Life is busy, especially for Londoners, and the overload of city life can leave us feeling exhausted at the end of a day. We shouldn't be surprised really, in a world where it’s not uncommon for people to work 50, 60 or even 70 hour weeks.
Sometimes you just need a break. But when – and how – can most of us afford a break? It seems that the pressures follow us home, and many Londoners find that they’re starved of time for themselves and some essential relaxation.
We know that people are happier for having this time for themselves, but many people are unaware of some easy ways that this time can be maximised.
Below are a few surefire ways we’ve found maximise our time - we hope that these will help you squeeze a few extra hours out of your week for some you-time!
Weekly food shop, delivered
I’m a huge advocate of this. In the time spent choosing one week night’s dinner in a shopping isle I can have my week’s meals planned and ordered. Once your favourites are saved it gets easier and easier, too.
This one can feed into so many other great lifestyle changes. It’s much easier to plan healthy meals and sensible portions, all while working on a reasonable budget. There are even comparison websites that let you choose the most affordable vendors, and offer you less expensive alternative buys for the items in your basket – it’s not often that a lifestyle change will save you both time and money.
Granted, you’ll need to put aside an hour usually for the delivery window, but there are options early morning or deep into the evening for the working days. If you’d rather, there are always slots throughout the weekend, too.
To me this one’s an absolute no-brainer, and a relatively small lifestyle change that has had big implications for my spare time. Feels good to have my Saturday mornings back and I have a real bounce in my step as I walk right on past the shop on my walk home.
Meal prepping is serious business. There are now countless blogs, youtube channels and internet forums dedicated to this subject and we can’t get enough!
How you prep your meals is really up to you, and there are a ton of options. It might be as simple as cooking double portions one night and refrigerating/freezing the leftovers; or you could spend 30 minutes on a Sunday afternoon prepping healthy lunches; or, if you’re like me, why not do both?
Initially, this may seem like something that’s going to eat into your time. Although some effort is required to get this one off the ground, the results are seen right away. You may think buying lunch out on a work day will save you time, but who wants to spend their precious break time stood in a coffee shop queue (especially around lunch time)? Personally, I’d rather take twenty minutes for a light stroll to fire me up for the afternoon.
Similarly, saving on cooking an evening meal is an absolute game-changer, and means you can relax from the minute you walk in the door. This tip works very well with a planned weekly food shop, and cuts out those little diversions to the supermarket on your way home from work. Again, conscious dietary decisions and sensible portion control is a prerequisite to meal prepping, so you can find this has wider benefits for your lifestyle.
If you need some inspiration for these prepped meals, we strongly recommend you check out food blogger Denise’s website: sweetpeasandsaffron.com/.
Hire a cleaner
Hiring a cleaner can change your life.
Hiring a cleaner didn’t mean I could give up on ever doing dishes, or let my laundry pile up for weeks and weeks without touching the washing machine. It did, however, save me a couple of hours of dusting, mopping and vacuuming that I was doing once a week – and usually during the weekend!
Having a clean house has also meant I can actually enjoy the time I’m spending at home. Like many Londoners, I don’t have a huge amount of space. This means that the flat can start to get a little grubby pretty quickly. Having someone come in once a week to shine the place up has had made me feel grateful for the time I have at home.
I do, on occasion, ask my Housekeeper to iron some of my shirts and to put in a laundry run, which saves me time on two of the household tasks I find the most tedious.
If you’re yet to hire your first cleaner, you can get a quote for a regular or one-off clean in 60 seconds, here.
Make the most of the time you do have!
Now you’ve made some extra time for yourself it’s important that you use this time effectively. If you’re feeling a little low on inspiration, we’ve popped a few suggestions for this in an infographic which can be found here.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend spending the time that you have on something constructive and productive. That doesn’t mean that you can’t marathon some telly – sometimes that is just what you need – but it’s about ensuring that the time is spent on activities you really enjoy, rather than being spent impulsively or experiencing boredom.
If you have wider goals – learning a language or an instrument, getting fit, discovering forgotten music – then spend your time on these. Half an hour might not seem like a lot of time, but you can practise chords, go for a run or conjugate some verbs within that time-frame! Without wanting to sound clichéd … the longest journeys, so they say, start with a single step, so don’t let being busy be an excuse for not achieving the things you you really want.
We would really recommend really thinking about this one, as we feel that spending the free time that you have on a productive hobby will boost your mood immensely, and leave you feeling that you’ve regained some control over your busy, busy schedule.