Pick up milk and bread. Drop off the dry cleaning. Cash your paycheck at the bank. Get fuel for the car. Mail a package at the post office. Before you know it, the entire morning has passed you by.
You have to run errands. Luckily though, there are ways that can help you get everything done with some time—and sanity—to spare.
Whenever you think of an errand you have to run, jot it down immediately.
My husband and I use a simple system when we only have one or two errands to run, and the only tools required are sticky notes and a pen. If we have to stop at the store to pick up a greeting card, we simply grab a sticky note and write something like, ‘Go to Hallmark—Pick up card for Mom.’ We then take that note and stick it on the inside of our front door. As soon as we’re ready to leave the house, we immediately see it and remember that we have to get the card. If we’re going to go out immediately and get the card, we simply peel the note off the door and go. If we’re going to go later, we just leave the sticky note on the door until we’re ready to pick the card up.
Or, if we’re going to get the card after we run a bunch of other errands, we usually just jot the note down on our errand list—which brings us to the next tip.
Whenever you have more than one errand to run, it is highly recommended that you make one written list of all your errands. Store your errand list in a prominent place, until you’re ready to run your errands. You may even want to tape it to the inside of your front door, so you see it before you leave.
Take the list with you when you leave your home or office, and refer to it as you’re running your errands. While you’re running errands, keep the list in your shirt pocket or purse. Don’t carry it in your hands, as you may accidentally drop it or leave it on a store counter.
Be sure to cross off errands with a pen, as you complete them.
Look at your errand list before you leave, and decide what your most efficient route will be. The main idea is that you don’t want to waste time backtracking, or going out of your way. Think of your destinations and plot your route. Number the order in which your errands should be done on your errand list.
Ever go all the way to the dry cleaner, and discover you don’t have the pick-up slip with you when you get there? Or, maybe you were planning to stop at the grocery store, just to discover you left your shopping list home.
Stop forgetting these important things you need with you on your errands, by setting up an errand station near your door. If you can hang a cork board, you’ll be able to tack dry cleaner slips, shopping lists, fabric swatches or anything you need to bring along on your errands. You can also keep a basket by the door to collect videos that need to be returned, clothes that are ready to be dry cleaned, etc.
Carefully scan your errand list before you leave to determine what you need to complete that errand. Then, gather those items before you leave. If they’re all located in your errand station, you’ll be on your way in a jiffy.
Keep road maps, directions, a telephone book, baby wipes and anything else you may need while making errands, so you can avoid making unnecessary stops along the way. All of these items can be neatly stored in a plastic container in the back seat, or the trunk, of your car.
If you have a cell phone, bring it with you on your errands. It can be an enormous help in various situations.
First of all, for safety reasons, it can be a lifesaver. If your car breaks down, or you need emergency assistance, you’ll be able to make a call very quickly.
Second, if you need to get, or give, any information while you’re out, a cell phone may save you from needlessly driving all the way home or back to the office.
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