5 Shortcuts That Will Save Time & Your Sanity

5 Shortcuts That Will Save Time & Your Sanity

Copyright © Stephanie Dickison 2010.

It’s amazing to me that it can take years to realize the easy way to do something. I mean, after all, it’s not like we learned how to manage our paperwork, apply makeup or cook a meal in less than 30 minutes in school. You figured it out along the way and have only over the years finessed ways to do things in an easier/better/faster fashion.

I’ve recently discovered some ways to improve how I do routine tasks. I thought I’d share them and maybe they’ll spark ideas for you too!

1. Highlight the due date on your bill

If you’re still receiving paper bills, when you take it out of the envelope, highlight the pay by date. This will save you having to search for it again when it comes times to pay it. It’s such a simple thing (like switching to using scissors for cutting the ends of green beans instead of a knife), but since I’ve started doing it, it’s made it so much more manageable!

2. Write everything down in one place

I write about this a lot because it is honestly one of the biggest time savers I’ve done in the last year. Even though you may want to write something down on a sticky note or the back of an envelope JUST THIS ONCE, be strong and wait to get up and get your notebook (or laptop or cellphone – however you decide to keep your notes). You’ll never have to search through a pile of papers or a bunch of files for your information again.

This alone will change everything.

3. Do tasks on a regular schedule

I have an awful memory, so when it came to something as simple as shampooing my cat or watering the plants, I’d struggle to remember when I last did it. Both the cat and the plants started to look pretty ragged, so I had to do something. Now I have what I’ve deemed “Shampoo Sundays.” I’m able to remember these items and keep to a schedule because I made it a regular, consistent occurrence. Both Cosmo and our plants look great and I no longer have to expend mental energy over when I have to do anything.


4. Create space in your mind and the time will follow

Often we believe we don’t have time to do the things we want to do. But it’s funny how no matter what’s going on in your life, you do make room for certain things – the things that are important to you. I have come to the conclusion that it is mostly a matter of telling ourselves we can do it and giving permission to do something that is important, yet isn’t deemed “work” or “urgent.” I never know how I’m going to fit one more thing in, but somehow I create the space for it.

Write down what you want to do and just watch what happens!

5. Sometimes it pays to spend

Make is easy on yourself. If this means buying pre-sliced veggies, paying for a virtual assistant or getting a babysitters so that you can get things done, do it. It always comes down to time versus money – and sometimes it’s really worth it to spend that little bit extra to get yourself a little extra breathing room.

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…