Have a grocery route.

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Organize your attitude #42

We need to feed people, one way or another. Often the part that really crimps our style and our attitude is the grocery shopping component.

Sales? Freshness? List? Menu plan? So many considerations are at play while we make a million decisions with every step along the aisle.

Grocery shopping is something that must be done, but would be better done efficiently and as infrequently as we can manage.

A little upfront thinking and stratagems can drastically reduce your grocery-store footprints – saving you time and energy and effort.

And that will help save your attitude while you’re doing it.

Here’s how to create a grocery store route:

  • Next time you’re at the store, pick up a store map. Most grocery stores have them near the entrance, but sometimes they are near customer service.
  • Grab a highlighter and your master pantry list. Highlight the aisles that contain items you purchase. When I did this, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I only need to go down about 40% of my supermarket’s aisles.
  • Sketch out a route from the entrance to the check-out that takes you by all the aisles you highlighted in the most efficient way.
  • Now, this might feel silly, but study this personal traffic flow plan. Take it with you for the next couple times you go to make sure you follow it.

Soon it will just be your habitual rut through the store, and when it is, you won’t even have to worry too much about forgetting your list, because you’ll be walking by your standard items and can be reminded in that way about what you need (or can grab an extra, just in case, knowing you’ll use it).

Once you have a habitual pattern through the store, the mental effort of decision making as you’re shopping will be surprisingly slashed.

When you can get in, get what you need, and do so without decision fatigue and second-guessing, you’ll dread the trip less and save that mental and emotional reserve for more important matters.

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