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Time Saving Hacks For A More Efficient & Productive Year!

January 12, 2018


Erin Schrader

If you are anything like me [for starters, sorry] but secondly, if there is one thing you feel like you are always short on and never have enough of, it’s time. Every day I wake up and I think “how can I actually accomplish everything I’m hoping to in these short 14 hours I have today?!” More than ever, call it the curse of a new year, I’ve been on the hunt for ways that I can save some of that precious time and become more efficient in areas that often suck up a lot of those minutes, hours or heck, sometimes days. It’s not always easy to form new habits, but it can often be some of the best changes you’ll ever make. If you too are hoping to get some of your life back in 2018, here is a roundup of ideas from the LIY team with things that we either do now or are looking to implement this year! Hopefully, one or twelve of these ideas will resonate with you and leave you with a few extra hours each and every day to sit back, relax and sip that rosé. And if none of this helps, consider checking out this Pinterest board we created with tons of other ideas as well!


  • First up, one of the BEST things I have invested in over the past month was a Roomba vacuum. I was a huge skeptic and petrified that we would be the next victim of a viral video where dog poop is spread all over the house thanks to an automatic vacuum. Thankfully, no poop smears yet and would I go as far to say it’s been life changing? Yes, yes, I would. We have it set to run every single day at 10 am and it goes all over the house from hardwood floors, to tile, to carpet, rugs and everywhere in between with no problem. I love that it gets under the couches and bed as well. Once it’s done it finds its way right back home to its dock and voila, I didn’t have to vacuum myself to get a clean floor! Magic, really.
  • Fluff your clothes in the dryer for 2-3 minutes before hanging to dry. This will get the wrinkles out of many items without shrinking them and will hopefully save you from taking the time to iron!
  • The night before, get your kiddos outfits out and ready including shoes as well as your own! You may want to opt for two outfits for yourself just in case you change your mind [a woman’s perogative] or in case the weather changes! This will save you so much time in the mornings and makes for one less decision you have to make before coffee.
  • Turbie Twist – Put this on after a shower while getting dressed, doing makeup, household chores, etc. Cuts down on blow drying time and helps give your hair extra shine!
  • Shower Cap & Dry Shampoo — It takes me so long to wash, dry and style my hair, I do not have the time in my week to do it every day! Instead, I use a shower cap to do a quick body shower in the morning, and dry shampoo is a lifesaver for someone like me who gets greasy hair after a day or two. Using these two items saves me hours every week!


  • Do as much as you can WHILE making dinner! Dirty items go right into the dishwasher when done which reduces cleanup time later. During the downtime of waiting for the meal to cook, prep for the next evening’s dinner, wash dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher, pack the next morning’s lunch for you and/or kiddos!
  • Invest in an Instant Pot or other kitchen products that cut your time way down [we love these microwave baked potato pouches!]
  • Meal plan a month (or week if that’s too daunting at first!) at a time! Make sure to include recipes early in the week that you can use to complete meals throughout the week, for example: Make a chicken dish on Monday, throwing in a few extra breasts to be used for a recipe using cooked chicken later in the week (chicken and noodles, casserole, chicken tacos, etc). If I know we have a busy evening during the week, those are my “use leftover ingredients” night because the meal is already started! Also when it’s all planned out in advance, no running to the store for last-minute ingredients!


  • Spend a few moments at the beginning of the day thinking about what needs to be done throughout the day and make a prioritized list. Less wasted time throughout the day wondering what to do next! Narrow down your top 3 MOST important items that need to get done and focus on those FIRST.
  • You know how all of the great thoughts come at the random times? [A lot of things occur to me while drying my hair or while in the shower for some reason!] When you think of a random task that needs to be done today, tomorrow, next week- write it down right away! Whether you’re a notebook/planner/app person, getting things down (noting the day you should work on them) while they’re fresh in your mind will make sitting down each morning to prioritize your list a little easier!
  • Use Wunderlist – This app for your phone or desktop can help organize your t0-do lists, assign tasks to each, input due dates, create packing lists, grocery shopping lists and so much more! The LIY team uses this for EVERYTHING and it’s such a life-saver!
  • Set a timer! This has been one of the most helpful things I have done for when it comes to staying focused and on task. I will set an alarm on my phone for an adequate time to finish the task and then once the timer is up I know it’s time to move on. This will almost create a competition within yourself to make sure it’s finished before the timer goes off. This also works really well when cleaning your house, dinner prep, etc!


  • Set your prescriptions to autofill and send you text reminders with Walgreens or CVS apps.
  • Consider purchasing Amazon Dash buttons for your most commonly used household items and place the buttons next to where those items are located. As soon as you see you are running low, simply click the button and it will reorder more for you! Genius, really.
  • Order your new license plates online. No one likes going to the BMV and if there is one place that takes up our precious time, it’s there!
  • Order your groceries online – Many grocery stores are offering pick up or delivery options for people willing to order their groceries online. This is usually for a minimal cost, and can save you hours each week! Try your local grocery stores, or online delivery services such as Farmbox [produce] or Brandless [non-perishables & household items].

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! We would love to keep this conversation going on other ways that you save time throughout your day and make your life easier. Drop a comment below on additional ways we can all increase our rosé hours 😉 Happy efficient, easier and productive 2018!


share this with your best girlfriends:

  1. Kare kasberg says:

    Questions about the roomba vacuum- are your dogs afraid of it? Is it quiet? Easy to empty?

    Thanks in advance!!

    • erin says:

      the dogs were curious about it right at first and would bark a little at it but now they are used to it and it doesn’t phase them 🙂 It isn’t too loud, you certainly hear it running but it’s not overpowering!

  2. How good was this! I am learning so much, thank you. Even if you know alot of these, or they make perfect sense, we tend to somehow forget?!

    So thank you Erin, well written 🙂


  3. Megan says:

    Great tips Erin! I’ve been debating getting a roomba, I have hardwood flooring that seems to get dirty SO quick! I’ve heard some people say it doesn’t go over thresholds between rooms. Have you had this problem?

  4. Tiffany says:

    This is great!! I am trying one in each category! Thanks so much for the great ideas!


  5. Helen says:

    Which dry shampoo do you swear by?!?

  6. Jillian says:

    I love my vacuum, too! I use a lot of these hacks already. But to add to the order groceries online. Shipt is my favorite thing!!! They are delivering from Meijer to Mishawaka, South Bend, Elkhart and now Goshen area. Life changing to have all my groceries delivered to my door step hours after ordering them! And it’s affordable!

    Another tip is throwing a load of laundry in every morning – wash, folding and put away before bed. (Thanks Emily Ley 😉 – I have her planner also and love it! I’m pretty sure I could be best friends with her but she just doesn’t know it 😉

  7. Taylor says:

    Hi Erin! What kind of dry shampoo do you recommend? Or a few brands? Thanks for sharing these great tips ????

  8. Melissa says:

    Easiest way to make a list…use “lists” on Amazon Echo or Dot. Just tell Alexa to create any type of list and then you can add items to the list. You can also use Alexa as a timer and to order from Amazon! Love my Echo and the Dot – they have been game changers!

  9. Jami says:

    Lash extensions save you all the time of applying eye makeup! They’re bold and already curled…game changer!

  10. Rachel says:

    You mention setting the kids clothes out the night before. I take it a step further and after bath they put on their clothes for the next day. It has been life changing. I have 3 kids under 5 who attend daycare/preschool. No fighting in the morning over “I don’t want to wear that” etc. We would never leave the house otherwise!

  11. […] Time Saving Hacks for a More Efficient & Productive Year // Erin Schrader […]

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