6 ways to run errands faster and have more fun

July 28, 2015

These strategies will help you running errands faster so you can have more time doing the things you love.

6 ways to run errands faster and have more fun

Like death and taxes, there's no escaping having to run errands acround town at the supermarket, pharmacy, dry-cleaner, library and post office. You're contantly picking up, dropping off, and waiting for children – or parents.

If you're not careful, you can spend more than half of your leisure time in your car seat running errands. This can increase your stress levels and ultimately have a negative impact on your health.

1. Group your errands

  • This is a golden rule: never run a single errand at a time.
  • You'll save time, gasoline, energy and stress hormones by grouping your errands into batches.
  • If you have to drop a child at a piano lesson, you can also go via the bank and deposit a cheque, pop into the supermarket for milk and bread or pick up the dry-cleaning.

2. Run your errands at quiet times

  • In other words, not on the weekend (when the vast majority of people run their errands).
  • Instead, make sure your dry-cleaner, bank, doctor or supermarket are near work so you can take care of these mundane tasks on your way into or out of work, or during your lunch hour.
  • You'll avoid the packed stores and heavy traffic on the weekends, and have those two days just for you and your family.
  • One of the best times to grocery shop? After dinner, when the children are in bed. One parent stays at home and one goes to the supermarket.
  • You'll be in and out in half the time it takes with children in tow.

3. Create an errand centre in your house

  • This is where library books that need to be returned, the dry-cleaning that needs to be dropped off, or the letters that need to be mailed all live.
  • Everything in one place (ideally near the door you use most often) will make it easier to run "bulk" errands.
  • Another option: keep these things in your car, in the passenger seat. They'll be a visual reminder of all you need to do.

4. Keep an errand list with you at all times

  • This includes both the ordinary errands that must be done (dry-cleaning, library, post office), but also those little things you keep forgetting (pick up socks for the six year old, make vet appointment for the dog, buy underwear for partner, find organic potting soil).
  • Use a sturdy notebook that you carry with you at all times, and make sure the rest of your family knows where it is so they can add things to the list.

5. Buy in bulk

  • The less often you have to go shopping for mundane items such as toilet paper, paper towels, dog food, cat litter, toothpaste and deodorant, the less time you'll spend running errands.
  • Storage space tight? Most of these items will fit under the bed quite nicely.

6. Always include a little fun

  • List all the things you find joyful.
  • Maybe it's reading a novel, writing in your diary or hitting a few golf balls on a spring afternoon.
  • Now, plan to include one of these items in any extended errand run.
  • Take a novel with you as you head to the post office; you can read it while in line.
  • Carry your diary in your glove compartment – jot down a few lines as you're waiting for the car to be washed.
  • Or ride your bike to the stores, then take a spin around a local park or nearby countryside.
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