8 Favorites for Efficiency

I have always known that I’m a bit of a perfectionist but its not until recently that this was made glaringly obvious in a discussion with friends that I’m kind of an extreme perfectionist. While I knew this growing up, life with kids became a messy life and I thought I’d “gotten better” about this, but what has actually happened is I try to control as much as I possibly can and despite this life is still mess and out of my control.

My perfectionism is a constant search for efficiency. There’s not really a second that my brain doesn’t calculate what the most efficient way to get something done is or what could save me more time or money to reach my objectives. This could be from getting the kids in the car, to accomplishing tasks at work, to creating the wardrobe I want. I catch myself formulating my next move all day long. In my continual search for efficiency, I search for ideas and products to help me. Here’s a few that are saving my life right now:

Portable Office. My purse is my portable office and I could write an entire blog about it, but basically it is the one thing that I diligently keep organized. The house, my closet, everything could be a mess but you could count on finding what you need in my purse. I buy quality (on clearance of course) and don’t change purses often. Some of what it holds: padfolio, MacBook, journal, phone, lipsticks, watch charger, name tag, checkbook and pens and a wristlet for my cards and phone to pull out when I don’t want to take “the office” with me on date night. This keeps me sane knowing that if something needs to be done, like paying a bill – it immediately goes in my purse, so it’s not lost in the chaos at home.

Phone reminders. This one is free if you have a smart phone and I’ve been surprised when I mention this to people how they aren’t capitalizing on this! I constantly think of things I need to do at the wrong time – especially when driving to and from work – so I set up reminders on my phone that ding at a time I know is good for me to remember. These also show up on my Garmin watch so if it goes off when I’m not by my phone I notice it. I say things like, “Remind me at 9am tomorrow morning to book vet appointment” or “Remind me tonight at 9:15pm to text mom” on a daily basis. I also have recurring monthly bill pay reminders, weekly conference call, show and tell for Ava, and reservation cancellation reminders that tell me just enough in advance what I need to do. This saves me mental brain space and thereby makes me more efficient.

Overdrive and Audible. I have a commute to work and I use this time to pray or listen to audio books or podcasts. Audible has been great because I can get what I want immediately and the cost is worth it to me. I also like being able to create the wish list to reference later. However, a friend just told me about Overdrive. You use the free app to put in your library information and then are able check out audio and ebooks on your phone! You do have to wait for things on hold and some things may not be available with your library, but its worked great for me thus far and it’s obviously a huge money saver!

Ninja Coffeemaker. I LOVE coffee, coffee basically makes me a better mom. If it’s a choice between coffee and anything else, I choose coffee. I’m also a coffee snob. I visit Starbuck rarely now because I can make my own “espresso” in the morning, Brett likes the “Rich Brew”, we can make a pot if company is over and I make afternoon iced coffees in the summer. Since we live with really hard water the cleaning button has made it last longer than any previous coffee makers. I also love that since it has a wire filter we don’t need coffee filters or cups saving time and money. Gevalia espresso roast is my favorite roast.

Shout stain removing spray. Laundry is one of my most frustrating tasks because its never complete and it cannot be perfect especially when you have little kids and a husband that works outside for his job. There’s always a mountain of it and its always stained with mud, food and grass. I have searched since Ava was born for easy stain removers and recently started using Shout and its worked some miracles.

Nail Polish. I don’t usually paint my nails but usually get pedicures in the summer. The cost adds up pretty quickly, it’s a struggle to fit it in my schedule and I don’t absolutely love going like many so I was super excited when I found out about Orly Base Nail Coat and Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat. I’ve painted my toes and nails the last few weeks with these and the color has lasted over a week!

Nutri Ninja. I just bought one of these and it’s amazing! I have been making smoothies most mornings for myself and the girls and I can put spinach or carrots in there and they don’t even know! It’s quicker and less work than any other breakfast we used to have (except a granola bar) and healthier. I buy already frozen fruit from Aldis and just add milk.

Online shopping and rewards. I talked about this previously in another post, but I do almost all my shopping online. I pretty much only shop on Express, DSW, Target and Amazon. I recently started shopping at Old Navy online (because I was desperately looking for bathing suits that were in my price range and covered my tush and found some great suits) as well. I purposely keep my apps and stores I use to a minimum because I know my size, the quality of the product and I have rewards with them. Here’s my system: I go in to clearance only and then use the exact filters I need for size, color, clothing piece (I have list of items I need or want always top of mind) and just see what’s available in the price range I want. If I find something I put it in the cart and then wait for an additional sale on clearance items to come around. I look ahead at next season and what I need and buy in the off season. Using the cart as a waiting area gets rid of any impulse buys and I see the total dollar value versus at the store. I should mention, I never do store credit cards just free reward programs and the Target debit for 5% off.

So, what’s on your favorite things list? I want to know your must haves because let’s be honest, most of these I picked up from some other mom, blog or podcast!