The only thing better than saving money is saving time, and having more of it too. We all know that life is speeding up, not slowing down, and with more demands and a quicker pace, you probably don't need me to tell you that finding precious time to do "nothing" or get everything done is getting harder.
Insurance company, , who love trying to save us time with their online services (you can get online car insurance quotes, manage your insurance online, and there's a same-day turnaround on express claims) asked me to come up with some time-saving hacks that might help you. Some of them I already try to put into practice, while others I'm still trying to initiate.
Here are some time-saving hacks:
Wake up a bit earlier
Getting your stuff together and getting a head start on your kids makes you more productive for the rest of the day. You could also use the extra 15-20 minutes to have a cup of coffee, relax, or get ahead on some admin/emails.
Grocery shop just once a week
If possible, do grocery shopping for perishables once a week. Try make a list and stick to it – eventually the routine of shopping once a week will encourage you to stick to it, and get by without more regular trips to the shops.
Do online grocery shopping for the bigger stuff
Each month, I order all my cleaning products and general groceries from Pick n Pay and the R60 delivery fee doesn't come close to the amount I save in time – and stress. I do the same thing with pet food – it's so convenient, and I don't have to find a vet/pet shop open after hours, or lug heavy bags.
Take an Uber to work if you have a lot on your plate
While this might seem like a costly time saver, with Uber's new decreased pricing, it might still make sense. A few weeks ago, my car battery was flat, so I took an Uber to work. In half an hour, I managed to do a lot of admin on my phone and laptop, and by the time I got to work, I was so relaxed, probably making me even more productive.
Prepare the night before
This is not a new one, but it's something not all of us take the time to do. This is my biggest time and anxiety saver – prepping my son's lunch, getting his uniform ready, making sure his bags are packed the night before. On my side, I get my gym/running clothes ready if I'm exercising the next morning, as well as lay out my work clothes. I'm sure that the 15 minutes of prep time at night earns me more time than that the morning after.
Learn to say no
This is a hard one, and it goes hand in hand with prioritising what's really important, but it really is okay to say no to a social arrangement or volunteering for a committee if you don't have the time or capacity.
Book doctors' appointments early
Depending on the type of doctor you go to, the later in the day you go, the longer you wait. Where possible, try and book an appointment for early in the day.
Assess what your time wasters are
Do you check old friends' family pictures on Facebook? Do you battle to find your keys in the morning? Do you struggle to choose something to wear in the morning? Find out what is sapping your time unnecessarily, and take steps to rememdy it (like reading a book instead of going on Facebook, or putting up a rack for your keys).
Cook ahead on the weekend
If you can, prepare meals on the weekend for the coming week. Lasagnes, stews, soups, chicken bakes and mince can last a few days in the fridge, and can be frozen for when you're ready to heat and eat. By doubling the recipe, you can also freeze more.
Keep snacks in your car
Ever fetched your child from school, and then had to stop at the shops because they're hungry or thirsty? Eliminate the need to stop – and potential tantrums – by stocking up with non-perishable snacks and bottles of water or boxes of juice.
It's okay not to always reply to non-urgent Whatsapps and emails, and instead, answer in batches, especially at night when quality time with your family usually trumps non-critical stuff.