7 LIFE HACKS BUSY PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
BY MARIA THATTIL
Am I the only one who thinks that life gets busier year after year? Surely not. When it comes to my life, I always get asked how I juggle the equivalent of two full-time jobs whilst making time for all the relationships and extra-curricular interests I have. The key? Simple hacks for organising myself, techniques for tackling my day and services to support.
1) PUBLICLY COMMUTE TO CUT COSTS & BUY TIME
If you’re like me and appreciate your own space, public transport can seem undesirable. However, in getting over my creature-of-comfort inclinations, it’s forced me to recognise the value in publicly commuting to work. Yes, I like to listen to an eclectic mix of motivational podcasts and 90’s playlists and sing them ludicrously at the top of my lungs in the car. Yes, I sometimes like to apply my concealer and mascara in my car mirror to allow me 10 more minutes of burrito-style rolling around in bed at 6am. But the fact of the matter is, my 1 hour car drive to work is a cost when it could be time for value-add. In catching the train, not only am I saving on tolls, parking and petrol, but I am also buying an extra hour of time in the morning and afternoon to catch up on work or e-mails, call my friends and parents, or just zen out and regroup with some meditative podcasts. Publicly commuting cuts costs and buys time. Plus, no-one likes sitting in peak hour traffic.
2) MAKE ONLINE SHOPPING WORK FOR YOU | PARCELPOINT
I know that no-one likes coming home to those “Sorry we missed you!” notes on their front door. They are almost always met with a sigh. Work, kids, gym, uni, events, grooming appointments, date night - we all have a lot to do, the last thing anyone wants is it to have to reshuffle their day to slot in a trip to their local post office during business hours to get their online deliveries. Cue: Parcelpoint. With 200 retailers on board and a large network of locations, Parcelpoint is all about connecting you to your local community to get rid of the frustration and make online shopping easy. Available all throughout Australia, you can enter in your postcode on their website to find the nearest drop off/pick up location and then fetch your deliveries whenever it suits you - some locations are open 24 hours, so quite literally, it’s impossible to not find a time that works. For me - my life admin time slot is limited to Sunday’s or week nights after 6, so being able to stop by a florist at 8pm on a weekend to get to my latest purchase is a true example of a service working for me. Using a standard post office will seem incomprehensible once you try it.
3) CREATE YOUR AGENDA AROUND WHERE YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME
My life is a bit manic. I consider myself a real citizen of Melbourne purely because I live and work all around town. Picture this: I live close to the airport and spend a couple of days a week there, then spend more time in South Yarra with my boyfriend, but spend MOST of my time in the CBD because I work there. Yikes, manic. When you spend so much time travelling to and fro with lots to do, it makes sense to plan all your ‘extra-curricular’ activities proximal to where you spend the most time. Because, let’s be honest - I’m not going to make time for exercise, and to get around to all the things I need to do if everything is happening in a different suburb. For me, I undergo my laser treatments at a place en route to my office, I signed up at a gym and found a threading specialist across the road from my office, and get my hair done, nails manicured and and regular facials down the road from my partner’s place - a few agenda items I have moved closer to where I spend the bulk of time to make life easier. Figure out where you spend the most time, look at what extra-curricular’s you need to tend to, and do some research to find out the best in the area.
This is MEGA. We can’t do everything. Where possible - outsource. If you know you have a particularly busy period coming up, or if life is demanding the best of you in a all aspects, there are services available to help. In weeks where you have a lot going on, it might make sense to pre-order your groceries online and have them delivered, have a cleaner tend to your home, utilise Air Tasker for home repairs, or sign up to relevant monthly subscription boxes. Whatever you need, there is more than likely a service to outsource. Because, time is a previous commodity and there is value in digitising and outsourcing to increase it.
5) START YOUR DAY WITH THE HARDEST TASK
When you tackle your day with an abundance of tasks to get through, it is only natural that as the hours wear on, your productivity can wean. It might also seem simpler to tackle the easier agenda items first. However, tending to all things simple to evade the tougher gigs can be a form of avoidance behaviour. Procrastination is the biggest detriment to productivity and avoiding hard tasks can perpetuate it and increase your stress and workload in the long term. In starting your work or personal day with and executing the hardest task first, there is a psychological boost that comes with knowing that things will be easier moving forward, and a sense of self-efficacy that you CAN DO it and get through the rest of your day.
6) LIVE OFF LISTS
I live my life in lists. Between my work as a content creator and my corporate gig, I am always talking about how life is busy - but it truly is. You have multiple and often conflicting deadlines and many of them require much smaller, subsequent actions to be able to finally close things off. This is where lists come in - I have an ongoing ‘Work In Progress’ document on the ‘Notes’ App in iPhone where I first list what things I need to have accomplished by the end of the week, and then break down each goal into smaller actions and allocate them against the days of that week. So come every Sunday, I know what I will accomplish and can see in an instant how and when I will make it happen. Lists work.
7) INVEST 30 IN ‘THE NIGHT BEFORE’
Who likes a sleep-in? Cue: me throwing every limb in the air to express ardent advocacy. I’m going to say it again: LIFE IS BUSY, and so, every minute counts. I typically plan my days a week in advance because not only do I need to juggle work and content deadlines, but I also need to plan when I will be at home vs. at my partner’s place and pack accordingly. We haven’t moved in together yet, so it’s a bit of an in-between situation. I can guarantee you that leaving planning and packing till the morning of is a recipe for disaster. And so, I spend 30 minutes on a Sunday night noting where I will be for the next few days, what I will be doing, and organising my outfits and items accordingly. For example, if I have work everyday, the gym on Monday, an event on Tuesday, and content due Wednesday - but I am in South Yarra every day, I will create the content Sunday, pack work outfits, my gym gear, a change of clothes for the Tuesday night and have my laptop on hand ready to execute for Hump Day. That 30 minutes saves me from scrambling, making mistakes, missing deadlines and not being prepared. Invest in the ‘night before.’