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Last week, I ran out of gas. As I rolled up to the gas pump, running on fumes and a prayer, I stared at the little EMPTY sign on my gas tank.
The computer in my car does this neat little thing where it tells you estimated miles of driving that you have left.
Mine said (smugly, I swear), "0 miles."
I was relieved as I finally and miraculously cruised on fumes up to the gas tank, especially since my baby nephew was snoozing in the back seat, blissfully unaware that we had almost gotten stranded on the side of a busy road.
Of course that particular gas tank was having problems with its credit card reader, because that was exactly how my week had gone.
It was my own fault. I had driven to the bank, then back across town to the YMCA, then back to the bank, then to the store (where I forgot to get the most important thing on my list). I ran out of time to get gas, so went to carpool and took my chances that I could make it to the gas station in time.
Apparently, I couldn't.
I considered whether I could push my car to the next gas tank, about two yards away. After all, I've been working out.
HA HA HA HA HA!
No. I couldn't push the car. So I said a "Hail Mary," held my breath, and turned the key.
My car rolled forward, two yards and one inch, and stopped.
My credit card worked this time! I avoided the "call of shame" to my husband. I didn't have to wake the sleeping baby. I was okay.
But I knew it was my own fault, for not planning ahead with errands. This week, I am fixing that issue!
Schedule Errands in Groups
One way to make a forward-thinking plan (and avoid my particular brand of humiliation) is to schedule errands in groups, either on a designated errand day or after work. If you are going to drive the car anyway, you might as well do several stops and save lots of other, unnecessary trips.
Bonus - it's better for the environment and your budget to drive less!
Enter Time Sensitive Appointments First
Start with a hourly schedule.
I use a Day-Timer Hot List, but I have really tiny handwriting. Any blank paper would do.
Add in anything that is time sensitive.
Examples: carpool, work hours, meetings, doctor appointments, meals that you are cooking and serving
Schedule in Backwards in Geographic Order
The order in which you schedule errands matters.
Group trips with geographical locations in common together. Then, consider the locations of your timed appointments and schedule groupings of errands accordingly.
For example, some trips might be in the suburbs, while others are downtown. It's seems obvious that you would travel to the downtown areas when you were going to be downtown anyway. So if you are going to be downtown at 4 p.m., schedule downtown errands either right before or after your meeting.
TIP: As you schedule an errand, put a dot in the center of its task entry, to show that you scheduled the task.
(I also use arrows for things deferred, x for things deleted, @ for things delegated, and check for things done.)
Also, highlight so you know that the errand is taken care of when it is put on the schedule.
Prep in Advance with an Errands Tote
I like this one, which comes in several colors:
Go through your list and make sure you have all your papers needed and throw any errand items (like the shirt to drop at the dry cleaners or snacks and water for yourself) in the tote bag.
TIP: Don't forget to put "get gas" on the schedule.
Some of you have asked about my gorgeous, cream-colored, and scratchy textured inserts. Orange Circle Paris inserts
fit a Franklin Covey compact planner perfectly and are inexpensive, but:
a) you'll need a hole punch, since they are bound inserts and will need to be pulled apart - a very easy task - and hole punched, and
b) they span from now through December 2016, so you want to purchase them right away before they are outdated or run out.
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Partied at: Anything Goes