Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mimi's Savings Secrets...how lists and setting priorities saves you money...


Prioritising is something I struggle with constantly, and I decided recently that it was another area, where I really had to consciously treat my role in the home like a business, or like it's my job.
 
I love lists. A good comprehensive list of daily, weekly and monthly tasks, really helps to keep me on track. Without lists, I'd struggle to accomplish half of what I do.
 
But what I've learned is that prioritising those tasks, is just as important. You can have a list and go at it like a bull at a gate, and still find yourself in a spot of bother if you haven't prioritised those things that need immediate attention, as opposed to the ones that aren't quite as urgent.
 
For me, the idea of a deadline is the key.
 
I set myself deadlines all the time. Hourly ones sometimes, but mostly weekly and monthly ones. I see many friends doing this unconsciously with various challenges in their lives.
 
But you have to accept that different tasks will have different deadlines according to their level of importance or the date or time by which they must be completed.
 
Here are some ideas to help you clarify this idea.
  1. List of all your tasks. 
  2. Identify urgent vs. important. 
  3. Assess what the value of this task is in your life today.
  4. Order tasks by effort, starting with those requiring most effort to maximise your energy.
  5. Be flexible and adaptable.
  6. Know when to cut this task loose and leave it for another day.
  For me this means that if I'm unsure, I'll ask myself 'what's the worst thing that could happen if I don't complete this task', and that will often sort the priority of that particular thing.
 
For example, washing might be able to wait until tomorrow, but it means I'll have twice as much washing and nowhere to hang it as I only have limited clothesline space. Even worse if it rains tomorrow, and today is sunny and warm...perfect drying weather. So maybe it really does need doing today even though it seems unimportant.
 
Buying new undies and bras and a flesh coloured leotard for my teen daughter, on the other hand, whilst she would have me thinking is the end of the world if it doesn't happen today, can certainly wait until I shop for other items later in the week. This saves me time, fuel, and money.
 
The worst thing that can happen if I don't drop in on my son today is that he won't have his 15 minutes of Mum conversation, but if I don't get some birthday things happening for my daughters party on Saturday, I'll be letting her and myself down, and we'll be overspending on a bought birthday cake, so that wins, for today anyway.
 
Baking on the other hand, can wait as I've baked already this week, and whilst we're getting low, I have time to bake tomorrow afternoon and already have two easy recipes in mind...a quick orange cake with marmalade glaze, and my 15 minute microwave luxury brownies....so all good and won't need more than 20 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cooking tomorrow afternoon.
 
I could go on, but you get the idea. It's not just having a list, it's the prioritising that makes all the difference to saving money, time, effort and fuel, and maintaining that idea of having things under control that adds so much to our life.
 
It's actually also a really good habit to develop 'buyers eyes' when looking at your own home as this can help you prioritise purchase of decorator items that might otherwise prove a huge temptation. I have friends who cannot go shopping without returning home with new home decorating items in tow. Hellloooo....budget priorities....! I try to view my home decorating or home improvement/maintenance efforts with 'buyers eyes', a couple of times a year, as again, it's a thing that really clarifies what the priorities are in terms of decluttering, rearranging and cleaning or new purchases or projects. In fact a change of season is usually when I'll walk around the house with my 'buyers eyes' as it's when some things are stored and others brought out and aired for use.
 
Another task that I prioritise is exercise. Whilst I'm not a fanatical exerciser, I do like my 40 minute walk each day. It's good for heart health and quiet time for me, as often the rest of my day does not hold a lot of 'me' time, unless I've finished my 'work'.
 
Now on the subject of lists....from time to time, I've left the house without my precious lists.
So I have a decision to make.
 
Do I suffer the inconvenience of having to go back home and get the lists, slowing me down, or do I go to my various shopping destinations, without my lists and have to make several trips to get it right?
Well, you know which one usually wins. I return home for my lists and make sure I have a cuppa to keep me going while I'm there. I've wasted some time and fuel, but I'd rather go shopping feeling prepared and I'd waste far more time AND money, if I didn't have the lists. A good decision which despite having me loop back on a trip, actually ends up saving far more in time and money than not.
 
Lists and prioritising....not just important in the corporate world.
 
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6 comments:

  1. Dear Mimi,
    From one list lover to another... people often seem to think I get a lot done and am organised. This is in spite of my recent confession about being TERRIBLE in the mornings, suffering migraines, several years of really bad health and all kinds of things! The saving grace is lists and an organiser. These can save so much time, stress and money too. So what time I have in a day is just better used and my week is better run. It would be my biggest help I think. This is a wonderful blog post. Love Annabel.xx

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  2. I am a list maker, Mimi. Unfortunately I often don't realise I have forgotten my list until I get to where I was headed. LOL!

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  3. without a list of things that need doing I always just wander through me day aimlessly looking for something to do and usually forgetting what it was that really needed doing :)
    Deb

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  4. I find that lists are extremely helpful, but I need to do them more often. I tend to just muddle my way through things during the day, whereas if I put things on paper, the day, week, month runs more smoothly.

    Thank you for this post Mimi, it is a welcome reminder to start making lists again starting this coming week. I bet I achieve a lot more by doing this :)

    xTania

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  5. I love lists. The problem is that I will put 12 or more 1-2 hour tasks on a list for an 8 hour day. So it really does come back to prioritizing.

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  6. I am so glad I found your blog! This post is the best advice I have ever run across concerning time planning-it gives me a clearer vision about how to get things done even living with chronic illness. It can be done. Thank you for the inspiration!

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I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx