Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top 5 Tuesday: Tips to Make Your Life (a little) Easier

For the past two years I've awaited the day when I would "just" have to work. On my 12+ hour grad school days I would daydream of having a full time job and finally having time to do everything. Well I was wrong.

I definitely have more time now than a few grad school semesters, but this past spring I actually had a pretty sweet schedule. Now I don't typically get home until 6:30pm from the gym, then it's time to make dinner. If Mr. Charming has practice (he coaches high school sports) then we eat even later. I tidy up, get things ready for the next day and like to be in bed by 10pm and read until 11pm. Then it all starts again.

So we're really talking about a three and a half hour window at night to actually accomplish anything. Wait...what? (ps. who gets that reference?)

The other day I tweeted:
Take the extra 10 seconds to unsubscribe from emails vs. just deleting. 
You'll thank yourself tomorrow 
And you'll see below it was actually useful advice, unlike my typical random twitter posts about what I'm doing or thinking. Hmm... So from there I decided to share some tips that I've either always had or have discovered to save some time and make life (a little) easier. 

1. Unsubscribe From Unwanted Emails
You all know you get them (I see you nodding your head), those daily/weekly/monthly emails from stores or organizations with coupons/sales/announcements/etc. When I finally sit down at my personal inbox at night going through those first makes the task so daunting. So for the ones you always immediately delete, take the time to hit unsubscribe. They did it and you should too...
2. Prepare the Night Before
Choose an outfit, layout your clothes, and make your lunch the night before. I know your mom always tried to get you to do it in high school, and you always wished you could in college. Well now it's time to be a grown up and actually do it. I absolutely hate being rushed in the morning so this has really helped to save twenty a few minutes of trying on everything in my closet before I find something suitable.

3. Plan & Prepare Your Meals for the Week
Another no brainer, but so great. I personally don't care for all of those little chalkboards or displays on the wall for the menu (this ain't no restaurant!) but a simple list will do. I just picked up these awesome notepads from the Target dollar spot and they are perfect. On Sundays I pick a meal for each day, shop and then prepare. Each meal I make involves some sort of chopping or dicing of vegetables so I've been trying to do that ahead of time on Sunday and keep them in tupperware until needed. Time saver for sure!

A wee bit crinkled from actually taking it shopping!
4. Separate Your Gmail Inbox
I discovered this recently and it's changed my life. This is a tip for Gmail users, I have no clue if it works with any other email accounts. Go to Setting-->Inbox-->Inbox Type and change to "Priority Inbox", then adjust "Inbox Sections."

I've now separated my inbox into four sections: Unread, Starred, Follow-up and Everything Else. This way what's new is always on top and needs to be filtered or responded to, things that are important enough I need to keep in view (and not file in a folder) are starred, and when I open something and can't respond right away it goes to Follow Up. My goal has been to answer through all of my Follow Up items each night. Then any read messages that aren't filed or marked will filter into Everything Else.

5. Coupon Codes
Now here's a tip for everyone. It may not actually make life easier, but it will make life cheaper! I've only started doing this a few months ago and have no clue how I never thought of it before. Whenever you're going to buy something online Google "Coupon codes for XYZ store". Mostly likely you'll find something that works. I've found a free shipping one for Tervis Tumblers and some additional 10% and 15% ones for other places. It really can't get any simpler than that!

Hope these can be useful, do you have any great easy tips for making life a little more simple?


Amy said...

These are all great tips! I've heard such great things about meal planning, I need to try that!

Charlotte said...

I unsubscribed to two email lists yesterday because of this post! :)

I also almost drove to Target in the rain last night hoping they'd have this same menu planner. I need one!

April Marie said...

These are pretty awesome tips. Isn't that meal planner divine? I got one some weeks ago at Target. Talk about a life saver!