Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Let's Get Practical

Every once in a blue moon I like to throw in a practical post. We'll see if this post qualifies.

Here are a few ideas I use to stay organized and save time.

I love my Yahoo calendar! It's the easiest thing in the world to add to it so that it will send me email reminders when Tom or I have appointments or when I want to remember birthdays or certain tv programs, etc. I can program the emails to repeat every week or month or once a year, etc. I programmed my calendar to tell me to pay our bills every two weeks--what a money-saver that's been! I've also programmed it to tell me to snail mail birthday cards enough days ahead so they'll arrive on time. I love my Yahoo calendar, especially because it is free.

When possible, I tape tv shows and then fast-forward through the commercials and thus save time while watching them. Those of you who are blessed to have DVR's or TiVo can turn all that into an art form. (We used to have a DVR.... ahhh, those were the days).

Years ago I put together a master list of tasks I should do daily and each day of the week. Not a minute-by-minute list (those are guaranteed to fail because Life's not like that). But rather, a list with five or six daily tasks which, if I accomplish each day, my week will run more smoothly. If it's been a crazy week, I can then look at the list at week's end and catch up on what I missed. It took a few weeks to come up with a list which worked for me, but it was worth it.

I exercise while watching tv, thus "killing two birds with one stone." This goes for ironing and cooking and washing dishes, too.

I stock up on non-perishables in the autumn so to avoid later risking my life in a snowstorm all for a can of olives. This also saves me from shopping around the holidays while stores are crowded. Also, year-around I shop early in the mornings to beat the crowds and thus get out of the supermarket faster.

I do the majority of my Christmas shopping online from the quiet and comfort of my home. I also always buy my postage stamps online and it's online where I spend my monthly allowance, as well. How wonderful to save time and energy and gas money and my nerves, too!

I also renew my library books online if I'm not going to be able to drive down to the library that day or week. I almost never have to pay fines like I used to in the old days.

I don't just buy a little bit of gas for our car at a time--I buy a lot so that I'm not turning around and going back there in a few days.

I put together my own cookbook of easy recipes and lists of meals. Into that binder, I inserted the lists and recipes into plastic sleeves so they can be cleaned. Also in that notebook I keep information like helpful household hints, phone numbers for house repair people, and a list of holidays with notes about which ones mean no mail, no school, no trash pick-up or if the town library will be closed.

I keep all my stationery supplies together in a box so that everything--paper, cards, stickers, address book and stamps--is together and accessible. I also keep my stapler, scissors and scotch tape on my desk, all in one place.

On our refrigerator I keep a piece of paper where we write down any items we've run out of. I then take this paper to the supermarket with me to use as a list. (I keep markers in a little magnetized box on the side of the fridge--markers work better than regular pens when writing horizontally.)

I typed-up a list of the items I buy in our supermarket in their aisle-order and I keep it in my purse. That way, I can refer to it (whether or not I've remembered to bring my refrigerator list) so that I won't forget anything.

I straighten the house each morning, that way it never gets out of control. That may sound like a lot, but really, it's not when it's done every day.

I get up at least an hour (or two) before Tom does so I can have my quiet time, drink coffee, read and wake up slowly and calmly and quietly. I can't even tell you what those extra quiet hours do for me!

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