Hello SOTGC community,
As professionals, I think most of us are conscious of reducing stress, saving money, and maximizing our time, so I decided to write a three-part blog post on how I have minimized hassle and maximized my time and money.
This month’s post addresses different ways that professional women can maximize the use of their time during those extra busy periods. Whether you have a “busy season” to gear up for, or one particular week out of the month always seems to have more of a packed calendar, here are some time-saving tips to help you stay in your routine and keep your sanity!
- Dedicate a few hours one day a week to preparing for the week ahead. On Sunday I make sure that any clothes that need to be ironed are ironed, I tidy up the house, and I grocery shop.
- Diet is an important component in feeling well and having energy, but, for me, cooking and eating are the last thing on my mind when I am super busy. When my schedule is jam packed, I don’t even think about eating until I’m starving. Then I usually resort to fast food because it is convenient, however, it leaves me feeling icky. And I don’t like to buy prepackaged frozen meals from the store because I never feel good after eating them since they are loaded with sodium. So, instead of opting for fast food or prepackaged frozen dinners, I make my own frozen food. Every six weeks or so, I devote the majority of a day to cooking. I’ll make things like: soup that is vegetable-based, a reduced-fat lasagna with fat-free cottage cheese instead of ricotta for added protein, turkey chili, or baked chicken tenders – all of which freeze well. During my busiest weeks I rely on my homemade frozen meals to feed my family for dinner. This way, we all enjoy home cooking even when I don’t have time to cook and I know that we are all eating food that is relatively healthy.
- Juice! When I need extra energy to make it through a busy day, I turn to juicing. There are even online services that will deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to your home from the farmers market so you don’t need to go to the grocery store. Juicing is much quicker than making an entire meal and it makes me feel great.
- Pick out your outfit for the next day the night before. Surprisingly, this takes about 10 minutes off of my morning routine. If I’m preparing for a hectic week (rather than just a busy day), I take this a step further and pick out a week’s worth of outfits.
- Make a schedule and stick to it! Before going into your busy week, look at your calendar and decide when you can fit in workouts, time with family and friends, and meals. It is imperative to your health that you don’t forgo eating, workouts, or even time with friends and family. I know when my schedule is overloaded, I usually neglect all three of these, and by the end of the week I am unfulfilled and feel guilty for neglecting my friends, family, and health! A little pre-planning can help alleviate this. For example, the third week of the month is always a crazy week for me. The weekend before, I talk to my fiancé and see what his schedule and the children’s schedule will be. Then I try to plan at least two dinners where we can be home together with the kids. If I need to work late, then my fiancé and I set aside at least one hour when I get home where we can watch a TV show together. This allows us to spend some time together while decompressing. I also schedule working out, and I bring healthy snacks with me to work if I’m going to have a late dinner or happy hour immediately after work. This helps me avoid over indulging in food and allows me to keep my energy up.
- Get enough sleep! This may sound counter-intuitive because you need to utilize every waking hour, but if you don’t get proper sleep your productivity will be significantly reduced.
- Keep your tank full – literally! Make sure your car has a full tank, and don’t let it go below one quarter of a tank of fuel. This way, even if you are running late, you won’t run out of gas.
- Utilize available concierge services – When I worked in corporate America, my office building had a dry cleaning business that would pick up and deliver laundry weekly to my office. This was a big time saver. Also, there was a car wash stationed in the underground parking structure, which was very convenient. If you don’t have access to amenities like these, do some research and see what businesses will meet you at your home or office.
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