Looking for the 25th Hour? Our Top Time-Saving Strategies

time saving tipsDays at the office can be incredibly long — made only longer by the fact that there are still chores, errands, and other life issues to be dealt with. We thought we’d start an open thread by listing some of the things that we do to save time on life tasks, and then see what your thoughts are.  (Pictured:  Hungry Mouse Timer, available at Amazon.com for $8.)

Plan ahead. Lately, we’ve been trying to save time cooking by only doing one order from Fresh Direct for the entire month.  We figure out what recipes we want to make/try, what ingredients we need, and order everything at once.  Then, we print the recipes (we tend to copy recipes into our Palm Pilot), staple them together, and keep that printout in the kitchen for the month.  (It helps to highlight any “fresh” ingredients that should be used sooner rather than later.)  When the FD delivery comes, we put almost everything into the freezer until we’re ready to use it.   (We’ve been enjoying crockpot recipes from Kalyn’s Kitchen, lately.)
– Have a snack mentality through the day — yogurt, cheese, nuts, fruit, so forth.  Our point isn’t that you should eat low-calorie foods (to each their own), but that you can save time by finding foods that are relatively healthy for you and easy to grab and go without a lot of prep work.  Focus on calcium content, fiber, and protein — make your snacks work for you.  Other times, we’ll bring “components” to the office — for example, a blue cheese that was not a hit a party (too strong) gets added to the plain spinach and tomato salad we pick up with the deli.  We save money, get the satisfaction of using a food we bought, and don’t have to slave over “lunch” in the morning. [Read more…]

Tool of the Trade: The Crockpot (and: Recipe Open Thread)

crockpot busy2018 Update: While we still stand by these reasons every busy woman needs a crockpot, you may also want to check out our most recent roundup of 5 all-day crockpot recipes

We were pleasantly surprised when numerous commenters to our What to Eat When You Have No Time to Eat post started mentioning the crockpot — we thought it was our dirty Midwestern secret. But it truly is one of our best tools in the kitchen, and if we’re preparing dinner (beyond boiling water) it’s pretty much all we can manage on work days.  (Pictured: Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, available at Amazon.com for $58.)

If you don’t have one, here are the reasons we love it:

  • The food is amazing. Moist, falling apart, delicious. It’s particularly great for recipes involving spices, as they tend to soak in. [Read more…]

What to Eat When You Have No Time to Eat

What to Eat When You Have No Time to Eat | CorporetteLet’s start by saying this:  eating is a Good.  Food is fuel for your brain and body, it’s yummy, and the act of eating gives you a nice break during the day.  There are metabolic benefits to eating small meals very often, and your subordinates will appreciate the consistent mood that comes from frequent meals.

However, sometimes just finding the time to eat can be very difficult — just getting downstairs to the deli to grab something and go can be taxing, not to mention unrewarding after realizing you’ve paid $10 for a sandwich that wasn’t fresh or healthy and spent 30 minutes of your time between elevator rides and cashier’s lines.

That’s why we’ve been a big fan of bringing food to the office. If you’re trapped at your desk, it’s easier to rationalize a 5-minute break to eat the food you’ve already brought. It’s also easier to lock yourself into a healthy choice — the all-too-often thought of “well, I’ll just treat myself because I’m so busy” never ends well — and it’s ultimately better for the budget as well.  (Pictured above:  soup season, originally uploaded to Flickr by looseends.)

While there are some who have made an art form out of bringing a beautifully packed lunch, we can only aspire to be in that group for the moment.  So we’ve come to specialize in what we’ll call the grab-and-go snack form of lunching. While none of them would normally be considered a meal, they take far less time to prepare or eat than a proper lunch, and if you eat 2 or 3 of them throughout the day you’re never hungry.  So, without further ado, our list of food staples for the busy working girl: [Read more…]

Poll: Have you ever napped at your desk?

Sometimes, being overachieving and fabulous means you get a bit stretched too thin.  Like, if, say, you’re working 250 hours, running a blog, planning a wedding 300 miles away, and trying to diet/exercise well in the meantime.  (This, of course, relates to NO ONE we know.)  Anyway, sometimes push comes to shove and exhaustion overwhelms you — and it’s only 3 PM and you’ve got hours to go before you can even THINK of heading home.

Thus, our poll today:

should you ever nap at work

We don’t know of anyone who regularly schedules these things, but plenty of our friends — including us — have taken a cat nap or two at the office.  The only rule we’ve really heard of is to make sure your desk is free of paper clips — those suckers stick to your forehead like nobody’s business — but otherwise, we’ve found that everyone’s got their own system.  What’s your routine?  Do you make up some excuse for your secretary or just turn the ringer off the phone, lock the door, and put your head down?  Do you stretch out on the floor or keep your head on the desk?  Have you brought supplies in — blankets, couches, sleepytime mask — to make naptime go more smoothly?  Also, what’s your average snoozefest at the office? (We like to stick to the 20 minute “power nap.”)

Comment away!