Want to Get More Done? Try the 'Crock Pot' Mindset

Last Updated Aug 5, 2011 1:05 PM EDT

I'll start this post by saying that I don't actually own a Crock Pot. I suspect it would just sit on my counter. Nonetheless, I have long found the idea of throwing some meat and veggies in a slow cooker, and letting them simmer for several hours, fascinating. Why?
Blogger Trent Hamm over at The Simple Dollar sums it up this way:
"Simply put, a slow cooker moves your food preparation from a point where there are a lot of demands on your time to a point when there are many fewer demands on your time."
For many people, that hour or so post work is one of the most frenzied of the day. You're commuting home. Maybe kids need to be picked up at activities or day care. Inevitably, things aren't done at the office, so you're still answering emails and phone calls. And, oh yeah, everyone is starving. No wonder Dominos stays in business.

People who manage their time well, though, understand the value of "time shifting." They know that some activities can only be done at certain times of the day. But others can be done in different "contexts" (as Josie, who blogs at Organized Mommy puts it). Indeed, they can be done during almost any time during the 168-hour week! Just as you can fill a Crock Pot in the AM and come home to an already-cooked dinner, this "slow cooker" mindset solves all sorts of dilemmas:

Problem: You and your spouse never go out for date night, because you want to see your kids after work and hiring an evening sitter is a pain.

Solution: Go out for breakfast together. Not every day of course, but you could probably find time once every two weeks to hit the IHOP before that first morning meeting.
Problem: You want to take an art class, but you're never sure what time you can leave work (and your teenagers need help with homework when you do get home)

Solution: What about early Saturday morning? Your teenagers definitely don't want to hang out with you then.
Problem: Grocery shopping at 6PM makes you hate humanity.

Solution: Order groceries online during a boring conference call, or late at night from your laptop while you're watching TV. Even if it's more expensive, lowering the hassle-factor may be worth it to you.
All these solutions move flexible activities from times when you have a lot of demands, to times when you have less. Think creatively, and you can certainly fit your priorities into the 168 hours you've got.

How have you time-shifted to get things done?

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Photo courtesy flickr user, Tammra McCauley

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