New Castle News

March 26, 2012

Lisa Madras: If you’ve got the time, I’ve got some tips to save you some

Lisa Madras
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Where could I work less and achieve more?

Now we're getting to the meat and potatoes of the lazy girl's survival guide! I'd love to be one of those people who can't wait to roll up their sleeves and dig into any task at hand, but I'm not gonna kid you here: If I can find a quicker way to do it, an easier way to do it, or a robot to do it for me, then that's the way I'm doing it.

In fact, I can't help but feel a little robbed, as part of the generation that grew up watching “The Jetsons,” that I even have to cook meals and wash the dishes afterward. I can get the entire contents of the universe out of my phone through an invisible wi-fi signal, but nobody's invented a button to prepare a simple meal? Seriously? I can launch birds at pigs all day long, but it's not getting me any closer to a pulled pork sandwich. (Somebody, please ... make an app for that!)

Until the day comes that I can drive my flying car at 500 mph (that was the legal speed limit on the Jetsons ... did you know that?) I have no choice but to find other ways to free up some time for the things I actually enjoy doing. We spend so much effort managing our finances and so little organizing our time. Money is a renewable resource. Time is not. You do the math and figure out which one is more valuable.

That being said, here’s a few of the more unusual ways you can earn a little extra time in the day.

•Don’t shampoo every day — I get quite the chorus of “eeewww” and “that’s disgusting” whenever I pass this tip along to my friends. But unless you’re 16 and producing enough oil to deep fry potatoes or working in a coal mine, your hair simply doesn’t need to be washed every day. And if you’re of the female persuasion, you also know that by not washing, you eliminate the time taken to blow dry, product apply, and curl or straighten. Try it for one week. If I’m wrong, I’ll come do your hair for you myself.

•Tivo/DVR  — Sure, it can be difficult to wait an extra couple of hours to catch the new episode of “The Voice,” but watching it at 10 instead of 8 will cut out a full 40 minutes of commercial time.

•Get behind the person with the loaded cart — The natural instinct at the grocery store is to scan the lines for the light shoppers and avoid the lady who appears to be stocking up for the Apocalypse. Fact is, each additional customer adds a full three minutes to check-out time, while each scanned item adds only a few seconds. The better choice is the shorter line with fuller carts over the longer line with less items.

•Avoid people like me until 3:55 in the afternoon  — I’m not particularly proud of it, but I’m the long-winded one at the office. If you have something you need to discuss with the Chatty Cathy at work, wait until she’s about to head out the door. A question asked of someone like me will generally lead to a sit down conversation in which we discuss all angles of probability concerning the issue at hand including statistics, possible outcomes, and a story about the time I wore my underwear to work inside out. If you want a short and direct answer, catch me when I know I have exactly seven minutes to get my kids off the bus.

•Stop multi-tasking — You might think you’re saving time by juggling several things at once, but the simple fact is that when focus is divided, it actually takes longer to accomplish things. Hone in on one thing at a time, then move to the next.

•For the love of God, please ditch the phone! — Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t take two steps without my phone in my hand. What they don’t realize is that I am almost never using it. While I keep it close in case of an emergency, non-urgent calls and texts are stockpiled until the kids are in bed for the night or when I have the rare occasion to sit back and relax. Very few calls are important enough to interrupt work time, kid time, or driving time. On a side note,  if you’re driving and texting your sister about what color nail polish you’re wearing and you cause ME to wreck MY car, you will have created a much more ominous time-suck for yourself in the long run. I carry a Louisville Slugger in my car, and I guarantee you there will be nothing left of your precious smart phone by the time the po-po get there. Just sayin’.

•Be prepared — Nothing is more time consuming that having to run out for emergency items. The list of what we need to get along in life is endless, but I’ve found that a few basic essentials will always work in a pinch: Duct tape, for when it’s moving and it shouldn’t; WD-40, for when it’s not moving and it should;  and Band-Aids and a soft kiss for when it’s hurting. Anything else can probably wait.

Now, by my calculations, you’ve cashed in approximately four minutes reading this blog. Time well spent in my estimation, but I’m not biased or anything. Now get back to work so you can stockpile another four minutes to join me again next week.