Wish you had an extra hour (or two) to squeeze everything into your day? Then this founder’s list of extremely practical tips is for you. 

By Pamela Hawley (Founder & CEO, UniverrsalGiving)

My heart goes out to all women who are trying to “lean in” and do it all. Being great leaders, moms, wives, business professionals and givers to our communities is a beautiful life, and a lot. As a CEO, I need to stay balanced, rested and calm for myself, my team, and my parents, nephews and niece.

If am not calm and rested, then I impact everyone around me. I have that opportunity each day to affect people positively. And if I don’t, then I affect their dinner conversation. What will they talk about each evening at that restful meal: Words of positive encouragement about the day? Or “can you believe this happened…”

So here are some practical, day-to-day things you can do – or not do – to provide some more space in your life. You deserve to stay peaceful for yourself and others. Share how it works for you and your ideas!  We’ll learn from each other.

What I have found with myself is that I often think I need to run certain errands or buy items to keep my life going, which can add undue stress. Here are a few things I do to save time, so I can focus on what matters most.

Shop Your Closet

If you’re thinking about a pair of new shoes, or that fantastic new sweater, or that your wardrobe really needs a fall update, think again before you buy. Is it something that can go with a skirt you already have, and with the pants in your closet? Take a look at how many outfits you can get out of it. Can it be dressed down or also made elegant?

It’s important to not think of clothes as just one item. You have to think about whether it wants to “date” the rest of your wardrobe. Shopping less and having more outfits is a great way to save time.

Buy it for Ten Years

Next time you eye a great new scarf, sports coat or funky new sweater, think about whether you’d want to wear it in ten years. Well-made clothes can last a very long time.

Somehow, our media has educated us that we need to shop two, three, five times a year. We continue to build up our closets with clothes that we don’t wear–and don’t give away. Instead, encourage yourself to think about whether this piece is something you would love to keep for five or 10 years.

Outsource the Laundry

You can call a 1-800 number and the company will pick it up and return it for you. No more before or after work drive-bys to get your dry-cleaning. Let them help you keep your clothes pressed and organized. We forget (or maybe we don’t) how much time it takes to fold!

Don’t Let Office Lunches Go to Waste

You walk by a tray of crackers, a handful of olives, or sandwiches and fruit in the conference room. If you don’t take it, it might get thrown out, and what a waste when nearly 1.3 billion people in the world are living on less than a dollar a day.

We can be grateful for what is available. Put any extras in a plastic bag and save it for a snack or lunch later. You just saved time in putting together a meal, and a trip to get take-out or to the grocery store.

Raid the Pantry

Sometimes, we think we don’t have any food at home. Yet if you pretend you are moving, you’d want to use up what you have. There is probably pasta, tomato soup, crackers, some turkey slices, cheese and carrot sticks. Put together a simple, make-shift lunch for a day. We can use what we have, and save ourselves an hour of grocery shopping. And what a nice feeling to ‘start over’ in our kitchen.

Enjoy this process of valuing what we have, saving time, and making your life easier.  Cancel the errand; cancel the need.  You already have what is necessary.  And that helps you be peaceful and balanced so you can take on all you need to.  You deserve to be peaceful, in all you do.

Women 2.0 readers: What time-saving and life-simplifying tips would you add to this list?

About the guest blogger: Pamela Hawley is the founder and CEO of UniversalGiving, an award-winning nonprofit that helps people give and volunteer with vetted, quality opportunities all over the world. Pamela’s community service began at the age of twelve. She has volunteered in more than 20 countries around the world. Pamela has been awarded the Jefferson Award for her global philanthropic work, and was a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Photo credit: Adry Long via Flickr.