Each month, Commonwealth’s Marketing department huddles together to learn, connect, and have a little fun. Recently, we shared our top work and life hacks—ways to save time and make our lives just a little bit easier. From chilling your wine to organizing your inbox, here are 16 of our favorites.
1) Avoid the premature e-mail. How many times have you accidentally sent an e-mail before you’re ready? Avoid this potentially embarrassing mistake by leaving the To field blank until you’re ready to hit Send.
2) Organize your inbox. Using Outlook’s Conditional Formatting, you can customize how messages appear in your inbox (e.g., color code e-mails that are sent only to you as green). These visual cues can help you prioritize those e-mails that may need a faster response over those e-mails that can be left for later.
3) Save time with the Quick Access Toolbar. Many Office programs that you probably use every day, including Word and Excel, have a customizable Quick Access Toolbar to which you can add command icons that you use regularly, like Track Changes, Undo/Redo, and Spell Check. By adding the Email command to the toolbar, you can save time and clicks the next time you need to send someone a Word document; just click the icon in the toolbar and an e-mail will open automatically with your document already attached!
4) Stay positive. Want to start (and end) your day on the right foot? Set your positive intention, and then place an image or words about this intention as your computer or phone wallpaper. You’ll be reminded throughout the day to stay in that positive headspace.
5) Follow the two-minute rule. If something will take around two minutes to accomplish, don’t procrastinate! Just do it.
6) Schedule reminders. Don’t want something to fall off your radar? Schedule calendar reminders the day before something is due.
7) Set it to vibrate. Program your fitness band or phone to vibrate once an hour as a reminder to get up and get moving. You'll increase your blood flow—and your energy.
8) Write tomorrow’s to-do list today. At the end of each day, jot down the next day’s top five projects or tasks on a post-it that’s easy to spot (e.g., on your computer monitor). It's a quick and easy way to stay on course day after day.
Personal Organization Hacks
9) Don’t forget it. How many times have you gotten to work only to realize that you forgot your lunch on the counter? Since many of us can’t leave the house without our keys, place them next to whatever you need to remember to take with you before you leave work or home.
10) Find what doesn’t belong (and pick it up). Every time you leave a room, look for something that doesn’t belong there, pick it up, and bring it with you. Even if it doesn’t get exactly where it belongs at that moment, it will get closer.
11) Declutter your closet. At the start of each season, turn all of your hangers and shoes backward. If you haven’t turned the hanger or shoe around by the season’s end, it means that it hasn’t been worn and is ready for a new home!
12) Just chill. Do you like your wine chilled but don’t want to water it down with ice cubes? Why not use frozen grapes instead? Cheers!
13) Freeze it. Instead of tossing out greens like spinach and kale, and fruits that can overripen quickly, take stock every few days and freeze anything you don’t think you’ll eat before it spoils. You can use these items later for smoothies, ice creams, and other delicious recipes. Plus, you’ll reduce waste and save money.
14) Get cooking. Sometimes, it's hard to find the time and energy to cook dinner after a long day at work. Instead, prepare or fully make the next day’s dinner a day in advance so that it’s ready when you get home. Even if you can prep a little bit in the morning, it’s much more likely you will eat a home-cooked meal that night.
15) Avoid the mess. Love popsicles, but hate the mess? Try sticking the end of the stick through a muffin cup—perfect for catching those sticky popsicle drips.
16) Turn that dessert into a sandwich. Is there one right way to eat a cupcake? Some think so: Take the top half off (the part with the frosting), flip it over, and stack it on the bottom part. With the frosting in the middle, there’s no mess and you have a delicious cupcake sandwich!
What are some of your best life hacks? Do you have any time-saving or e-mail best practices to add to our list? Please share your thoughts with us below.