There are several reasons why I am passionate about productivity. I’m a huge fan of working smarter, not harder. The possibilities are endless when you have a few good processes under your belt in order to make life a little bit easier. Here are just a few of my favorite reasons for embracing productivity,
1. Life is Short (and so am I)
Warning: Short girl joke enclosed. But seriously now, life IS short. Do you want to spend it taking care of your to-do list, never having time for fun or enjoyable things, or would you rather spend time doing things you love, with people you love? If you begin thinking about how many hours we spend working, sleeping, eating, cleaning…it’s enough to depress you. I’m not saying sacrifice your sleep for the sake of being productive and getting a bunch of things done, but I am saying that it’s worth it to implement systems and changes in your life to make sure you’re getting done what you need to, in the most efficient way possible.
Here’s a recent example: I grew tired of running to the pet store every other week for dog food for our dog. A pet store trip was at least a 30 minute trip to and from, including store time. 30 minutes doesn’t seem that long, but that’s half of a long lunch break, for me, which I don’t take often anyway. If I’m going to take an hour lunch during my workday, I’d rather spend it doing something more enjoyable and fulfilling than errands. If I had my son with me and we stopped for dog food, say, after I’d picked him up from school, then that trip became longer, as he would want to check out the fish, the cats for adoption, the small animals in their cages, and pet the other dogs wandering around the store. I looked into options for ordering dog food online and having it be delivered. My first stop was Amazon since we are Prime members and I already pay for that shipping convenience. Sadly Amazon’s prices for the dog food we buy were quite a bit more than we pay at the pet store, so I wasn’t willing to sacrifice that large increase for the convenience. But then my cousin told me about Petsmart online, in which you can subscribe to a dog food shipment to be delivered at regular intervals. The price per bag was even slightly less than what I was paying for it in store. This is a good example of a pretty big win in my book to have a system that helps me and saves me time.
My philosophy lately for shopping has been along these lines: If I have to run to different stores to accomplish what I need, then I may as well save myself the trouble and order it online. Another recent example in my household is when my husband was in need of a certain size bolt for a home improvement project he’s working on for us. We spent a couple of hours on a Saturday morning going to Lowes, then Home Depot, then a specialty woodworking store to try to find the parts he needed, and we couldn’t find it among three stores. He was fretting about where else to try to go to find the size he wanted when I mentioned he should at least check Amazon before running to more stores. Again, this is a convenience we are already paying for with our Prime membership, and I simply didn’t see the point in him spending yet more time running all over town to find these parts. He found the part he needed on Amazon that night and it arrived a couple of days later. He was also happy with the time he’d saved not having to drive to more stores in hopes they have what he wants. Consider implementing some systems like this to save you time, effort, and energy as well.
2. More Time for Hobbies
When you’ve become efficient in how you do life, you have more time for things that you enjoy. I no longer feel guilty if I spend an hour on a Saturday afternoon reading a novel. My husband regularly participates in his remote control car hobby. We spend time most Sundays as a family exploring new areas of our town, trying new restaurants, or just getting in the car and taking a drive to wherever. When you’ve found a way to get the things done that you needed to in an efficient manner, you’ll find that you have more time for these, too. If hobbies and free time are important to you, then consider ways that you can decrease your workload throughout your week. Maybe you order groceries online instead of shopping in a store. Try ordering a birthday gift online instead of hitting the mall. Do one load of laundry every night this week to avoid having to do back to back loads all weekend long. Setup one (or more!) of your bills on autopay and save time bill paying. If there’s something you buy regularly and frequently (such as my dog food example, above) consider subscribing to a service to have it sent to you. All of these little things add up to saving you time, energy and often times, expense.
3. Fewer Things to Take Care Of
I have not fully embraced minimalism, but it is a topic that is of high interest to me and there are many of its concepts that I can relate to and appreciate. I’ve been on a regular decluttering spree in our home for several years. I would not have considered myself a hoarder by any means, but up until a few years ago, there were definitely a lot more things I would hold onto “just because”. Now, I’m a bit more ruthless in what I choose to keep. I’ve pared down my clothing to ones I actually wear on a regular basis, and while I initially wanted to hang onto every little baby item in case we have another child, my husband helped convince me that keeping every item is not necessary. I’ve donated a ton of items, organized others, and have tried to “go digital” with much of our paperwork. I’ve gotten rid of specialty kitchen or cookware items that I don’t use on a normal basis, regularly rotate out our pantry, freezer foods, and medications, and the moment our son outgrows a pair of pants or a shirt, it goes into the donation box. Having fewer things in general means that you have less time devoted to maintaining and storing and cleaning all of the things you have.
4. Reduce Your Stress
This point is HUGE! We as a society live busier lives than ever, and stress can be at an all-time high. If there are moves you can make in your lifestyle to reduce your stress, make those moves! Maybe your kids are enrolled in only one extra-curricular activity at a time. Perhaps you don’t commit to everything you’re asked to do and are instead a little bit choosy over what events you attend, get-togethers that you offer to host, volunteering that you do, and meals that you make.