Got a to-do list that's miles long? These clever time shavers will help you win the errands race!
1. Time them right. Avoid long lines by hitting stores on Tuesday (the lightest shopping day, according to shoppertrak.com, a site that measures retail traffic in 74 countries) and steering clear of them on Saturday afternoon and Thursday evening (the busiest times). Run errands right before you have to be somewhere so there's no chance of wandering aimlessly, says Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.
Related: The Best Time of Day to Exercise, Take Meds, and More Health Moves
2. Keep an "errand" bag. Place dry cleaning, library books, and other items you need to drop off in a bag in your entryway closet or in the trunk of your car, suggests New Jersey-based organizing coach Stacey Crew. That way, you won't forget them.
3. Shop from home. Skip a trip to the store: Get your toiletries and more from alice.com. The site offers free shipping, automatically applies coupons, and can even notify you when you're running low on a product. Other errands you can do from your couch: Fill prescriptions at drugstore.com; buy groceries at peapod.com or freshdirect.com; and buy stamps, print postage, or schedule package pickups from usps.com.
4. Put your phone to work. Download these free time-saving apps: Find the quickest travel routes with AAA TripTik (for iPhone) and Google Maps Mobile (for BlackBerry and Android). Create checklists and set errand alerts with Errands To-Do List (iPhone) and Astrid Task/To-Do List (Android). Organize your shopping list by aisle for multiple stores with Grocery IQ.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.