My Quick Time-Saving Lunch Solution

time management pack a lunch“Packing a lunch every day is a great way to save money…” says everyone. And it’s true. I conjure up imagines of healthy, crisp salads, immaculately chopped red pepper slices, fresh fruit, and hummus and crackers packed in an adorably small Tupperware container. Sounds delicious…if someone else is making it. I don’t have that kind of time in the morning and I’m sure you don’t either. I used to tell myself, “I guess I don’t have time to save money and eat healthy” until I stopped making excuses and did this instead…

My Realization
At first I tried making my lunches the night before. This worked for a little while, but then I realized, “I hate finding a few minutes to do this after an exhausting day just as much as I hate waking up a few minutes earlier to do this in the morning.” I had the astonishing realization that there are other times to make lunches other than 10:00pm or 6:00am.

My Sunday Ritual
I now make all of my lunches for the week on Sunday afternoons. It’s wonderful. I make a big batch of something that can be put into a wrap. Last week it was chicken salad. This week it’s quinoa and kale salad. I put aside 5 granola bars and 5 pieces of fruit and call it a day. Then, all I have to do in the morning is throw the salad in a wrap, put it all in a bag, and walk out the door. It takes 30 seconds. I checked.

I’ll admit, this is not a revolutionary idea. I mean, seriously. Read ANY money or time saving blog and they talk about this. But it’s revolutionary to me because I wasn’t doing it. You know that awesome feeling of finding a 10 dollar bill in your winter coat you forgot about? That’s how I feel, only with time. I found extra time in my morning I didn’t have before and it feels golden!

Again, The Time Diet is so not a food blog, but if you care to join me in my time-saving culinary endeavors, here is what I’ve been eating this October. Can’t promise it’s healthy, but it’s quick and delicious!

Procrastinator’s Chicken Salad

2 cans of Kirkland shredded chicken ( I love Costco so much I can’t even tell you)
2 apples, diced
A few handfuls of grapes, halved
A half cup of slivered almonds
As much or little mayonnaise as you desire

Snooze Button Quinoa Salad

1 package of quinoa, cooked
1 can of Kirkland chicken (again with the Costco…)
1 bag of “Cruciferous Crunch” salad (It’s from Trader Joes. It’s basically shredded kale and Brussels sprouts)
A bunch of slivered almonds
As much or little sweet poppy seed dressing as you desire

Put either salad in a sandwich wrap. I’ve been buying “Flat Out” Flatbread from, you guessed it, Costco, and it’s great.

Good luck on your time saving lunch experience. If you have your own favorite quick lunch, please leave a comment.

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Texting While Talking: Why Do We Do It?

Time management textingYou’re having a conversation with a loved one, colleague, or friends. Suddenly, you notice their gaze turn down to their lap or table. They continue to nod at what you’re saying, but you’re aware that they are distracted. Pretty soon, you see your competition: a smartphone, it’s screen glistening in the sun, almost as though it’s mocking the fact that it has now replaced you as the focus of this person’s attention. I call it Communication Distraction, and it’s not OK.

When we try to do two things at once, our attention is split and we aren’t focused on either of the tasks at hand. People are starting to realize that multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but for some reason we don’t really think of texting as multitasking…or trying to do ANY two forms of communication at the same time for that matter.

Typing an email while on the phone, texting while in a meeting, both of these scenarios are examples of multitasking, and they are both rude! Not to mention the fact that distracted communication is not effective and therefore, not good time management.

How do we prevent Communication Distraction? Be more aware of your communications. Focus on the conversation you’re having and who you are talking to. When you find yourself a victim of Communication Distraction, you don’t need to return the rudeness, but perhaps you say something like, “Did I catch you at a bad time? I’m sorry, I can try again later if you’re busy right now.”

We can work together to help prevent distraction and make communication more personal again.

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The One Thing That Makes You Jump Out of Bed Early

Time management snooze buttonIn my time management coaching, one of the most frequent complaints I hear is, “I just can’t seem to get up in the morning!” Hitting the snooze button 15 times can make us late to work, skip breakfast, and stress us out before our day even starts. It would be easy to get up earlier…if sleep weren’t so darn enjoyable. That’s why I had to find something else to motivate me to jump out of bed at the first alarm. Here is what I did…

I’ve had my eye on a Keurig coffee maker for the better part of two years, but I just couldn’t justify the expense of the daily coffee pods when I can already make good coffee for pennies a day. However, my husband got one for me last month and I have to tell you, my mornings have never been the same.

Excuses

When my alarm went off, I used to sit in bed thinking of which excuse I could use to rationalize hitting the snooze button a few more times. Now when my alarm goes off, I sit in bed thinking which flavor of delicious coffee I’m going to go downstairs and make. It’s an extra motivator to get out of bed and start my day.

What makes you happy in the morning? Is it a run? A special breakfast? A few minutes of quiet time reading the news? It’s no wonder we don’t want to get out of bed when the only thing awaiting us is some sort of work. Scheduling something enjoyable into your morning gives you motivation to get out of bed and starts your day off on a happy note.

I’m not going to pretend that the thought of a delicious cup of coffee makes waking up early instantly enjoyable, but if you can give yourself a little extra motivation to start your day earlier, why not take advantage of it?

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How Time Killers Can Make You More Productive

Time management social mediaWe all know what it feels like to be sucked into a Time Killer. What starts off as a “quick glance” at Facebook, quickly becomes an hour long time indulgence we didn’t plan for. We can bemoan the time they waste, or we can analyze what keeps us addicted to these platforms for hours on end and use it to our advantage.

Here are three ways to harness the power of Time Killers to be productive:

1. Keep your next task in front of you
Why is it so easy to binge watch Netflix? Because the next episode pops up before the credits for the last one are even done running. Use this same concept in your productivity. It’s very easy to stop working when you finish a task and you can’t remember what to do next. Writing all of your tasks on one consolidated to-do list helps keep the next task in front of you so you can keep your productivity streak going.

2. Make it easy to work
You’ll notice that on social media, the interface is designed to make it easy to keep you hooked. It’s very easy to friend, like, follow, etc… You don’t have to search very hard for those buttons. Similarly, don’t make yourself search for a space to work. Giving yourself a comfortable, pleasant place to be productive will help make you want to use it!

3. Get your friends involved
Part of the allure of Time Killers, particularly social media is the thought that a friend might have commented on something witty we posted. We enjoy getting feedback from other people, so bring them into your productivity too. Don’t go it alone. Involve your friends and coworkers in your goals to help hold you accountable.

We ultimately must face the fact the work just isn’t nearly as FUN as Time Killers are, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to make productivity as easy as possible.

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How To Solve Your Time Management Dilemma Over Lunch

Time Management LunchHow many times has this happened to you? You’re at your wits’ end with a project. You know you’re wasting time going around in circles, but you don’t know what step to take next and in which direction. You know you should probably ask for help, but you don’t know who, where, or how, so you simply don’t, and continue the frustrating cycle. Sound familiar? Here is how I broke the cycle this week:

This week, I had a fabulous lunch with a dear friend that turned into a time management coaching session…for both of us. I’ve been going out of my mind the past few weeks as I’ve started to feel the pressure to tie up a million loose ends before Baby Schwartz makes her appearance. My friend was frustrated with a portion of a research paper that wasn’t coming together in a neat and tidy way.

Even though neither one of us could magically take away the other person’s frustration, it was immensely helpful to talk through it and brainstorm solutions. We both left feeling much more confident in our abilities to accomplish our goals. Here are three tips to do the same:

1. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re frustrated

Sometimes we’re afraid to ask for help or admit we’re stuck because we’re afraid of looking stupid or admitting weakness. It takes a strong person to articulate frustration and seek resources to solve a problem. Friends can be that resource.

2. Don’t just vent, look for solutions

Venting and complaining can bring a temporary sense of relief, but it doesn’t actually solve anything. After a brief complaining session, steer the conversation toward brainstorming solutions that can evolve into an actual plan.

3. Share your successes

Follow up with your friends and let them know what worked and what didn’t work! This is less for your friend’s sake, and more for yours. It helps celebrate your successes and focus on positive improvements instead of negative problems.

Finally, I recommend having these conversations over delicious food or coffee. The helpfulness of that factor simply can’t be overlooked 🙂

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