5 Tips To Becoming Your Own Personal Assistant
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small portion of sales for compensation, at no cost to you. All opinions about any products and/or companies are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!
I have been writing this post for weeks in my head. It would be out of my head and into the interwebs weeks ago…if I had an actual personal assistant.
But since currently my life is working full time, being a mom the rest of the time, arranging childcare, doctors appointments, getting the old house repaired and ready to sell while the market is still popping, maintaining a budget while hiding the financial stress from the kids, homeschooling my kids, growing our garden both for food and as a source of therapy (for me), and attempting to maintain some sense of a social life and a standard of living in our home (oh yeah and yesterday we took in our first foster bird!)…
I was in desparate need of a personal assistant. It’s too much to do just on my own, but that’s the only choice I have.
I know I’m not the only single mom out there hustling to make things happen, or even the only person with this heavy a load. But I make a point to share things I find helpful, in case they are helpful to anyone else.
So here is a quick list of 5 things I’m currently doing to save my sanity and get more done:
1. Never go to sleep without something running.
I am very thankful and privileged to have both a dishwasher and washer/dryer in my apartment. I make a point to have at least one of the three appliances running when I go to sleep. This way, I get things done while I sleep.
If you live in an apartment without hookups, be sure to check out your options for both a washer and a dryer without hookups.
2. Use curbside pickup.
I love dragging our wagon through the bustling farmer’s market weekly, I really do. I love filling up our wagon, and then our refrigerator and freezer with fresh fruits and vegetables that create the majority of our diet. However, that farmer’s market is in the city, which is a solid 35-45 minute drive one-way. Then there’s the shopping and then there’s the going to Aldi on the way home to pick up the things the market doesn’t sell (like flour, almond milk, vegan cheese, etc). And through all that there are two small children who can get tired, overstimulated, and cranky during all the traveling.
And so, in the past few weeks, I have utilized curbside pickup for Aldi and Target. Throughout the week, as I use the last of something, all it takes is a quick “add to list” on the app on my phone. At the end of the week, I place my order and in the span of a half hour can pack up my children in the car, pick up both orders, and bring everything back inside.
When time (or patience, I’m not judging) is limited, this is a lifesaver. I also love that this keeps me out of the store and away from potential impulse purchases, so this allows me to stay on budget, even if it does cost a tiny bit more to use.
Curbside pickup at Target is always free, Instacart charges a $1.99 curbside fee unless you have an Instacart account – sign up for one here.
3. Put Everything Possible on Autopay
My financial situation is currently precarious enough that I am unable to put everything on autopay (at least until the house sells), but I do have a few things that are predictably the same amount every month that I can budget for. I have those bills directed to be paid by a credit card, and I pay off the credit card every month. The points are going to be my Christmas budget.
Recently I took 5 minutes and called my electric company and put the apartment on budget billing, which allowed me to get a predictable monthly payment. I switched to Mint Mobile, where you can get unlimited talk, text, and data for $360/year, so part of my stimulus check took care of that expense. I now don’t have to pay for my cell phone again until June of 2022. I’ve had Mint Mobile for a year now and have great service, so I was happy to get that taken care of. The unlimited data will allow me to return to my love of listening to audiobooks and podcasts during my commute to work, which is so good for my personal growth.
4. Use Your Lists
I love lists. I survive because of my planner and lists. In 2019, my friend Daniella from iliketodabble and I created the Get Your Sh*t Together bundle (aka “GYST”) to organize everything from car maintenance to spring cleaning to weekly routines and meal planning. It has been massively helpful to me to use the bundle again as I work towards streamlining our life so I can handle it all. Get your own copy here and find out how relaxing it is to have your life situations onto paper and not just bouncing around in your head!
5. Meal Planning
Honestly, everyone says this and it’s because they are so right. Meal planning means I don’t waste the food I buy, I don’t have to think about what to make for dinner after a long day, and I can plan around what I already have if money is especially tight on certain weeks. In the GYST bundle there are meal planning sections as well as suggested groceries to keep on stock to combine for a wide variety of vegan/vegetarian meals. A “capsule pantry,” if you will.
I bought a weekly white board that hangs in my kitchen where I write my meal plans on it. Currently I plan for breakfasts and dinners because those are the meals I prepare for myself and the boys. For lunches, I tend to eat leftovers from our dinners, and I keep some basics on hand for the nanny to make for the boys depending on what they want for lunch that day. We stay stocked on basic fruits as well (apples, grapes, cuties oranges, etc) to round out the meals.
Meal planning sounds overwhelming but it takes only about ten minutes when I sit down to do it. Ten minutes is definitely worth the hours of stress it saves me throughout the week, and I appreciate the ability to look at the whole week and make sure there is enough variety of meals for maximum nutritional impact for the boys’ diets.
These things haven’t magically eliminated all my stress, but it sure does help me stay on track and keep my focus. And staying organized allows for space in my life to spend on my favorite focus, which is spending quality time with my boys!
Do you have any other ideas for streamlining your life? I would love to hear them in the comments!