4 Time-Saving Techno Tricks You Probably Aren’t Using

In my Cross Talk column in October’s SHAPE, I suggest how you can cut back on your use of technology in order to find more “me time.” The tips really do work (check out the issue yourself!), but while I do believe that with technology, sometimes less is more, there are also times when more is more.

Here are a few ways that upping my use of technology has helped save me valuable time. Test-drive a few and see if they work for you too. And if you have some tried-and-true techno time-saving tips of your own, I’d love to hear about them. Please email me at cross-talk@shape.com.

Now you’re cooking. Home-cooked food is usually more nutritious and delicious than takeout, and it also can be quicker and easier—if you use the right equipment. We recently remodeled our kitchen, and I was without a stove and oven for more than a month, during which time I reacquainted myself with my crockpot. It is absolutely mind-blowing how many meals can be made in a crockpot. Even more mind-blowing? How fast the prep time is for most of them. Our kitchen revamp has long been finished, but my crockpot still sees action at least twice a week.

RELATED: Slow-cooker recipes are also incredibly delicious. Try these nine healthy crockpot recipes and see for yourself!

Be alarmed. One of the smartest things about my smart phone is its ability to double as an alarm clock. I use it to keep myself on schedule by setting it before social calls (it’s a lot easier to get off the phone with a long-winded friend when there’s an alarm going off in the background) and to remind me when it’s time to go pick up the kids from school. Setting the alarm also helps limit the time I spend shopping. Who hasn’t spent an hour in Costco or Target when they only meant to pick up one or two items?

Place your order. Speaking of saving time shopping, how about saving yourself the trip altogether by buying online? The trick is to only shop for things you actually need and resist the urge to browse. Some sites allow you to save a virtual “shopping list,” set up automatic orders of items you need regularly (laundry detergent, dog food, toilet paper), and offer free shipping.

Ready, set, SEND. Organizing your electronic contact list into groups makes emailing even faster. I’m in the process of doing this right now. For example, I like to send a link to new posts on this blog to certain friends and family. It will take a few minutes to create a group containing all of their emails, but will save me from the time-consuming (and tedious) task of hunting through my entire list every single Monday.

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