Do you want to spend more time with your horse? Whether you’re a professional horse trainer looking to become more efficient or a busy mom looking to squeeze in some barn time. In this article I share 12 simple time saving hacks for equestrians that I use on the daily.
I have two kids, a full time job, a small business (this blog) and lots of commitments. So, I’m always trying to find a way to squeeze in some horse time. Luckily, my daughter is a very enthusiastic equestrian and my son loves being at the barn and around the horses. So, much of our barn time is spent together!
1. Wake Up 15 Minutes Early
Have you ever found yourself leaving the house 5 minutes late only to arrive at your destination 20 minutes late? Me too! When I leave early, I arrive early for the most part. If I leave on time I usually just barely make it on time, but leaving just a little late has a huge impact on the rest of my day.
So, I like to apply this same logic in reverse. If I wake up just 15 minutes early, I can free up more time in my day. This is due partially to not feeling like I’m in a rush. The ability to think clearly and not stress about running late helps me operate more efficiently.
For example, the extra 15 minutes at home frees up time for things that I neglect if I’m running late. Like coffee from home. Which leads me to my next tip.
2. Make Coffee At Home
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. Just get up 15 minute early and make coffee at home. Everyone knows that, it’s too simple. Well, simple does no equate to easy, it’s tough to get up early and fight the urge to grab a fancy latte from somewhere on the way to work etc.
But, hear me out.
There are several benefits to brewing a nice fresh cup of coffee at home before you leave the house. ( If you’re a coffee drinker).
Making coffee at home can be done while you’re getting ready for the day. This means that you can drink it while you get ready! It also means you can dare I say, multitask? I know that word is tricky but we won’t get into that here. However, your coffee can brew and be consumed while you’re getting ready to leave the house.
And lastly, now you don’t have to make time to stop and wait in line for a coffee when you’re already running late!
I don’t know about you but my homemade coffee, which I like to grind fresh from whole bean, just tastes better anyway. You can of course buy ground coffee if that’s your jam. And, bonus, you never get the wrong amount of sugar or cream!
I don’t know too many horse people who aren’t coffee connoisseurs. That said, if you’re wondering why I love my home made coffee so much, I’ll link my coffee maker, grinder and favorite coffee below!
I seriously love this coffee maker! We’ve had it for about 5 years and have been raving about it ever since! I know what you might be thinking…fancy coffee maker, average coffee brand.
Ok, I can explain. Not all run of the mill, average brand coffee tastes good. No matter what coffee maker you use.
But, I have been a fan of Eight O’Clock Hazelnut for many years. And, it’s even better now than when I made it with my old coffee maker. Plus, while we like to keep it on hand, I frequently buy locally made whole bean coffee as well.
3. Make A Plan For The Day
If you’re like me, you start one task and while you’re working on it you remember something else that needs to be done. All of a sudden you’re ten tasks in and haven’t accomplished anything.
I’ll be honest, whether you make a plan or a list, you are still going to have random thoughts which remind you about other things you need to do.
Here’s the key.
Do not stop what you are doing!
Just write down the item, you can keep a list in your phone or on paper. Or, both! That’s what I do. I have a running list in a notebook because there is just something so satisfying about crossing off the items. But, I keep a list in my phone for when I’m out of the house or too far away from my notebook.
One way to reduce the amount of time wasted by scurrying around is to sit down each morning, with your freshly brewed home made coffee and update your list.
Read through the items you’ve already jotted down and take a look at your calendar and update your list for the day. Identify which items on the list you can realistically complete today and stick to it.
Take it from me, you can’t complete the entire list, and everything takes longer than you think it will. So try your best to be honest with yourself about what you can get done.
This means you need to prioritize your list and get the most important items done. Notate which items can wait until tomorrow if needed.
4. Complete One Task At A Time
This fourth tip might be the most important time saving hacks for equestrians I can possibly give you. Once you have your final list for the day, start with one item and finish it. Then, cross it off and move on.
I know there are many methods to being productive like calendar blocking and taking enough scheduled breaks etc. However, I’ve found those methods to be helpful as a guide but for me there has to be a mix of intuitiveness to scheduling.
Like, the clean for ten minutes and just do as much as you can until the timer is up example that you hear frequently. That one works!
However, when it comes to tasks like writing a blog post, not so much.
It can be tough to get in the groove, you know writer’s block etc. What I’ve found is, once I start I become fully engrossed. So, there is no chance I’m stopping once I get going. Unless of course I need to leave for an appointment or something. I try to make sure I have a block of time where my thoughts won’t get interrupted once I start.
5. Delegate Tasks Appropriately
Another way to save time and work efficiently is to get some help from other people. Whether it’s work, house work or some other task. Take a look at the items on your list and decide which ones you’d be ok with letting someone else handle. I’ll just speak for myself but, I know many equestrians who can relate.
Sometimes, giving up control is the toughest thing to do.
But there aren’t enough hours in the day to “just do it yourself” all the time. One of the best time saving hacks for equestrians is to ask for help. Even if you get someone in your family or your work place to help with a portion of a task.
If you work in the barn, get someone else to sweep the floor and help with cleaning water buckets so you can take time to do another task. Maybe that means dragging the arena or tackling the admin work you’ve been putting off. And if you’re lucky, it might even mean riding!
Any little bit of time you can free up will leave you available to tackle more important items.
6. Lay Out Clothes
Another super simple time saving hack for equestrians that can save you loads of time! First of all, it’s pretty quick to do. Struggling with what to wear in the morning as you try to rush out the door has an exponential impact on your morning. Especially if you wake up late and end up having to stop for coffee on your way out!
The way I like to lay out clothes for myself and my kids is a little different. For myself, since I work from home and am either home or dropping the kids off, I just grab an outfit the night before and leave it ready. If I was still commuting into an office like I was pre-Covid, then I would take the same approach I do for my kids.
On Sunday afternoons, my kids and I look at the weather forecast for the week. Then we start to pick out some appropriate outfits. For my daughter, this includes being mindful of which days she has art class and gym class at school.
We put the outfits in a basket, in the order they will be worn.
This is great for two reasons. My kids get to choose what they want to wear without a last minute argument about what’s appropriate. Second, now that they are happy with their choice, when it’s time to get dressed in the morning, they simply pick up the outfit on top and put it on.
And, let me share a little pro tip too! Put socks and underwear in the basket with each outfit. I can’t tell you how many times there has been stress or arguments about finding socks in the morning when I expected my daughter was ready to go.
7. Meal Plan & Modified Meal Prep
Here’s another cliche time saving hack that applies to everyone, not just equestrians. I know you might be rolling your eyes because you don’t want to eat the same thing all week or just don’t feel like meal prepping. I’m totally with you! I don’t either!
Here’s what I do instead: Plan out what I want to cook for the week before I grocery shop. This makes shopping faster and saves me money!
Once I have a plan I try to prep some of the food for the week. I pack lunches on Sunday afternoons to the extent that it makes sense. So, I prepare sandwiches for the kids, cut up carrots to take in lunches.
Side note for anyone wondering: Regular carrots are cheaper than baby carrots and there’s just something I don’t like about the taste of baby carrots. So, I take the five minutes to peel and cut up carrots. I do love those mini bell peppers and mini cucumbers though!
I also like to take any bulk snacks that need to go in a baggy and get them portioned out for the week. For example, my kids like to take rice cakes to school. So, instead of rushing around to get them out on a busy morning, I put them in a baggy on Sunday.
I also sometimes cook up some chicken to be used on salads or in wraps for lunch for my husband a I. We both work from home so we like to eat something fresh but having it ready to assemble saves us time.
Another way that I meal prep to make the week easier but still eat fresh meals is to just cook less times per week. Read on to find out my strategy.
8. Cook Once, Eat Twice
Now, I can’t say I’m always successful at cooking once and eating twice. Certain meals just don’t leave much in the way of leftovers. So, I try to follow this tip at least a couple of nights out of the week. If it saves me from having to cook two times per week then I’m happy.
For the record, I love to cook! It’s just a lot of work and the stress of the week makes me feel unmotivated, uninspired and not very creative. So, this is how I manage meals.
What I mean by cook once, eat twice is make extra of one meal to have leftovers. I used to do this a lot and then take the leftovers for lunch the next day. Only to have to cook another dinner after a long, stressful work day.
Instead, since weekend meal prep for lunches is easier, I make sure we have “lunch” food for lunch. And, if we have dinner leftovers, then we can eat leftovers on a night that is busy. Another way to avoid food boredom or groaning from your family is to save the left overs for two days.
For example, I like to cook dinner on Monday night. Then, we eat those leftovers on Wednesday. I’ll cook dinner on Tuesday night too and eat those leftovers on Thursday. This way, that mid to end of the week burnout is less likely. The beauty in this one is, you can modify the schedule to fit your needs.
During fall, we have soccer on Monday and Wednesday evenings, so we like to eat leftovers on those nights. Which means cooking extra on Sunday and Tuesday. Then even with the end of week burnout that hits on Thursday, I don’t mind preparing dinner because I’ve already had two nights off from cooking.
And since I cook so much extra food, it means I need to store it. These are my absolute favorite containers. I’ve had them for over a year and they’ve held up great. The dishes are glass with plastic lids and they are dishwasher safe! Best of all, these glass Pyrex containers are made in the USA.
And, pssst…..they would make a great Holiday Gift!
You might be asking how this is relevant for you as an equestrian. Or not, because it you’re horse obsessed it’s probably obvious.
I’ll just spell it out for any non-equestrian family members, this is a great time saving hack for equestrians because:
Less time cooking meals = More time for horses after work
More time for horses = Happier equestrian
Happier equestrian = More motivated and productive person when stuck with non-horse related tasks!
9. Designate Time For Social Media
Two words. Rabbit Hole.
Social media is an all consuming, time-sucking vacuum that harms your productivity and makes you feel the need to keep up with the Jones’.
In this day and age, it’s necessary evil for some people. You might need social media to promote your business or to keep up with family members that live far away.
Or, maybe it’s just a guilty pleasure. I get it.
I’m not telling you to quit social media. All I’m saying is, carve out some time for social media and don’t use it outside of your designated window.
It’s hard to close it down sometimes too.
Just remind yourself that if you stay off social media and get your work done, you can have more pony time later! And, you can even take pony selfies and post them from the barn!
Ps: here’s my shameless plug…go check out my social media accounts and follow along! I’d love to have you!
10. Use Google Calendar, Reminders & Alarms On Your Phone
The great thing about having a smartphone is that you can set up reminders to help you stay on track. You can even adjust the settings in your calendar to email you or send you notifications before an event on your calendar. The reminders can be set as far in advance as you want, for example 5 minutes, 30 minutes or even the day before.
I like to use a combination of reminders and alarms on my phone to help me stay on track. All family events and urgent to do’s are in my calendar. For example, return my daughter’s library book to school on Friday mornings, soccer games, doctor’s appointments, veterinary appointments etc.
When it comes to alarms, I like to use my phone alarm to remind me when it’s time to get the kids on or off the bus. Or, sometimes I set alarms to remind me when I have 5 to 10 minutes left until I need to leave the house for other activities. Of course these items are in my calendar, but it’s easy to lose track of time while you’re getting ready to leave.
11. Tackle Tiny Tasks As You Go
This tip is an important one. Some equestrians aren’t great about getting house work or other chores done because we spend too much time in the barn. Who can blame us?
But, if you want an easy hack to help you keep the house tidy without becoming a huge time suck or interfering with pony time, keep reading!
A super simple time saving hack that all equestrians should try is to tackle any tiny tasks as you go throughout the day. What is a “tiny task” you ask?
It’s basically a task that takes one minute or less to complete. If you’re in a room of your house, or in the barn and you notice something needs to be put away. Or, if you see a mess that needs to be cleaned etc. and it’s a task that will take approximately one minute or less, just do it while you’re there.
If you do this a few times throughout the day, you’re saving yourself work when the time comes to actually do chores. It means when you get around to cleaning that room, the clutter and mess will be gone and you can work more efficiently.
12. Automate Recurring Deliveries, Bills Etc.
Auto payments, recurring deliveries setup as subscriptions, grocery pick up or delivery and any other task that can be automated can save you tons of time!
Did you know that you can save money by subscribing to have certain products sent to you from Amazon? Take the coffee I linked above, I buy it every 3 weeks or so. Instead of remembering to add it to my grocery list and hoping the store has it in stock, I can just have it automatically sent to me from Amazon.
And, lots of items have discounts for signing up to subscribe. Things like toilet paper, diapers, paper towels, dog food and lots more can be sent to you at a frequency that you choose!
Setting up online bill pay through your bank for all of your normal monthly expenses saves you lots of time. No need to spend time paying monthly bills that are recurring every single month and the price doesn’t change. We like to set up all of our bills whether they’re recurring or not because we know they will be received on time. It’s much quicker to pay online and have all of your bills in one place rather than writing and mailing checks and hoping they get cashed instead of lost.
Less lugging stuff around, time spent shopping and money saved! That’s basically more time to ride and play with your horse and more money for that saddle pad collection you’re building!
13. Scale Back On Commitments
This is a tough one, but one way to free up your time is to learn how to say no. Since there are only so many hours in a day, which is the reason I’m writing this article in the first place, you can’t commit to everything. You need to prioritize your time and that means spending it how you want to spend it.
Of course there will be busy days or weeks when you’ll have to show up, even when you don’t want to. But out side of responsibilities, family time or family obligations scaling back on other outings can help you conserve your time.
And, you don’t have to say no all the time. Just try to consider your options thoroughly and block out certain days or times.
I hope you found this article helpful! Please share it with our friends if you did, so they can squeeze a little extra time out of the day for barn time too!