You're a busy professional. Often we think we need to run certain errands or buy certain things to keep our life going, which can add undue stress as we try to fit it all in around work. Here are a few things I do to save time, so I can focus on what matters most.
Shop Your Closet
If you’re thinking about a pair of new shoes, or that fantastic new sweater, or that your wardrobe really needs a fall update, think again before you buy. Is it something that can go with a skirt you already have, and with the pants in your closet? Take a look at how many outfits can you get out of it. Can it be dressed down and made elegant?
It’s important to not think of clothes as just one item. You have to think about if it wants to "date" the rest of your wardrobe. Shopping less and having more outfits is a great way to save time.
Buy It For 10 Years
Next time you eye a great new scarf, sports coat or funky new sweater, think about whether you’d want to wear it in ten years. Well-made clothes can last a very long time.
Somehow, our media has educated us that we need to shop two, three, five times a year. We continue to build up our closets with clothes that we don’t wear--and don’t give away.
Instead, encourage yourself to think about whether this piece is something you would love to keep for five or 10 years.
Outsource The Laundry
You can call a 1-800 number and the company will pick it up and return it for you. No more before or after work drive-bys to get your dry-cleaning. Let them help you keep your clothes pressed and organized. We forget (or maybe we don't) how much time it takes to fold!
Don't Let Office Lunches Go To Waste
You walk by a tray of crackers, a handful of olives, or sandwiches and fruit in the conference room. If you don't take it, it might get thrown out, and what a waste considering that nearly 1.3 billion people in the world are living on less than a dollar a day.
We can be grateful for what is available. Put any extras in a plastic bag and save it for a snack or lunch later. You just saved time in putting together a meal, and a trip to get take out or to the grocery store.
Raid The Pantry
Sometimes, we think we don't have any food at home. Yet if you pretend you are moving, you'd want to use up what you have. There is probably pasta, tomato soup, crackers, some turkey slices, cheese and carrot sticks. Put together a simple, make-shift lunch for a day. We can use what we have, and save ourselves an hour of grocery shopping. And what a nice feeling to 'start over' in our kitchen.
Enjoy this process of valuing what we have, saving time, and making your life a little bit easier. Often you might find you already have what you need.
[Image: Flickr user Ilya]