Yesterday I was talking saving money, now I’m talking saving time… Which makes me think of that cliche ‘Time is money’… Well, time is precious and time is always the thing everyone seems to be lacking. Over the last year when in the final weeks running up to the wedding when I was getting ready to take three weeks away from my self-employedness (totally a word) where there’s nobody else to put as your out of office…never mind still training a puppy and actually doing that whole ‘planning a wedding’ thing too. I felt time was short and so was my tether. So between Ollie and I we decided to sign up to a few little services to help ease the pressure a bit and since then there are a few more I’ve discovered plus some other (free!) tips and tricks on saving time/staying organised under pressure…
1. Getting a cleaner
Yes, there’s a big part of me that feels like this is mega luxury or indulgence. But at the end of the day, for the price of a two dine for a £10 at Pizza Express I can tick cleaning the house off the to-do list (and also remove any niggles with Ollie over him or me doing X,Y,Z job…). We used Handy (was Mopp, now operated by Handy) as can all be organised online so really convenient. Our first cleaner wasn’t all that great to be honest but after a break post-wedding, we signed back up again and have been delighted with our new one and hoping to stick with her on a weekly basis going forward. It’s all paid for online too, so no need to remember to have cash out. We have ours on a Friday and it just sets things up for a good weekend with no housework on the agenda.
Ok, so this is definitely a bit of an indulgence – but some times it’s really worth it. Again, around the time of the wedding we took laundry off the to-do list (also, reducing clutter and stress by not having drying racks constantly around the flat…a bug bear of mine) by using our local laundrette service washes to get loads done in bulk. I recently discovered a new service though (which is London centric right now – sorry) that’s taken this to a whole new level of convenience (laziness?) the service is called Lavanda and they will do your laundry – collecting it all within 45 mins of order and delivering back the next day at a time slot as agreed. So far I’ve used it twice and whilst there was a bit of confusion over drop off time for the first one (it’s a new service and they handled it very well so definitely not a black mark!) and it was great. They even included chocolate in my clean laundry delivery (in a packet obviously…not on the clothes). I’m sure I will be using the service again – most likely at times like post-holiday when you just want to get the laundry cleared as quickly as possible. Like the cleaner service we use above it’s another one where it’s all paid for online and the rates are actually really competitive with local laundrette – plus no dropping off/collection hassle. Win.
3. Pause Your Emails
A VERY handy free tool for gmail users out there – are you constantly distracted by new emails popping up? Yep, me too. Plus I often have an ever-increasing inbox of unread emails when I leave them as unread until responded to. So once or twice a week (often at a weekend actually as can clear them without being bombarded with new ones) I’ll hit pause on my inbox and just clear out all the ones I haven’t replied to. Either making decisions, replying to invites, or simply archiving for later if it’s just information I want to keep. Either way, I can clear the unread ones with zero new ones popping up until I un-pause. Of course there’s always the risk of the un-pause meaning an influx of new messages…hence why weekend is a good time for me to do this. It can also be handy when you just want to get on with a task with less distractions. Just pause for a couple of hours whilst you focus.
4. Get a Tasker
Another new service I tried out towards the end of last year was Task Rabbit* – and another one I’m already planning to use again. Task Rabbit is already pretty big in the US and now launching over here. It’s taking the UK market maybe a little longer to cotton on to the fact that you can use them to do pretty much ANY task you need doing – from standard cleaning, to organising your DVD collection into a logical order (this is what we did, ahead of downsizing it all into wallets – so we have a list of what we have to refer to rather than flipping through wallets to watch a film). But from my side of things there are SO many other tasks that I would use a tasker for – organising my receipts (a small task, granted – but one I’ve been putting off for too long), you can use them as a handy man service to do odd-jobs around your house, hang pictures. The tasker I had even said she was hired to sort out a spare room for a client – the client had guests coming but was tied up at work so showed her a photo of what she wanted the room to look like and off the tasker went to Westfield to select bedding, checking in with prices and all that… then heading back to the clients home to get it all set for her.
It really is a service of convenience. For me, I really like the idea of using it as an occasional admin assistant sort of service – I’m not in a position to take on an assistant (ha, I wish…) and not comfortable with idea of unpaid intern. But once a month or so it would be really helpful to be able to have the option of roping in some help to keep the business side of things ticking over as efficiently time-wise as possible.
Task Rabbit are actually running a little giveaway on Twitter at the moment – have a look for the #RandomTasksofKindness to find out more…
5. Stay Focussed
A handy little free widget thingy (technical term…) that you can add to Chrome if you perhaps have a tendency to visit the Daily Mail online… Facebook… buzzfeed… Whatever your guilty pleasure, sometimes you just need to switch off the internet and get stuff done. You can choose how long you block a site for either individually (hit the widget when on the distracting site) or multiple at once when you open the advanced options. This is really handy when I’m having a distracted phase – it happens – and I seem to feel the need to click the link for every innocuous article I see pop up on twitter/facebook or wherever.
So those are a few of ways I save time – some free, some paid-for things. Hopefully they might come in handy for you whenever you’re in need of saving time or just taking a couple of chores off your own to-do list. I love that there seem to be so many pure-convenience services popping up. Maybe we’re all just getting lazy, or maybe people are just very clever-cloggs to launch services to cater to people’s needs!
*Indicates PR sample or gift.