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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Ways to s t r e t c h time

Got your hands full? Get tips on how to simplify things and save time
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - January 27, 2011
By: Sheila Lim
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Ways to s t r e t c h time

“I’ve got no time” and “I’m too busy/ stressed” must surely be the most commonly used lines by people living in overcrowded cities. Urbanites all over the world face similar problems of time constraints because of our desire to seek a “better life”. The problem is that the pursuit of material well-being means that we have to work even harder to compete with others and achieve even more. 

Many of our waking hours are spent mugging for exams, working, commuting, and minding children and the “dream home”. And in the past decade, the proliferation of new-age social media and networking tools like the Internet, Facebook and Blackberries has led to the blurring of boundaries between work and rest, and propagated legions of Internet and gaming addicts. As a consequence, many become sleep-deprived or find it hard to fall asleep at an appropriate time at night. 

Plan well, work smart  

As time is a precious commodity that’s always in short supply for most of us, we should design our lives in ways that will enable us to use less effort and time to carry out our daily tasks.

The key to saving time lies in good planning. Before you buy or do something, give it some thought first instead of jumping right into it.

  • Strive to be systematic in whatever you do – whether it’s preparing meals, performing household chores, running errands or tackling work. Do things in a more orderly fashion by making checklists, getting organised, and focusing on the task at hand instead of multitasking haphazardly.
  • If you are renovating, refurbishing or furnishing your home, try to pick furnishings, fixtures and appliances that will facilitate your lifestyle and require minimal maintenance. For instance, if there are children in your household, don’t go for natural wood flooring, plush carpets or fabric sofa sets that can be easily soiled or worn out, and require a fair amount of maintenance.
  • Opt for customised furnishings like built-in wardrobes, storage cabinets and TV consoles. I’ve done so, and found that it not only neatens the look of my home, but makes cleaning a breeze as there are fewer nooks, crannies and sides for dust and dirt to gather in. 
  • Create as much storage space as you can and organise your belongings systematically. This enables you to find things easily when you need them, and leaves less clutter lying around the house and gathering dust.
  • Household chores like marketing, cleaning and cooking take up a considerable amount of time, especially if we are not privileged to have the services of domestic helpers.

If you have to work as well as prepare meals for the family, use home appliances like slow cookers, thermal pots and pressure cookers to help you whip up meals more efficiently.

Prepare soup stocks during the weekends and freeze them in separate portions which you can defrost and use to make quick soup dishes and gravies.

When planning meals for the weekdays, opt for ingredients like fish, broccoli, beans and frozen vegetables which are quicker to prepare and cook, as well as nutritious.   

Tackle simple tasks immediately, like washing up used utensils whilst food is cooking on the stove or doing a quick cleanup after taking a bath. If you allow soiled items to pile up or gunk to accumulate, those cleaning chores will become much tougher and time-consuming to tackle later on.

Instead of allowing your children to mess up different parts of the home, allocate an area for them to play and study, and provide storage space for them to stow their belongings afterwards.

  • Be smart in your shopping choices. For instance, try to buy clothes that do not crease easily or require ironing, and get appliances (such as fruit juicing machines and ovens) that are easy to clean, or well-designed gadgets that can reduce the time needed to perform household chores.
  • With the growing number of distractions like the Internet, Facebook, computer games and cable TV, time runs out even faster for us each day. Strive to be more disciplined about curbing activities that are big time-wasters by setting aside a fixed amount of time to enjoy them.
  •  Know when your plate is full. Manage your own expectations as well as those of others by learning to say “no” to favours, invitations and other commitments, or stating clearly what you can possibly achieve in a given time frame.

All of us have 24 hours in a day, so why is it that some people can cram so much into their day while others are always short of time? The answer is simple – good time management!

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