Ready

Many people I know have never streamlined their routine for getting ready, which floors me.  This is when you want your wasted time lessened as much as possible!  Just think – if you had more time before work you could either sleep in later (place roar of cheering crowd here) or spend more time lingering over coffee and the paper, go for a run, spend time with the kids, etc.!

All you need to do is:

1.  Set your clothes out the night before.  Many people resist this, so if you’re one of those people, then at least organize your closet into sections – pants, blouses, sweaters, dresses, etc. per season – and you’ll be able to grab something quickly without having to sort through the whole thing each and every morning.

2.  Assemble all of your makeup into one place.  Do the same with your skincare products, brush, hairdryer and whatever else you need to get yourself ready for the day.  Why run from room to room frenzied every morning?

2.  Have a set place for your keys, purse, briefcase, work files and whatever else you need to bring with you each day.  Make a habit of putting them here and you’ll always be able to grab them and go!

3.  If you make your lunch but often forget it, put a note on your front door – Don’t forget lunch! There’s nothing wrong with having to be reminded, and it’s better than a grumbly stomach come 12 o’clock.

I’ve listed 3 places in which you can streamline your life, but there are so many more -, routines at work, things you do with friends or family, opening and closing your cottage … this is just the beginning!

I hope that this helps you gather more time for yourself each day and takes the drudgery out of your daily tasks.

Me?  I’m off to pick up a few things I’m out off (let’s see, my list says coffee, juice, chicken stock and toothpaste).  It won’t take long at all…

Stephanie Dickison is the author of the recent book, The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy About Writing & Working From Home, which covers her career as book, music and restaurant critic.  She has been a journalist for over a decade and now spends much of her time writing about travel, food, beauty, style and celebrities for various publications and websites.

When she’s not writing, she’s eating, cooking, organizing, filing, making lists in sumptuous notebooks (you must use your beautiful journals) and colour-coding her ever evolving calendar.

She is one of the few writers still using technology AND paper.  But at least her paper is organized into pretty file folders…