Health & Wellness,  Honesty,  Rest,  Stress

Reclaiming Minutes & Health: 5 Things I Stopped Doing & 5 Things I Started

Skimmers appreciate writers getting to the point sooner than later. 

And since I’m a reader, a writer and a skimmer, I feel ya. Scrolling through a recipe blog and passing 14 photos of different angles of quinoa makes me crazy. Yes, I see the bran and germ and appreciate the endosperm. Just give me the dang recipe!

You’re most likely busy and tired, so I’ll skip the details of why I wrote this or how it’s changed my life. It’s just a free list from me to you.

My 5 Most Annoying Time Wasters

1. Corporate Emails

  • It’s nothing personal, Kohl’s
  • I still like you, Nordstrom Rack. 
  • I promise to visit soon, Marshall’s. 

But I can’t be inundated by your email announcements because you keep sending me things I didn’t know I needed. #unsubscribe

2. Peeling Carrots & Potatoes 

Besides the fact that more than half the vitamins and phytonutrients are in the skin, peeling takes too much time! I use a fruit and veggie wash from Trader Joe’s, but here’s what I bought from Amazon: OXO Good Grips Vegetable Brush.

Click to enter brush bliss…

3. Push Notifications

I thought they were going to feel helpful and keep me on top of things, but every time another ding went off, I felt the need to stop the current task and check. #squirrel!

If you’ve been thinking of turning off your notifications on your phone and/or computer but have major F.O.M.O., believe me when I say you won’t miss them. 

4. Reading/Watching Pop Culture News 

Years ago I watched Inside Edition and Extra, but a thought flashed through my mind. Do you truly care about Jen & Ben or Brangelina? No, you don’t. 

A youth pastor we worked with called trendy magazines (People, Elle, Vogue, etc.) porn for women. 

Whoa there. Slightly shocked at first, I squirmed a bit and then realized he was right. The allure, the addiction… it fuels a weird part of our brain and makes us want more. Is it dopamine? Adrenaline? Boredom? 

Either way, I’m thrilled to have broken up with this time-sucker. I have no clue who the new Bachelor is or if that show even still exists… and the world keeps spinning.

5. Personal Email

I constantly checked my email for fear I was missing something or someone needed me. Now I check it about twice a day.

Anytime I think about over-checking out of fear, I remind myself it’s probably just a new writing tip or podcast. They can wait.

Also? If a loved one has an emergency, no one’s going to be notifying me through email. 

5 Healthy Changes

1. Dish Towels

Between family members who don’t wash their hands as well as I’d like, and normal cooking germs, my dish towels were getting a workout. I changed them whenever they looked dirty or I realized it had been too many days, but now I switch them out every 1-2 days. #lessgerms

Check out this fun new set! You might need them.

2. Lemon Water

Every morning I squeeze half a lemon into my water. It’s supposed to be warm water, but I’m lazy. Besides helping to maintain our pH balance, lemon water can also help with digestion and energy. No need to drink it fast or before a certain time… just before food.

This summer I plan on getting super fancy and juicing a bunch of lemons into ice cube trays, freezing them, and then storing them in a Ziploc. #fastermornings

3. Dirty Rags

This is so embarrassing. I’m running the risk of you thinking I’m icky, but I’ve changed so don’t judge. 

Confession: I washed our dirty rags with our clothes. Please tell me I wasn’t the only one in North America doing this. 

Now I keep a small laundry basket in the laundry room for all the dirty rags and they get washed on hot all by themselves. #cleanerskivvies

4. Wool Dryer Balls 

Behold the dryer sheet. Full of toxic gunk, responsible for asthma symptoms and disguised by floral boxes, I don’t have space to explain the reasons I stopped using them. Google it.

Now I use dryer balls. I add a few drops of essential oils—lavender or peppermint—and we’re in business. (Tip: let the oil dry before throwing them back in the dryer.)  #nochemicals

Over 3,800 happy reviewers can’t be wrong…

5. Pillowcases

There’s no way around it—adult acne bites. Besides being naturally oily (grrr), if I haven’t washed my hair for a day or two, that dirt is transferring to my pillowcase and then my face. 

One way to stay cleaner is by changing my pillowcase every other night. Yes, it’s a tad more laundry but way worth it. #pores

How I Reclaimed Minutes

Slow Cooker Liners

If you don’t have these in your life yet, please… for the love of everything BPA-free… do yourself a favor and line your crock! Never washing that heavy thing is a beautiful thing.

Voice Texting

I’ve never been fast at gliding my substantial thumbs over tiny rectangles. And I don’t want to learn to get faster either. 

Behold, the power of our vocal chords. Since we can all talk faster than we can text, it’s a solid time-saver. Just make sure you re-read before you send. Sometimes my words in Español come out… #questionable. 

Voicing My Emails

Same as voice texting but better, this ah-ha moment made me hate email way less. I still catch myself checking email on my computer, but every email I voice on my phone saves time. #winwin

Goals for the Near Future

They’re on my back burner at the moment, but these will definitely be a part of my near future:

Every Dollar Budgeting

I signed up for the free version, but haven’t done much yet. Friends claim it’s an eye-opening experience and I’m looking forward to seeing where our money really goes. #yikes

Instant Pot Cooking

I opened the box, y’all! If you read Working Moms: Killin’ It? you know why this is a minor Christmas miracle. Next goal: read the instructions.

And last, this is becoming one of my new mottos:

Work Hard, Rest Hard

If having a new job/commitment has you spinning like me, don’t forget to schedule downtime. My main motivation? Burnout is unattractive, and my family needs my presence. 

Do you have a favorite time-saver? Please share in the comments!

Know someone who might like this post? Don't hoard it like a secret family recipe, share it...


  • Debbie Eady

    Love these ideas. I’ve washed my pillowcases more often than sheets forever. Great for teens, too, or when someone’s sick. The cooking idea, all ingredients out at first and putting away as used, I learned from my mom and it’s practical too with our failing minds????. A new time saver and healthy treat I’ve recently started is the little egg muffins. For one dozen I blend 8-10 eggs in the blender ( you can add cottage cheese, milk or just the eggs). Then in lined muffin tins I put any cut up veggies (one large bell pepper cut up is plenty for a dozen muffins), bits of cut up, cooked bacon or sausage. Pour blended eggs into each cup. Sprinkle your favorite cheese over the top and bake for about 30 minutes. Take out, cool and refrigerate for up to a week. For a quick and even on the run breakfast, pop in the microwave for 30 seconds. My grown kids and grandkids love these!! You can freeze in baggies and take out what you need each morning.

    • Carrie Talbott

      Oh, yes… the teens. If only I could convince them to care. 🙂 Love your egg muffin idea! I’ve seen these before but never tried them. I get tired of making eggs almost every morning for my people, so I think I’ll try these to save time and sanity. Gracias, Debbie!

  • Sherry Brinkerhoff

    One time-saving idea that I have used for years is one I learned in 4-H “100” years ago (the class was taught by my mom). When preparing to bake or cook, take out all ingredients and tools needed before beginning. Read that recipe over one more time (all the way through) before starting. I also put away each ingredient after I have used it (saves on clean-up time later). Another advantage to that is if the ingredient is no longer on the counter, I know I have put it in the recipe. As I age and become more forgetful, this comes in very handy!

    Jim and I are currently leading a 9-week Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course at our church. It is the 4th time we have led this course. His Zero-based budget is definitely the way to go. As he is fond of saying, you get to tell your money where to go not wonder where it went! I would highly recommend you taking this course. Maybe your church offers it.

    I voice text messages, but didn’t know I could apply that to e-mails. That would be cool! I’ll have to give that a try!

    I have some dryer balls from Norwex (they have both the kind you mentioned and also a green “rubber” set that looks a lot like a porcupine) I love my “porcupines”–static-free, faster drying time because they fluff the clothes. I also seem to have less lint in the lint catcher. I am using many of their cleaning cloths–the beauty is a cloth and water is all you need for most regular cleaning jobs. Shelley is a consultant. Check her out on Facebook.

    I don’t spend money on Veggie Wash. Studies have shown that running water and a veggie brush will do the trick just fine.

    I love my lemon water. This season of the year, I add fresh strawberry chunks too. It is lovely! I also will put some fresh basil leaves in with my lemon–very refreshing! Cucumber is another refreshing buddy with lemon.

    I too love that “unsubscribe” button! I just wish I knew how things I never subscribed to in the first place wind up in my inbox!

    Thanks for your blog. It is always fun and informative to read.

    • Carrie Talbott

      Oh my goodness, Sherry–you have great suggestions as well. I follow your exact cooking and baking idea too! I wouldn’t consider myself old, but I do get distracted. Moving my ingredients to another counter or putting them away after I use them saves me many questions.

      I’ve heard of Dave Ramsey’s course, but our church hasn’t offered it since we’ve been going there. You probably already know this, but that Every Dollar budgeting tool I referred to is from his ministry/organization.

      Let me know how voicing your emails go. Feels a little odd at first, but now I love it. I’ve been doing it for almost a year now and it STILL surprises me every time I’m signing my name. Feels so fast!

      I’ve never used the rubber kind of dryer balls, but I’ve purchased other Norwex things from Shelley. Great products.

      I like your water concoctions. I always forget to do strawberries, and I love basil!

      Companies sell their lists of subscribers–that’s how.

      De nada. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Chris Baker

    Great ideas! I actually wash our rags with our clothes, too. Changing your pillow cases is brilliant! I didn’t realize how bad they were until I washed our yesterday…

    I find myself feeling like I have to respond everytime I get a comment on my devos online. I will try just looking twice a day and turning off notifications. It is like chasing squirrels.

    I actually got overwhelmed and quit checking email for a time…I will go through it and try once a day.

    Thank you for sharing!!

    In His Grip,

    • Chris

      P.S. Benny and I met at a restaurant. They never peeled potatoes, so I don’t. We call them “dirty mashed potatoes.” 🙂

    • Carrie Talbott

      Hi, Chris. I guess the level of dirty rag grossness depends on the cleaners you use. I switched to non-toxic everything, but still.

      I think you’ll like checking your comments and email less. I logged on this morning and saw I had five comments to this post. At first, I felt bad for not responding sooner, but I don’t do any chores or work on Sundays and nobody died waiting for my reply. Haha. 🙂

      • Chris

        You are so right. We don’t expect every person reading our posts to comment within the first hour. I actually enjoy getting some later. It ends up like a surprise when least expected. 😉

        • Carrie Talbott

          …but wouldn’t it be nice if most of them did on social media? Ha ha. You’re right–delayed comments are always a nice surprise. Write on!

  • Andrea Chatman

    I actually got a notice via email of the death of an extended family member once. Thank goodness someone else cared enough to call me before that.

    Love your column and going out to get the slow cooker liners!

    • Carrie Talbott

      Oh, yikes. Now that I think of it, I’ve gotten emails about extended family members too. I was referring to my immediate family, but either way…. Glad you like the list and that you’re jumping into the Slow Cooker Liner world! You will not be disappointed.

  • Donna Schmeeckle

    Hi Carrie, as usual, I loved your column! My time-saving tip is to use frozen garlic, basil, ginger in your recipes. Can find them in Trader Joe’s! Little cubes in (usually) a red container. One cube of garlic is equal to one clove. Not sure about how the others substitute. How can I attach a picture….worth 1000 words!

    • Carrie Talbott

      Great ideas, Donna! I confess though–I’ve never heard of frozen garlic. I chopped and then crushed my own for decades and then I broke down and got the huge tub from Costco. Major time-saver, especially since I use it often. Don’t think you can attach a photo in the comments, but you can always email me. 🙂