Stressball

Chances are, you wish there were more hours in the day. Every time you get a breather, it seems like errands and to-dos rush in to fill the space. Learn how to make it easy on yourself to reduce the stressful trips to the bank, the drugstore, the supermarket and everywhere else. You’ll save time and enjoy a less-harried life.

1. Sign up for absentee voting. Many states such as California allow you to sign up for permanent absentee voting when you fill out a form online and mail it in. You can avoid the long lines and inconvenience of voting day, yet still cast your vote in every election, big and small. Bonus: you can sit at your computer and research candidates as you fill out your ballot, instead of standing in the curtained booth trying to remember who is who.

2. Order prescriptions online. Are you still going to the pharmacy to fill your prescriptions, dropping them off, waiting, and then picking them up? Most large health insurance companies offer mail-order prescription service through sites such as PrimeMail – you may never have to go to the drugstore again. Ask your health insurance company if this is an option for you.

3. Deposit checks with your phone. Are you constantly running to the bank to deposit checks? If you have a smartphone, many banks (such as Wells Fargo, Chase and USAA) are now featuring photo deposit service. Simply take a photo of your check and presto! The money will be deposited into your account – and you never had to leave your living room. Ask your bank for more information.

4. Run errands at work. If you work at a job that gives you a lunch break, you might be tempted to work through it and just cram down a sandwich at your desk. Resolve not to. Use your lunch break to move out of your seat and change your environment. Enjoy a light meal alfresco and then use the extra time for small errands, such as picking up items at the grocery store, heading to the post office or picking up dry cleaning. Getting things done during the weekday frees up precious evening and weekend hours – plus the crowds are often smaller during weekdays so your chores will take less time.

5. Shop from Amazon. Are you still lugging big bags of dog food, cases of toilet paper or heavy boxes of cat litter home from the store on a regular basis? Buy items like this from Amazon instead. Prices at Amazon are comparable to brick-and-mortar stores, if not better, and they’ll do all the heavy lifting, delivering items right to your front door. Wait until you need $25 worth of items, and you can take advantage of free shipping.

6. Seek power in numbers. Are you constantly driving your kids to soccer practice, piano lessons or school functions? Chances are, other parents are too – and they’re just as busy as you. Reach out to see if anyone would like to carpool, and to share the duties of delivering wee ones so that everyone gets a break now and then.

Image: jetheriot