Life Savors

This was originally created in 2011, but most of it still rings true!

David and I spend a lot of our free weekends decompressing from the busy week, getting exercise, and of course enjoying food! I refuse to surrender my weekend and evenings to chores/errands, so I try to get as much done during the week as possible.

I’ve always liked puzzles, so if I stumble upon a more efficient way to do something I’m going to share. Here are some the timesavers I use to juggle work, housekeeping, health/fitness; reduce stress, and more to make room for quality time. In many cases, technology helps me get the most multi-tasking bang for my buck.

What tricks have you discovered to make more time for the good stuff? Please leave a comment to inspire the rest of us!

Life Savors, A-Z

Aladdin coffee mug – Dishwasher safe, recycled/recyclable, and BPA-free to boot. #winning

Amazon Prime – David hooked me on this; for $80/year, you get free 2-day shipping and $4/per item for overnight. And nowadays you can pretty much order anything on Amazon.

Bananas – Portable, purse-friendly, soothes an upset stomach and uber healthy to boot; still testing out this theory but I think it may also help with coffee breath in the office.

Hands-free wannabe – No bluetooth or navigation in your car? Hook up your phone to this bluetooth jack if you have an a/v input; then hook this clip on your steering wheel, and you can use speakerphone, read Google Maps and switch your Pandora station without veering off the road. Be careful though!

Car wash multitasking – I’ve been known to change into yoga clothes while my car is going through a car wash, and felt more pride than I probably should have felt shame. But I made it to class! Think of the possibilities…

Dishes and dishing – Turn on the Today Show or E! to pass the time while you empty/load.

Dishwashing gloves – Who knew my grandma’s classic kitchen accessory would cut down on dish prep time and dry hands (hotter water gets the dishes rinsed off and in the dishwasher much faster).

Free weights – Let’s face it, our bodies soften at a rapid rate post-college. By having a set of 6- and 10-pound weights at home, I can squeeze in a quick workout while dinner is in the oven. Catch up on your DVR while pairing any of the following (three exercises per body part, four sets of 10 reps each): biceps, chest, shoulders, triceps, and even legs.

Gilt Groupe – This may seem like a stretch but shopping with Gilt’s iPad app beats impulsive mall shopping any day! Since I became a devoted customer, my monthly spend on clothes has remained steady b/c I only pick out items that flatter my shape or add some glam to my wardrobe for pretty incredible savings. It’s quality over quantity. Now I hardly ever step foot in clothing stores, which size things so differently from each other anyway. The shipping may seem pricy but it covers the cost of a return/exchange.

Greeting cards in bulk – I’m loving the cute cards that come in this box for all occasions. Now, if they’d only double up on babies and weddings, we’d be set.

Housecleaner – Twice a month cleanings for $150 saves at least 20 hours of weekend time scrubbing and vacuuming per month; make sure they use non-toxic products and are a trustworthy company.

Housecleaning boot camp/dance party – I will admit I’ve only done this a couple of times when I had mornings to myself and didn’t have to leave so early for work. Crank up the music and literally sprint around the house to put away all your crap and straighten up. Dance while you empty/load the dishwasher. Cardio and a clean house? Yes please.

iPhone – The apps make this device a lifesaver. Add a credit card/ID case and it doubles as a back-saving purse or geek’s clutch.

Kindle – I love my iPad, but it doesn’t travel as well as the Kindle does. You never know when you’ll be stuck in line somewhere or waiting for a friend at a restaurant. And you can actually see the screen in sunlight!

Online ordering/reservations – David and I are fortunate to live in a tech hub where mom & pop sushi joints, hair salons, auto repair shops and spas have converted to online booking systems. Cuts down on several phone calls to schedule, reschedule, or confirm each appointment. Plus many download right into your calendar.

Oranges – Sweet tooth? Thirsty on-the-go but no water bottle? Try an orange instead. Good portable option, just like the banana.

Pandora One – I couldn’t think of a better way to spend $36/year on music; I used to waste a lot of money on iTunes and this gives me my fix without the annoying radio ads (the wors!) – for any mood that suits you!

Raw almonds – Thanks Mom for turning me onto this snack. So easy, fills you up, and you can find them at most gas stations and airports while traveling. No more unhealthy snack excuses!

Safeway grocery delivery – It costs around $10 for delivery but for stocking up twice a month it’s totally worth it. If I’m going to spend any time post-workday in the grocery store, I’m grabbing milk and running through self checkout in one fell swoop.

Shoe shopping at Marshalls – When I’m in desperate need of some new work shoes, or switching seasons, I head to Marshalls. They’re open late, and you know immediately if they have your size. They carry decent brands like BCBG and Michael Kors. And let’s be honest, if you regularly hit the pavement, they’re going to wear out in 1-2 seasons anyway.

Singing in the car – Makes the commute so much more bearable and it has a curious therapeutic effect, not to mention it helps me wake up in the morning!

Spa deals – I really only buy Groupons, LivingSocial and Yelp deals if they involve a skin treatment or massage. It’s such a steal compared to the retail price, and they help keep your skin clear (I prefer back-cials) and reduce stress.

Spray tan – For special events, I always make time for a Versa or Mystic. When you spend as much time in an office as most of us do, the extra bronzing makes all those pictures on Facebook look so much better. And it has a slimming effect.

TripIt Pro – Shameless employer plug… For $49/year, you will be notified anytime your flight status or fare changes, including check-in reminders, delays, cancellations, and if you’re eligible for a flight refund. In-laws picking you up from the airport? Share your itinerary with them so they can know if you’re running late while you’re in the air. Given the craziness of holidays and weddings, this app pays for itself over and over again.

Wash & fold – By outsourcing anything that can handle an industrial wash, I cut my weekly laundry time in half. Leave the delicate colds to me, take my giant bag of towels and linens! Plus they come back folded so they can go straight in the drawer. Wash & fold isn’t cheap, but the time savings is worth it when you both work full-time (and then some), in my book.

Yoga – There are so many benefits, physically and mentally, that I couldn’t think of a more efficient way to spend 60-90 minutes in bare feet and comfortable clothing. Breathing, strength training, increasing circulation, and undoing all the damage of sitting at a desk all day…. all while quieting the “monkey brain” and reducing stress. Perfection.

2 thoughts on “Life Savors

  1. I love it! Thanks so much for sharing.

    I would add_MMA training – While I do practice Yoga and have on and off for years, sometimes I just need to feel a real physical exertion. Its a sort of Yen and Yang in fitness but it works for me. I recommend finding a actual school where you learn how to hit and kick properly. You will be taught to understand and respect the sport.

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