1. Run Several Errands at Once
This is a golden rule: never run a single errand at a time. You’ll save time, gas, energy and stress hormones by grouping your errands into batches. If you have to drop your child off at a piano lesson, you can also go via the bank and deposit a cheque, pop into the supermarket for milk and bread or pick up the dry cleaning.
2. Run Errands at Quiet Times
In other words, don’t run errands on the weekend when everyone else is running theirs. Instead, make sure your dry-cleaner, bank, doctor, supermarket, etc., are near work so you can take care of these mundane tasks on your way into or out of work, or during your lunch hour.
3. Keep a List of Errands with You
This includes both the ordinary errands that must be done (dry cleaning, library, post office), but also those little things you keep forgetting (pick up socks for the six-year-old, make vet appointment for the dog, buy underwear for your partner, etc.). Use a sturdy notebook that you carry with you at all times, and make sure the rest of your family knows where it is so they can add things to the list.
4. Buy in Bulk
The less often you have to go shopping for mundane items such as toilet paper, paper towels, dog food, cat litter, toothpaste, deodorant, tampons, etc., the less time you’ll spend running errands. Storage space tight? Most of these items will fit under the bed quite nicely.
5. Include Some Fun
List all the things you find joyful. Maybe it’s reading a novel, writing in your diary or hitting a few golf balls on a spring afternoon. Now, plan to include one of these items in any extended errand run. Take a novel with you as you head to the post office; you can read it while you wait. Carry your diary in your glove compartment and jot down a few lines while you wait at the car wash. Or ride your bike to the shops, then take a spin around a local park.
6. Enjoy Waiting Time
Any time you’re stick waiting for something, shift the negative, glass-half-empty thinking into positive, glass-half-full thinking. Close your eyes and picture yourself in the most peaceful place you can imagine. It could be a desert at sunrise, the vast ocean or the middle of a massage at a luxurious spa. Let your mind go and take several long deep breaths. Take advantage of that time and use it to relax.
7. Run Errands with Your Children
An American study has found that children who clean, cook and do household errands with their fathers are better behaved and have more friends. An added bonus: the wives of these men find them more sexually attractive.