GTT: If I could save time . . .

at which point, I date myself if I finish the line. So yeah, we won’t go there.

My absolute best time saver is P. He does so much stuff for the house and for me that I honestly don’t know how anything would function if he weren’t around. However, most of my big time savers are the result of someone else’s hard work.

home

Motivated Moms. I currently use this for my cleaning and organizing, though I’ve been considering switching to ListPlanIt because there are more lists (and I’m a girl who loves a good list). The point being that lists help me save time because I look at the list, follow what it says, and get things done. Without lists I am lost. And without lists I waste a ton of time looking around trying to figure out what I need to do first.

Meal planning. This used to be such misery. We would stack up a bunch of cookbooks and try to figure out what we wanted to eat. And we’d argue. Lord, how we argued. Now? We use Relish! and we don’t argue about menus anymore.

Shake-n-Bake. Not the stuff on the shelves, no. But, when I cook anything that requires hand dipping and coating, I read very carefully to decide if it *really* needs hand-dipping or if I can get away with dumping everything in a ziplock bag and shaking away. 90% of the time, you can shake and bake with no discernible difference in quality. I love that.

Errands. I’ve learned not to do them with kids along. I wait until P’s day off and I go out and do as many as I can at one time. I have a loop. Library, post office, Target, mall, JoAnn’s, home. I want to try Alice, but I’m not convinced that it would work for me. Of course, I spent almost six months looking at Relish! before I decided it would work, so maybe I should give it a try and see.

Planning ahead. First of all, I make appointments for things weeks ahead of needing them so that I can get exactly the time that I need. It is not unheard of for me to call our vet a month before I need an appointment to get the exact time I want. I also have a planner. Paper, yes, I’m retro and somewhat proud of it. I use one from Daysteps that I’ve really liked. It lets me get all the things that I want in one place and has a great layout for the various parts of my life. It really works for me.

Work

Believe it or not, there are ways to save time as an instructor in online courses.

Files. I have an intense filing system for my classes. Every term has its own file, every seminar has its own file, and every assignment has its own file. Put all that together, and it takes me a couple of minutes to find anything from any term for the last couple of years.

Posting. There are some required posts or things that I really need to discuss each term. I have some prewritten material that I can put in for those posts. This doesn’t mean that all I do is copy/paste. But, honestly, who is going to write a new post about writing an introduction every term? Someone with more time on her hands than I have, that’s who.

TextExpander is my secret weapon. Okay, so it’s not so much of a secret anymore, but it’s how I get around the other part of my job that makes me a little nuts. Let’s say you’re teaching two classes of thirteen students. And let’s say of those 26 students, 20 of them make the same apostrophe error in their first paper, do you type over the apostrophe rules 20 times? In the old days, yes, I did. Now? I type my code with a pound sign and the apostrophe rules show up where I want them. There are days when I would sell my soul for that kind of efficiency, and I mean that. If only they could make the same thing happen with my laundry :).

My iPad. I know it sounds crazy, but the thing saves me time. I use it as a second screen and can check things in one place while I’m working in another without rotating through a bunch of windows. It’s awesome!

And that’s how I save time. I wish I had great little tricks, but I don’t. I use tools to make life easier and to save time. I mean seriously, who wouldn’t? Now, go check out the other Girl Talk Thursday folks and find out how they save time, too.