How to Earn a 25th Hour

12 ways to streamline your day.

By Maggie Jackson
Alarm clockJohn Lawton

All those precious seconds waiting in line and browsing at the store add up. Here, 12 ways to streamline your day.

 1. Send gift certificates for presents. Order online—no shopping, no wrapping, no exchanges.

 2. Buy bagged salad greens and rotisserie chickens, two cornerstones of quick, healthy dinners. Add shredded chicken to casseroles, salads, soups, and pastas.

 3. Ask for the earliest appointment. The later in the day you book a doctor's visit, a haircut, or a meeting, the greater the chance it will be delayed.

 4. Keep a stash of all-purpose birthday cards on hand, at home, and in the office.

 5. Put a list of movies you want to rent and books you want to read in your wallet or smartphone.

 6. Keep doubles and triples of things you use all the time (scissors, tape, reading glasses, cleaning supplies) in every corner of the house. This will prevent extra trips up and down the stairs for minor projects.

 7. Get an electronic tag for your car if it is accepted at toll plazas in your area.

 8. Invest in a wireless handheld e-mail device (such as a BlackBerry). Keep in touch with friends during unexpected downtime.

 9. Sign up for automatic bill paying at your bank's website.

 10. Buy a case of your favorite olive oil or wine so you don't have to make last-minute trips for hostess or birthday gifts.

 11. Buy movie tickets in advance using Moviefone or Fandango to avoid wasting time on lines.

 12. Whenever possible, double a recipe. Eat half right away, and freeze the rest for a future meal.

Read More About:Work & Life

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