Here’s a list of them as I think of them:
UPDATE – know the store/library/museum hours! Have you ever taken guests to the museum, only to find out it’s closed on Mondays? Ever forget that Costco closes early on weekends? Or that the library doesn’t open until 1:00 on Sundays? Guilty, guilty, guilty. These days, though, I rarely make such mistakes. I wrote Costco’s hours, in Sharpie, on my membership/credit card. Same thing on my library card.
– In her book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin quotes Samuel Johnson frequently. One quotation that particularly resonated with me is “To live in perpetual want of little things is a state, not indeed of torture, but of constant vexation.” I couldn’t agree more. And that is why I take pains to never run out of toilet paper or milk or salt or coffee or printer ink or stamps or any of those things that, if not there, disrupt the order of your day or force a last minute dash to the store.
– I’m big into routines as a way of saving time and being more efficient, so I’m always tweaking the way I do things. If I have to return something to a store I don’t often go to, I wait until I’m going to be in that vicinity anyway. When I have multiple errands to run, I try to batch them together and order them in order to do the least amount of driving. If I have to deposit a check I go to branch A after I swim or do yoga; and branch B if I go grocery shopping that day. It’s not rocket science – but it probably wouldn’t happen if I didn’t make a conscious effort.
– when cooking, measure dry ingredients before wet. I don’t understand why recipes don’t automatically have you do this, but they don’t. If a recipe calls for a teaspoon of baking powder and a teaspoon of vanilla, measure the baking powder first, then the vanilla. If you don’t, you’ll have to use two teaspoons, or wash and dry the one you used for vanilla before you measure the baking powder. In a similar vein, when you are preparing rice, measure the rice first (using a dry measuring cup) and then the water. Otherwise, you’ll have grains of rice sticking all over the inside of your cup, unless you dry it after measuring the water. (Note: sometimes the order in which you mix ingredients matters. It should be clear from the recipe if this is the case.)
– pretty much every morning I make the same breakfast – steel cut oats. It calls for 1/2 cup of oats. Instead of looking for the measuring cup every morning, I put a 1/4 cup scoop in the container of oats. It fits better than a 1/2 cup scoop.
– this may make me sound like a grinch, but every year it’s time to decorate for Christmas it feels like I just did it four months ago! I’m not the kind who’s interested in buying new decorations every year or getting all creative every year. If I like the way I did something one year, I’ll like it again the next. IF I remember!! Last Christmas was our first one in the new house. So, I was back to square one. Once I got the house decorated, I took pictures since I knew I’d forget what I did.
– I keep track of what I served for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners every year, making note of what worked, what didn’t, if I had too much, too little, hints, etc. It’s a big help!
– remember, the more often you do something, the more reason there is to look for ways to be more efficient.