Saving Time and Gas

As gasoline prices in the U.S. have risen to $4 per gallon, we're all feeling the pinch when filling up our tanks. I'm especially feeling it after acquiring a zippy car with a turbo engine last year! My fifty dollar fill-ups have gotten me thinking about ways that I can increase my efficiency and reduce my drive time.

Using David Allen's ideas from his book "Getting Things Done," I keep an ongoing To-Do or Action list of errands that must be done while in the car. Allen suggests we keep Action lists according to the context or equipment needed. For example, you may keep one list of calls to make (the equipment needed is a telephone), a separate list of topics to research online (equipment needed is a computer with internet access), and a list of groceries to buy and errands to run (equipment needed is a car unless you live within walking distance to the grocery and other necessary stores).

As I make my list of errands, I think about where the stores are located so that I can pick the route to most efficiently run the errands. For example, if I have both office supplies and groceries to buy, I will go to the nearby Publix (I have THREE within a few miles of me) that shares a parking lot with Office Depot. On my way home from there, I have two routes I can take. If I also have dry cleaning to pick up, I take the route that takes me past the dry cleaner.

While making my day's Action list each morning, I also consider the time of day that is best for me to venture out. If I have banking to do, I schedule my errand run before 4:00 in afternoon so that I can swing by the bank as well. Even better, my credit union is in the shopping mall where my Goodwill drop off is located. This mall is located within about a mile from my home.
So by carefully choosing a nearby bank, dry cleaner, grocery store, seamstress, office supply store, pet supply store, and drug store I've managed to minimize the number of trips I take and the miles I drive thus saving me both gas and time!

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