The new year is a great time to think about starting fresh, setting goals and lowering stress. I feel like most of us have experienced some sort of burnout at some point. Too much "todo" and such little time. You can't add hours to the day, but you can maximize your time. Over the years I've used these life hacks to help me save time, be more productive and feel less stressed out. Make sure to leave a comment with some of your best practices.
Prepare the night before.
To say I'm not a morning person would be a gross understatement. I'm the Michael Jordan of snoozing. I also get anxious about being on time when I have to commute to my first appointment. Preparing the night before allows me to enjoy a stress-free few minutes before I actually get up. I fill my scooter with gas, prepare my lunch, check my schedule and lay out my clothes and gear before bed. When I do get up in the morning, I'm pretty much on autopilot to make my first walk on time.
Use the 4 Song Rule.
This life hack originated with Ajitabh Gupta as a way to cut down his morning routine and sleep in. This fits in nicely with my snoozing talents. It's a great way to start your day off productively and in a great mood. Song 1: Brush your teeth and floss. Also, turn on the hot water. Song 2: Jump into your wonderfully preheated shower. This is a great opportunity for a singalong! Song 3: Get dressed and don’t be afraid to shake out those morning cobwebs.
Song 4: Grab a quick snack, your gear bag and get moving. Now, styling isn't something I do before work, so you may need to throw in an extra track or two. Even if it's the 5 or 6 song rule, it's a great way to stay on track in the morning.
Add Text Shortcuts to Your Phone
If you didn't know, you can pre-program shortcuts for words and phrases you use all the time. A great place to start is your email address. For example, the general inbox here at Scout is firstname.lastname@example.org. Using auto-fill, anytime I need to send that to someone, I just have to type "hsfp" and my phone types out the phrase for me. I use this for popular pet sitting phrases too. "Pnp" is "peed and pooped" and "whagt" is "We had a great time!". This article from Lifehacker will tell you how to set it up and offers other great examples.
Schedule Personal Time
Dog walkers and pet sitters rarely get a day off, especially when you fly solo. That's why so many of us feel burned out at some point in our career. While you might not be able to swing a full day off, especially early on, it's important to take care of your personal life. Block off your calendar for your errands, events and time off. Would you cancel on a client once you had them scheduled? Don't cancel on yourself either!
Automate time-consuming tasks.
While I'm a co-founder here at Scout, I'm still an active pet sitter, and our software has made the biggest impact on my time. Scout has helped me automate surcharges, billing, a lot of our communications and more. It helps me handle the administrative workload so I can spend more time doing the things I love, caring for animals, working at Scout and spending time with friends and family.