More than 20 years ago, American Airlines saved $40,000 by removing just one olive from each salad tray in First class. This fun fact translates to your life where the smallest lifestyle changes can yield the most dramatic gains. Here are 10 ways to steal more time from your own life:
- Organize Masterfully
Triathletes win and lose races in the transitions. Make sure your “supplies’ are in the right places. Every member of your family needs her own equivalent of the cubby and her backpack, lunchbox, homework, and shoes all needs to live there.
- Outsource – to Your Kids
Figure out the age appropriate activities that your kids can do on their own. Get dressed? Pour cereal? Even put him in charge of managing the schedule. An added bonus is that you are helping him towards independence at the same time.
- Beware of the Flex Time Fantasy
The beauty of 9-5 is that you don’t need to think about your hours. The downside of flexibility is that it adds new daily time decisions to your already chaotic life. Even if you are in a position to make your own hours, live your life by a routine daily schedule or you will pay dearly in wasted time.
- Remove Complexity
If they can’t yet tie a shoelace, buy Velcro sneakers. If the politics and scheduling of your carpool adds to family stress, stop doing it.
- Hunt for Opportunity
Look for areas of your life that you can be wiser about. Your pre-school has a 15 minute drop off window? Drop off at the beginning, not the end, and get an extra 15 minutes each day. You will be less rushed and your child gets to see the room fill up rather than entering an already full classroom.
- Identify Kid Friendly Errands
Time doing errands can be turned into bonding time when you do it together. Never Fill your gas tank without your kids. Same goes for the supermarket and the car wash. All kid-friendly.
- Go Local
No more commuting to errands. Stop trekking to the pediatric dentist 30 minutes away when there is a great one in your town. Loyalty is great but not when it takes you three hours round trip for a haircut. There is a great stylist within a few miles of you. Find her.
- Create a Meal Bank
Make and freeze three of the week’s meals with your kids in advance on the weekend and plan out the entire week’s dinners on Sunday night so that you aren’t left planning under time pressure.
- Be Regular
Stop scrambling for last minute resources. Book a weekly Saturday night sitter instead of calling around at the last minute each time. If you need a regular manicure, add a weekly time to your schedule.
- Do It the Night Before
Things take twice as long when your kids are in need of your attention so take 10 minutes when the house is quiet the night before to pick out their clothes and set the table for the next morning’s breakfast.