Timesaving Tips for Today’s Busy Caregiver.

How to Create More Time and Streamline Your Life With Some Timesaving Tips

Life has lots of moving parts, and all of them eat up the clock. As jam-packed most of our lives are, that’s a real issue.

You have errands to run, shopping to do, meetings to attend, kids to drop off, dogs to walk, deadlines to hit, bongo lessons to show up at, and just for men: tackling all the projects on your wife’s “honey-do” list – a renewable resource if there ever was one.

On top of all that, being a caretaker for someone who really needs you opens up a whole new set of tasks and commitments to compress into your already-busy life.

However, there are plenty of ingenious-yet-simple ways to create more time for everything you do, including delivering high-quality care for a loved one. Here’s how to streamline your life.

First, Cut Out Everything That Wastes Your Time

  • Overworking. Don’t get me wrong, working hard is the American Way. But face it: the more work you get done, the more the boss will give you. Just calm down and pace yourself – do what’s expected and do it well, but don’t overdo it.
  • Watching network news. For all the hype it receives, the nightly news delivers about 15 minutes worth of information in a half hour. Online, you’ll get just as much news in a fraction of the time, and you get to choose the news that interests you.
  • Overjoining. You have bridge club, golf league, book club, poker night and a lot more. Your leisure time is killing you – draw a line. Cut just a few activities and you’ll enjoy a lot more free time.
  • Writing checks. Switch to online bill-pay and save at least an hour a month, plus postage (currently 46 cents a pop).
  • Watching real time TV. The DVR and TiVo set you free: race through commercials, compress one-hour shows into 40 minutes, and watch everything on your schedule.
  • Opening junk mail. Obvious junk? Recycle or trash it.
  • Overpacking. Packing light is an art, and many web sites will help you. But you can usually get along fine with just two of everything – shoes, pants, shirts, belts – without agonizing over what you take. Plus, they’ll have washing machines and stores where you’re going.

Now Incorporate the Time-Savers

  • Recruit the kids. The little nippers would love to earn 50 cents an hour folding laundry, taking out the garbage, sweeping out the garage, unloading the dishwasher, making beds and more. One University of California-Riverside study even found that youngsters who do housework with their dads do better in school and have more friends. They also learn teamwork and responsibility, thanks to dad’s role-modeling. Best yet, all that stuff is off your plate!
  • Work from a list. Write a simple, daily “To-Do” list and check off tasks one-by-one to accomplish more, faster.
  • Have a place for everything. You’ll save tons of time when you need to find something fast. For example: always put your keys, wallet and cell phone on your entryway table. Make a file folder for your passport and birth certificate, and so on.
  • Use bigger brooms. Wimpy brooms make for wimpy cleanups. A big one sweeps out the kitchen or bathroom in 30 seconds rather than 2 minutes.
  • Use the OHIO rule (Only Handle It Once). Sort and deal with pieces of mail immediately. Put dishes directly into the dishwasher, not the sink. Throw non-winning lottery tickets away. You get the idea.
  • Plan ahead. Keep a running grocery list on the ‘fridge door. Call the hardware store to make sure the item you seek will be there. Plot out errands so you can shop in the most efficient geographical order.

CaringBridge sites feature a Planner – a handy calendar you can use to organize and share caregiving tasks like meal planning, scheduling visitors, running errands, walking dogs…just about anything you need in order to plan ahead.

This only covers my favorite ways to streamline your life and time. If you have any of your own suggestions, please share them in our comments section!

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