Streamline Your Household and Errands
Episode #3 of the course Streamline your life to have more time for what matters by Liz Huber
Welcome to Day 3!
Today, we are streamlining all your household chores, errands, and other admin tasks.
Let’s start with analyzing how you spend your time. Use your to-do list, calendar, and memory to come up with a comprehensive list of all your duties and note down their frequency (e.g., daily, weekly, or monthly).
Now, look at your list and ask yourself:
• “Do I really need to do this?”
• “If yes, do I really need to do it this often?”
If you focus on the desired outcome of each activity, you might arrive at eye-opening realizations like:
• “I am ironing every single piece of clothing, but actually, it’s only necessary for shirts.”
• “I am driving the kids to soccer practice twice a week, and our neighbors do the same. Maybe we could switch up so I only need to drive once a week.”
Once you have stripped down your chores to their bare minimum, it’s time to optimize what is left. Here are suggestions you can use to get your errands done most efficiently:
Group together similar tasks with the same frequency and location. Then, assign time slots to your batches, and add them as recurring to-dos in your task management tool and as time blocks in your calendar. This way, they are integrated into your daily schedule (which supports building a habit around it), but your to-do list also keeps reminding you until they are actually done.
Here are some examples:
• personal finance Fridays: using the last hour in the office on Fridays to pay all your bills and review your credit card statements
• daily evening wrap-up: quickly tidying up and preparing food and clothes for the next day before going to bed
Recurring admin task batches in todoist
Recurring task batches in Google Calendar
Create a stock list for items you always need, like shampoo and toilet paper. Check your list every week, note down what is running out, and buy it all at once. Never leave the house without your list! (Hint: If you keep the list in your task management app, you’ll always have it on your phone!)
Stock list in Trello
Do quarterly shopping trips to buy stuff in bulk instead of every week. This way, you can also strategically benefit from store promotions and coupons.
Do your errands on your way home from the office so you only need to leave the house once. Plan out two to three different routes that take you past certain spots like the grocery store and the dry cleaner.
Now, let’s go a step further and see how you can use technology to save time:
Set up automatic bill payments and recurring money transfer orders. But make sure to regularly review your bank statements to avoid being overcharged or paying for subscriptions you don’t use.
Set up delivery subscriptions. Amazon Subscribe & Save works great for customized recurring orders for pantry, personal care, and household items. Specialized services like Dollar Shave Club (razor blades), Sock Fancy (socks), and Stitch Fix (complete outfits) let you automate various other purchases based on your needs.
Use machines to do the work for you. You are probably already using a dishwasher and laundry machine, but what about a robot vacuum cleaner, an automatic lawn mower, or smart-connected home gadgets?
Finally, these suggestions can help you outsource anything that can’t be automated:
Order things online and get them delivered to your home. Many online shops even allow you to save your shopping list so you can re-order everything you need with just one click!
Hire household help that fits your budget, and schedule through websites like Care.com. Important: Put your ego aside, be willing to experiment with different hires, and take necessary precautions to keep your valuables safe!
Hire on-demand runners for your errands through sites like TaskRabbit. Whether it’s delivering flowers, picking up something at the other end of town, or getting help with moving out, no job is too odd to outsource!
Hire a virtual assistant to outsource anything from designing a flyer for a party to planning a trip and researching the best summer camps for your kids.
Take Action Today: Take one recurring admin task on your list, and find a way to streamline it!
Tomorrow, we’ll have a look at how you can apply the five-step process to your food intake!
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