Don't Prep the Night Before

Time management expert, Laura Vanderkam, gave a controversial tip on her new podcast, Before Breakfast—don’t prep the night before. Her reasoning? It doesn’t save time, just shifts it, and most likely costs more time due to switching costs between tasks. Packing lunches at night takes just as long as packing them in the morning and robs you of the downtime post-kid bedtime. Her solution? Find ways to simplify your morning routine, so you save time. If the kids can never find

Ask for Bullets

I love any tip to prevent or improve meetings. They are such a suck of our most valuable asset—time. Today is simple. Before meeting with someone, ask the person to send over a few bullets on what they want to cover. This helps make the meeting more efficient by both allowing you to get the ‘update’ part of the meeting over via email and making sure you are better prepared to discuss the meat of the meeting. Or, better yet, it might prevent the meeting from happening at a

Order of Operations

The number one thing moms want is more time. Here is my favorite analogy around time from Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. A professor shows a class a gallon-size glass jar. He brings out a platter of large, fist-sized rocks and dumps them into the pot until they reach the top. Is the jar full? The class replies, yes. Then he brings out pebbles and pours them into the jar. The pebbles settle in all the spaces between the big rocks. Is the

Be Alone with Your Thoughts

Inspired by Cal Newport’s new book, Digital Minimalism, I’m seven days into a 30-day digital detox of no podcasts, social media or blogs. It’s amazing. I even have started going on evening or morning walks—by myself, sans headphones. These 30-minute sessions with just my thoughts made me recognize how rarely I just think. Guess what? Thinking is good. I’m finding myself making better decisions and being less stressed overall. So today, risk being bored a bit. Put away you

A Simple Question to Save Time

In this week's spending to save series, we've been showing how you can spend more money to save you time, buying you happiness. Today's tip is simple: Each time you open your wallet (or hover over the Buy Now button on Amazon), ask yourself, "Will this purchase change my use of time in positive ways?" Pause if not. Do you really need this? So often, when we buy something, there are so many hidden time costs—unpacking, storage, maintenance, and disposal. How would your life

My 6 Favorite Time Saving Software

As a mom of two and a founder of a busy start-up, I throw money at software that saves me time. Here are some of my faves: Docsend ($10/month): Simplifies document sharing. I can see who has visited and for how long. I can also update the document behind the link as I make changes in real-time. (Biggest insight, people spend very little time reading documents! Xtensio ($15/month): Beautiful predesigned document templates that prevent me from hiring a designer to layout

What's the Total Cost?

I am a sucker for a good deal. I mean, I am the rare breed who loves going to Costco. But, today I'm throwing this out the window. My tip? Do less comparison shopping. When you look at the total cost of comparison shopping—including your time, not just the sticker price—you'll find it's rarely worth it. The time it takes to go to multiple stores, drive to the cheaper gas, or spend hours browsing online is more valuable than your savings. So, don't overthink it. Find so

10 Ways to Spend Money to Reduce Mealtime Stress

The number one stress we hear from moms is getting dinner on the table, so what better place to spend money to save time? To spend smartly, first identify what part of the meal is causing stress. Is it getting the food ready? Clean-up? Grocery shopping? Then try to spend to reduce that stress. For example... If you stress about planning: Order groceries online. You can shop from old orders or put items on repeat, saving you having to go to the store. This might even sav

You Can Buy Happiness

Ashley Williams, a professor at Harvard Business School, has studied over 100,000 people to understand the relationship between happiness, wealth, and time. She found that the happiest people (even at lower incomes) use money to buy time by working fewer hours, outsourcing, or spending out. This week, we'll dive into advice on how to make this all-too-important trade-off of money for time. Her findings show that spending as little as $40 on time saving measures can buy

Ask For More Time

Deadlines have been identified as the most common cause of work stress (with 30% of folks citing it). Not only that, it decreases creativity and proactiveness. Today's tip: Ask for an extension. A new report over ten studies shows that employees are afraid to ask for an extension from their manager for fear that it will make them (especially women) look incompetent. Yet, most managers don't perceive this. Think about the last deadline you stressed about. Would having an extra

How to Save 5 Minutes Every Morning

My big household project this year is to find everything a home. I've decluttered before but never finished this step, which is vital for it staying that way. It sounds crazy, but this process is incredibly creative. It pulls on my product design skills -- I'm trying to throw out preconceived notions and ask what makes the most sense for the user (usually me). I've started moving things to where they are most convenient instead of where they 'should' be. For example, th

A Tool to Help You Step Away from Your Inbox

Over the past few weeks, I had started becoming a bottleneck for my team. We manage most of our tasks through the project management tool, Asana. But, honestly, that started feeling like just another inbox. I was missing critical questions and overwhelmed by the volume. One of my team members had a great idea. She created a Google Sheet where she added her questions each day. She marked which were "blocking" and created columns for me to answer them directly. I've since roll

My Magical Morning

I'm a morning person and how I start the first 30 minutes of my workday drastically affects my productivity. I thought a peek into my get-to-work routine might help inspire yours. I sit at my desk with my monitor. Dual screen doubles my productivity. Then I take a deep breath and start my Pomodoro timer. I check on my weekly goals spreadsheet, marking which I've completed and get a sense of what needs to happen today. I adjust priorities as needed. (At a startup, priorities c

Create a 15-Minute List

Today's tip comes from Gini Dietrich, CEO of PR firm, Arment Dietrich: Make a list of everything you can do in 15-minutes or less. Then do items from that list in between meetings. Personally, I keep this list open on my computer constantly. Then instead of reverting to checking email in the small breaks in my day, I can get something real done. My productivity has skyrocketed. Because (let's face it) a day living in email can feel like nothing really got done. What's on your

What if I only had 15 minutes?

Today I attempted to both parent and work at the same time -- always a recipe for disaster for me. I just needed to do 90 minutes more of work, but a screaming Rowan made that impossible. I needed a different approach. Stressed, I asked myself, "How can I do this in 15 minutes?" I calmed him down and looked at my to-do list. I cut two tasks and deprioritized others. I then delegated most of the rest. Honestly, I should have done all of this from the start. In three minutes, I

Build In a Buffer

I'm perpetually late. Even worse, I completely stress out about this often. So, I've been trying a trick from Greg McKeown's book, Essentialism: Build in a buffer. Pretend that everything is going to take 50% longer than you predict. The research shows that this buffer is relatively accurate. For example, psychology students were asked to estimate how long it would take to finish their theses (averaging 33.9 days) and what it would look like 'if everything went as poorly as i

Banning Busy

I'm a huge fan of Laura Vanderkam, who studies how professionals use and perceive their time.  In her new book, Off the Clock, (out on May 29th), she surveyed over 900 working parents about a specific Monday to learn about how they were using and perceiving time. The outcome: tips on how to build skills for feeling less busy and getting more done into daily life. Who doesn't want that? Avoiding the busy-trap has been a huge theme for me in 2018. I want to create space for the

Start Timing Yourself

Parkinson's Law states that work will expand to the time we give it. A key to being more efficient? Give yourself less time.  Just think about it -- I bet you get twice as much done now, as a mom, than pre-kids. I use timers to limit my time spent on things to give myself more time for what I really care about. With the kids. If Chloe's room is trashed, I'll set a 5-minute timer for her and me to do a sprint cleaning session. Amazingly, we always get it done and have fun in t

Know Your Peak Hours

One of my working mom super-moves is finishing all of my real work before the day even begins. I am an early bird and love waking up at 5 AM to enjoy a cup of lemon water in peace and hop on my computer to knock out my most important task before the rest of the house wakes. 85% of you are probably thinking, 'This is my definition of hell,.' We have different peak hours -- the times when we are most productive. I'm a Lion chronotype, which means I should do my most intense tas

Start Small

Completely overwhelmed by yesterday's call to overhaul your entire calendar? Don't be. Your goal shouldn't be perfection, but micro-progress. Break it down into the smallest possible unit of progress. What can you do towards this goal in 2 minutes? Some ideas for the calendar purge: Email one meeting owner to request an agenda for a meeting tomorrow Email one meeting attendee group to ask if you need to meet (or could catch up over email) Designate someone in your meeting to