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How to run errands without running down the clock

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Get your errands done quickly

You’re on a mission to take care of your errands more efficiently. The only problem is your mile long to-do list, which includes grocery shopping, doctor appointments, library book returns, haircuts and more. Is there really any way to shave time off your marathon errand run? These tips will help you organize your errands and save you time.

Woman running errands with smartphone

1Keep a list

Stop writing your to-do lists on a napkin. Great list-making tools are available now that can help you become super efficient with your errands. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Evernote - Evernote is an app that allows you to capture and organize your notes from your phone, computer or the web. Evernote has a great search function in case you need help remembering where you stored something.
  • Awesome Note - The Awesome Note app helps you track your ideas, travel journal, to-do lists, shopping lists and important dates. Awesome Note lets you easily transfer files from Google Documents and gives you loads of customization capabilities.
  • Teux Deux - If you're a visual person who likes things clean and simple, the minimal Teux Deux app is the one for you. Teux Deux uses a simple interface and enables you to synch your lists across your computer and all your mobile devices.

Want to really organize your life? Read about our top five personal organization apps >>

2Map it out

Plot out your errands on a map. You'll save yourself a whole lot of time (and gas money) by grouping your errands and having a mapped-out plan, instead of bouncing back and forth across town like a pinball.

Get even more time management tips >>

3Plan for the kids

Bringing the kids with you? Don't be afraid. The key to running errands with kids is to be prepared.

  • Timing - Make sure the kids have had their naps and have sufficient energy for running errands. We recommend going either after breakfast or after a good nap and a snack.
  • Car activities – If your errands involve a lot of car time, give the kids some crayons and a notepad or a good book to read.
  • Wipes and snacks – Healthy snacks are helpful. Lollipops are magic. Keep a stash of hand wipes and car-friendly munchies within reach so you can keep the smiles on your kids' faces while you tick off your errands in record speed – or at least before the meltdowns strike.

Want to keep your kids really happy in the car? Make some car travel kits >>

More tips for a busy life

3 Foolproof ways to get more sleep
7 Time suckers to stop immediately
Quiz yourself: Are you wasting time?

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