Who has time to run all over town taking care of errands and making daily purchases? Not many single parents I know do. Over the years, I’ve learned how to take advantage of being able to put things on hold, make reservations, and call ahead whenever possible. It saves time and headaches and makes it less likely that I’ll get stuck running behind schedule.
Here are some big single parent lifesavers: If your library has a web site where you can search for books, videos, DVDs, etc. and the place them on reserve—use it. I live in a moderate-sized city and I can look up book titles, movies, etc. on line and then reserve them—whether they are currently on hold or on the library shelves. The library workers then pull the items and put them on a shelf, alphabetized with my name on them and I get an automated call from the library. Instead of spending an hour searching for what I need, I can search online in my pajamas and then just stop by and pick it up.
More and more pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retail establishments are offering reservations and online purchases. Consider shopping some place that has a web site or the ability to order online and pick up in person. You save time and on shipping charges if you can get the shopping done from home and pick things up on your way by.
Even if you decide to get take-out for a weeknight dinner, consider calling ahead and placing your order before you leave work or home—most places will let you tell THEM what time you will be by to pick it up so you can call before heading out to a soccer game or school function, and pick up your order later on the way home.
You might be surprised how many opportunities there are for you to call ahead, put things on hold, and make reservations. If you’re a single parent and still doing everything the “old fashioned way”—you could save a ton of time with a little planning ahead.