Yes, unsurprisingly, the biggest drawback I have with my job is how much of my precious time it takes up. It’s 9:30-6:30 five days per week, plus a little over an hour commuting each day, which adds up to fifty hours out of my week that I can’t be writing (or exercising or showering or sleeping or planning my wedding or doing any of the many other things people need to do in life. And I don’t even have kids yet).
I really wish they’d invent half-jobs, or three-quarters jobs (I’d gladly take a pay cut for some time back) but sadly it doesn’t seem to work like that (yet?)
So here’s a list of some time-saving tips I’ve come up with over the past few years that helps me get in more writing time (and more sanity).
1. Shop online Is Amazon evil? It’s something I’ve had to struggle with, for sure. I still try and buy my books elsewhere, but for everything else, I just can’t justify shopping anywhere else. Anything I need, within 2 days it shows up at my door, no minimum required with a Prime membership. Living in a city, where I can’t just hop in my car and drive over to the mall and get everything I need but rather have to take several trips for all the things, Amazon has been a huge timesaver.
2. Shop for groceries online Fresh Direct. The cheapest food on earth? No, but in NYC it’s really not that much pricier than the corner bodega. And it shows up at your door. When farmers’ markets are in season, I switch to getting my produce from the one they have right outside my Path stop, but in the winter nearly everything comes from FD.
3. Cook in bulk I’m not going to tell you to get take-out every night of the week in lieu of cooking because A) I love cooking, it de-stresses me and B) it’s generally healthier to make your own food. What you can do to save time is cook things that will last you for several days, so on weeknights when you get home late, you don’t need to spend an hour cooking; you just need to spend ten minutes reheating and setting the table. Good examples: soups, chili, quiches, pot pies (make 2 at once!) Lots more of my faves on my Pinterest.
4. Outsource cleaning Having a steady income means I can afford to outsource. You know what time-consuming thing I hate doing? Cleaning. I hate it. But I also don’t like living in filth, so I have a cleaning lady. I stressed a bit about the cost when I first got one, but it’s so, so worth the time and energy. Plus the lady who cleans for us is a recent immigrant with limited English-speaking skills who really needs the money. Win-win.
5. Outsource other stuff Have you heard of Task Rabbit? You can hire people to do any annoying thing you don’t want to do through this site. I haven’t availed myself of its services yet, but the moment a trip to the hardware store looms in my future, I’m certain I will be. I’ve heard good things. (If only I could hire them to go to the DMV…)
6. Dry shampoo Perhaps unnecessary if you have short, low-maintenance hair, but I can’t pull off short hair. My hair is long and annoying and time-consuming if I let it be. I discovered the greatest dry shampoo ever last year, and now I only have to wash and do my hair about once a week, which saves me several hours on a monthly basis.
7. Home exercise No time to go to the gym? Who has time to go to the gym? I am fortunate that for the first time in my life, I have an actual gym in my building, but before then, I saved time (and money!) by doing workout videos online. YouTube has tons of great stuff; I do all my yoga on YouTube now (though if you’re a beginner, I’d recommend starting at a studio so you get the moves down with a teacher first). And I haven’t it tried it yet, but I have a friend who swears by Daily Burn.
Those are the biggest time-saving tips I’ve come up with. What am I missing? Let me know!