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7 Life hacks for a more productive week

Merry has more than 25 years of experience as a professional journalist including stints with PBS and CBS. As a writer and blogger, she engages her lifelong passion for sharing inspiring, creative stories. While raising a teenage son and...

Tricks to squeeze more time out of your week

We all have those weeks: the ones that feel like 20 pounds of spuds shoved into your stylin’ Dooney & Bourke lunch bag. Rather than scrambling through the work week in a frazzle, you can employ some tricks to stay organized and on top of things.

Tricks to squeeze more time out of your week

Here’s a roundup of life hacks that will help a busy woman and mom be more productive and squeeze more out of her week.

1. Shop and prep ahead

So you're rolling along with your busy week, and the next thing you know, your household is out of everything. A midweek grocery store run puts a big speed bump right in your momentum. Have a complete grocery list and get all of your shopping done on the weekend before a busy week. If you have time to make some slow cooker meals and divide them into single-serve containers for quick meals, you will be way ahead of food planning on the fly.

2. The A list

Tricks to squeeze more time out of your week

Image: Rob and Stephanie Levy via Wikimedia Commons

A to-do list arm tat may not be your thing, but most busy people make some sort of list. It's easy to get disorganized when you don't have a system that works for you. Whether you use color-coding, grouping or making separate lists for immediate, secondary and less necessary action items, explore some different list methods until you find one that works best with your personal style.

3. Clock in

Try setting all of your clocks 15 to 20 minutes ahead, and don’t rely on the clock on your phone. You will find that you will be ready ahead of time and can use those extra few minutes to do some organization, pay a bill or just take a breath and enjoy the knowledge that you are not in a rush from running late.

4. Don't be alarmed

Tricks to squeeze more time out of your week

Image: Alan Cleaver / Wikimedia Commons

While you are tinkering with your clocks, you can explore the alarm functions on them and try setting alarms in different parts of your house to gently prompt you about specific things to do. Reminders on your phone alarm can also be useful. When you become aware of something you need to do at a specific time, set it into your phone clock and set a nice alarm tone for it.

5. Calendar girl

Integrate your personal calendar with your work calendar. If you use a program like Outlook and share it on a network with co-workers and you're worried about sharing details with others, you can filter the viewing options for personal appointments. Having everything on one schedule eliminates the potential of booking overlapping engagements.

6. Monotask

The most recent time-management studies say that multitasking is out and monotasking is in. Experts say multitasking not only reduces productivity, it can be really bad for you. People generally get more done and do it better when they focus on one thing at a time, finish it and then move on to the next item. This singular approach also helps reduce the overwhelming feeling that can come from looking at the big picture and realizing there is so much to do.

7. Good morning

While that snooze button sometimes seems to just keep pressing itself, try eliminating the extra 40 winks and wake up a half-hour earlier. Rather than working on projects into the night when you are sleepy and focus-challenged, utilize some extra time in the morning to get a few things done when you are fresh. You'll be surprised at how this can help squeeze more time out of your busy week.

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