I love a good shortcut.
When I'm driving, I'll even take a longcut, if it takes me less time to get where I'm going. From my house to the bank, for example, it is about three miles if I go through town, but it easily takes twenty minutes. But if I get on the loop, it is seven miles or so...but it only takes ten minutes. I'll take the loop, please.
In terms of writing, I've picked up on a few shortcuts to make my editing process take less time. For one thing, I discovered that if I spent more time in the planning stages, really delving into my characters and plot before I ever wrote a word, I could often do a couple of brief, easy editing passes and be done. Without that extra time up front? I'd often do two to three complete rewrites, and give myself a month-long migraine in the process. Another of my shortcuts is I keep a list of words and phrases that I know I tend to overuse. Once I finish my WIP, I pull that list out and do a quick search, and then eliminate or replace 90% of the instances of those words and phrases.
I've picked up a few shortcuts with cooking, over the years. Most grocery stores sell fresh fruits and veggies already washed and prepped for cooking. Yeah, you might pay a little more...but you save a ton of time on prepwork. If I'm making chicken fajitas, why cook the chicken myself when I can buy it already seasoned, cooked, and sliced? All I have to do is heat it up. One of my favorite newer finds are the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cooking Cremes. Make your favorite pasta, choose a protein and a few veggies, throw it all together, and add the cooking creme. Voila! You've got a great tasting, quick and easy meal.
I'm guilty of occasionally taking a shortcut in terms of reading. Well, I guess that isn't technically right. I mean, if I watch the movie but don't read the book, I didn't really read anything. Still, it only takes a couple of hours to watch the movie versus however many hours it might take to read the book. (Note that I still usually read the book afterwards, so I'm not sure I'm really saving myself any time.)
I have not fallen prey to the shortcut my sister has taken, I'm proud to say. She hates doing laundry, so when she runs out of clean clothes, she goes and buys more. Um...yeah, I think I'll just wash my clothes, thanks.
Maybe my favorite shortcut I've discovered in recent months, though, is John Freida foam hair color. I've been coloring my hair at home for years (I won't mention how young I was when I started turning gray), and it has always annoyed me how long it takes to put the dye on my hair. Not only that, but I've got a LOT of hair, so it often takes two boxes of any color to get all of mine. But with the foam hair color, the time it takes to apply it is cut down drastically...and no matter how much hair I have, I only need one box. It's amazing. Not only that, but I've never had weird patches with this one.
Do you always look for shortcuts, even if they might seem like a longcut? Do you have any recommendations for the rest of us on how to save time in our way-too-busy days? Bonus points to anyone who knows where the title for this post came from. Just don't ask me what the bonus points will get you. I haven't the slightest. :)