Greetings from…Memphis! Yep, I’m home! I explored for 5,250 miles before running out of steam. Not to mention, money.
As you might expect, being gone from home for so long has resulted in quite a few errands to run. I’m trying to be orderly (and a little bit fun) about it, and so far it’s working. I’ll be back to blogging regularly soon, but until then, I’ll share this glimpse of how I’m spending my time in running errands in a (mostly) organized way:
1. The List – Y’all know how I love my lists! When I’m writing my daily MITs, I keep a separate list of errands that need to be run. If I don’t write it down, it’s quite often forgotten.
2. Grouping errands – I generally group by geographic area. Folks with kids might group errands that can be run with or without the young-‘uns, or those that need to be done before school or after school, etc.
3. Map out your route – This will help with using your time most effectively. No point in showing up at the post office before it opens. Unless, of course, you’re using the automated postal center. If I have many errands to run, I list them in the desired order on an index card and clip it to my visor.
4. Use the off-hours – When possible, run errands when other people aren’t running theirs. This means avoiding Saturday and Sunday, weekdays around noon, and the hours just after normal business hours. When I worked at a paying j-o-b, I took my lunch hour at 11:00 a.m., partially because I ate breakfast at 6:00 and was usually starving by 11:00, but also because if I had any errands to take care of, I could get them done before the crowds of folks who ran their errands at noon.
4. Create an errand command center – For me, this is a copper tub near the back door into which I place things that need to go with me when I leave the house. Mail for the post office, items to be returned to a store, gym bag, and so on. The idea is that I’ll grab it as I rush out the door, but I’ll admit that I frequently remember only when I’m clipping my “map” to my visor (See #3). Then I have to turn off the car motor, get out of the car, and go back into the house. So pitiful. I’m working on it.
5. Prepare for waiting – I almost always have a book and/or a notebook with me. Both are great ways to use any waiting time wisely or indulgently. I sometimes read blog posts on my iPhone, but that’s not the wisest way for me to do it, since my iPhone keyboarding skills are pathetic.
6. Prepare for hunger – Sometimes errands run past the allotted time and mealtime creeps up on you. It’s best to have a healthy snack on hand (fruit, nuts, granola bar) to avoid finding yourself wolfing down an Jumbo Burger with Jumbo Fries and Jumbo Shake from the nearest drive through.
7. Reward success – When I’m particularly efficient, I give myself a tangible “well done!” It might be something as simple as a stop at the library or a bookstore, or maybe a few minutes spent sitting in the sunshine reading and drinking a frosty Diet Coke.
And that’s the extent of my errand running knowledge. If you have any tips to share, please do!