Life hacks for a part time human
Some days I can conquer the world. Other days sending an email seems in the too hard basket.
I mentioned this to a group of women friends and guess what? Their energy is fluid too - but life still needed us to show up. We could hold a summit on why women are held to different standards, but for now, here's some of my hacks for when I can only be a part time human. They all come under delete, delegate and defer.
Some of these require buying your time back, which isn't possible for everyone. However, seriously think about your hourly rate (even if you aren't earning $ you are worth a LOT) and opportunity cost. For $8 I can buy back an hour of my time and even if you only do that once a week, that's 52 hours you can use to do something that makes you happy or brings in income or both. Not all of my solutions are green, though I do my best. We also have a decent amount of storage. Read on to find out why that's useful.
I'll start with life and write about business next week. I'd love to know your hacks. I'll create a free E-Book we can share around. Ps. I'm not an affiliate for any of these.
I hate to cook and I don't like grocery shopping or planning meals. If you're into this - yay! As for me, I can delegate to my husband who is excellent at both, or I can save us both time via Gobble.
Despite the fact they have trouble finding our house each week, I get 5 ready-to-go meal bags with easy to follow recipes and ingredients. I chose Gobble as they have the shortest prep time - about 15 mins. Yes, I have to log in and pick from a menu, I do this once a month. The other two nights we get take out delivered or make one of our "no brainer" meals, the ingredients for those are delivered along with staples like milk etc. No impulse purchases from wandering grocery aisles and no food wastage. There are many options for food bags and grocery delivery, see which works for you.
Since I can't drive for another six weeks due to foot surgery, I'm also trying a smoothie delivery service.
automation & buy multiples & use delivery services
We have toilet paper, paper towels and tissues on auto order. We accidentally forgot to turn this faucet off at one point and ended up with enough to qualify for prepper status. However, in the great toilet paper panic we distributed extra to neighbors and were lauded as heroes.
I get cleaning supplies & sundries delivered and order several of each at one time. I never run out of anything, from coffee filters to spare toothbrush heads to toilet cleaner to rainbow colored disposable masks.
I pick up 4 bags of coffee beans from a local roaster once a month. If I wasn't so keen on them I'd just order it online.
I have two identical thermos flasks as I never want to be without a cup of tea. One in the dishwasher, one with me.
I have three SAD lights so I don't have to lug them around the house with me, tissues in every room (allergies) and a ton of phone chargers - in the car, in the kitchen, in my office.
I buy limited multiples at Costco (members store with bulk buying options) as we don't need 8 jars of mayonnaise at one time. Plus I find it overwhelming and I don't drive unless it's somewhere fun. BUT I get my prescriptions delivered and my protein drinks & powder. Even if I only need my prescription, and I'm paying the delivery fee, I'd rather have that hour for something else, like a nap. I also use Express Scripts, but sometimes things need signatures.
I have two identical dog harnesses and leashes. My dog gets muddy. One is soaking, one is ready to go. Her dog food is delivered as are her toys, Greenies, treats and poop bags. I have a dog walker (bloody useful with foot surgery). I also recommend dog doors. First world dog... There are also subscription boxes for animals. I mean their supplies, not an "animal of the month" club, fun as that would be. Ever tried gift wrapping a cat?
Mine is electrical now, but when it was petrol (gas) I'd never go below a 1/4 and would always fill completely. Life is too short to keep pulling into gas stations. You'll also find extra supplies like poop bags, sunblock, sunglasses, first aid, the aforementioned chargers and snacks.
I rarely answer the phone, unless it's my sister, who gets an all access pass. I find the phone intrusive and I'm usually booked, whether it's a nap or a client or whatever. My phone thoughtfully transcribes messages, so I can tell at a glance if it needs attention. I encourage everyone to text or message me via messenger, what's app or Voxer, all of which have the option to leave a voice message. When possible I get everyone to book a time to talk/catch up or I will pull out my calendar on the spot and schedule. Yup, even close friends. If I am typing a message I slide to type as I never got the hang of that thumb thing.
I create buffers around everything. With appointments I add time on either side for being stuck in construction to a friend needing an extra ten mins to talk. And I schedule downtime.
I save all passwords to LastPass. My PC now does it automatically. The overall password is saved on my phone and my husband has it as well. I always plan for "being hit by a bus" scenarios.
When someone sends me something I save their return address in my contacts - and that's also where I keep info about people. Nothing sinister, just pet names, or other stuff that is important to them. There are tons of ways to record info for easy access. I have photos of my car license plate, social security (which I can never remember), the kind of wine my husband likes etc. in Notes on my phone. My friend Lydia swears by Evernote, she's an expert on it if you want help. Everything is backed up in the cloud. Whatever you choose, make sure you are comfortable with the security.
WHERE SHOULD I BE NOW?
All my daily appointments (including downtime) are in my Google calendar on my phone. I simply won't remember otherwise.
I use Mint for recording my expenses, but I also check all balances daily and I have a spending plan based on previous expenses and income and projected, plus built in buffers there as well. As someone who has battled compulsive spending, I personally don't use credit cards.
I do very little. If you are house proud, good for you. I figure as long as there is hand sanitizer and clean towels, all is good. The husband seems to find loading the dishwasher and cleaning the counters soothing. I don't mind laundry, which I do while listening to audiobooks. We have multiples of essentials, so it's never urgent. We have a robot vacuum cleaner. I do get someone to come in and help clean, I'd rather be with clients or people I love than scrubbing the bathroom.
I KNOW WHERE STUFF IS
I'm organized. I have to be as I don't know when I will have a tough day, functionally. I can find anything at any time, but I also live with someone who doesn't move stuff (and who loves to label), no kids and we are both systems focused. We both know what goes where and tend to put stuff back. I inventory regularly and I'm an excellent declutter.
SOP (systems operating procedures) aren't just for businesses. We have a manual for dog/house sitters with instructions on everything from how to use the remote to which neighbors have dogs mine likes to play with.
There are a ton more hacks, but this is getting long. Do send me yours, let's write a book!
Feel free to reach out if you are struggling and I'll talk you through deleting, delegating and deferring. Book a call here.
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash
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