6 Simple Ways To Help Ease Your Non-Stop Schedule

Daniela Morosini

Between increasingly long office hours, maintaining some semblance of a social life (and possibly dating life, too), grocery shopping, maybe hitting the gym and finally getting around to calling your nan back, most of our schedules have as much wiggle room as the front row of a Beyoncé concert.

But don't worry – the pressure doesn’t have to keep on mounting. There are lots of easy changes you can make to steal back a little time for yourself, without compromising on the things that matter. We’ve got six things you can try to streamline every part of your daily routine, from skincare to admin, to help you find a little breathing space.

Apps don’t have to be a time-suck. In fact, there are plenty that can help you stay on top of things. Try Followup.CC – it’s a clever little bot you can add into your email inbox that will remind you to follow up on things. For example, if you email your Airbnb host to ask if you can bring an extra mate to Barcelona, you can tell the bot to remind you to follow up in three days if they don’t reply, or ask it to remind you to reply to your mum’s email about that actress she saw in that thing that one time. Pocket is another handy one – when you see an article or feature you want to read but don’t quite have time, you can add it to your 'pocket', which holds them in a virtual library to read later.

There’s an inverse relationship between 'time spent drying hair' and 'upper arms not feeling like jelly', so make life easier on yourself by investing in a microfibre towel. Don’t be fooled by how skimpy they feel, these towels absolutely hoover up water and get your hair dry so much quicker than regular ones. Simply wrap your hair up, secure it up top and go about doing your makeup – by the time you’re done, your hair will probably only need a brief blast with the dryer to be ready.

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Skincare really doesn’t need to be laborious to be effective. Case in point: YourGoodSkin's three-minute skincare regime, which is available exclusively at Boots. All their products are full of skin-loving ingredients, and multitask to address lots of skin concerns at once. Start with the Refreshing Face Wash, which will dissolve any stubborn traces of makeup and and leave your skin clean (but not tight and dry). Follow with their hero product the Balancing Skin Concentrate, which helps skin look healthier within 28 days (yep, really). It targets the five signs of skin imbalance: texture, unevenness, radiance, oiliness and moisture levels, leaving it glowing and smooth. Finally, lock in moisture for 24 hours with Antioxidant Day Cream SPF30 – it’s oil-free to keep your pores squeaky clean, and is even suitable for sensitive skin types. You're ready to go.

If you have any kind of appointment regularly, be that waxing, nails, brows or a root touch-up, ask the receptionist if you can have a regular slot. Committing to, say, 6.30pm every other Wednesday might feel like a big ask if your schedule’s busy, but a standing appointment is much easier to work into your diary. You know exactly when you’ll be there and how long for, and you won’t have to frantically beg to be squeezed in when you’ve forgotten to book once again.

Listening to Christine & The Queens on loop may be good for the soul, but you can make your commute work harder for you if you want. Why not add a news or cool factual podcast in? You’ll arrive at work fully briefed for the day, or teeming with anecdotes to tell your friends about over drinks later. Plus, no need to frantically scan the headlines or refresh Twitter to catch the daily scoop – you’ll be all set by the time you arrive. Try the BBC World News Podcast for a global outlook, or #LikeAGirl for a feminist roundtable to get you thinking in the AM.

Meal prep isn’t just for hardcore gym bunnies. In fact, preparing your breakfast the night before (if not in a big batch the weekend before) frees up valuable time in the morning. And as we all know, minutes in the morning are kind of like dog years, so you need as many as you can get. You’ll save money without the 9.30 dash to the coffee shop to pick up a sad-looking bagel, and you’ll have the smug satisfaction of eating something home-cooked and yummy. What about this make-ahead baked oatmeal? You can heat up portions at work for a warming start to the day. Need something gluten-free and vegan? These overnight oats are an Instagram favourite. Can’t stomach anything too heavy in the morning? These vegan parfaits are make-ahead friendly.

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