Productivity Tip: How to Have a Productive Shopping Trip

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Image of street in Strasbourg, France, photography by R. Isip Do you find your trips to the supermarket, department store or mall to be unproductive?

Do you end up buying things you don’t need or spend more time in a store than is necessary?

Take a look at the following tips to see how you can make the most out of your shopping excursions!

Make a list.

One of the easiest ways to make sure you buy what you need is to make a list. Grocery lists are common, but what about making a list for clothing, accessories, hardware and other items? If you have never done so before, give it a try! You’ll hone in on what you really need from the store versus what you think you need. When it comes to clothes shopping, for example, you might write down something like the following:

  • Five pairs of dress socks
  • One white button down shirt
  • One pair of brown pants
  • One black handbag

It’s as easy as that!

Give yourself a time limit.

If you’re worried about spending too much time at the store browsing, set a time limit for yourself. Set an alarm on your cell phone or watch and get to shopping. If you’re feeling especially time-conscious, you could also set a time limit for picking up each item. Likewise, instead of planning to shop the whole afternoon, make a plan to shop for an hour or so and then call it quits.

Stick to one or two stores.

Nowadays most stores, even if they are not department stores, have loads of different goods from clothing, to hardware, to notions and so on. Chances are you’ll find what you need when you take a minute to think about which stores would serve you best. You can also narrow down which establishment would be your best bet depending on your shopping needs. If you know you’d like to pick up a special bottle of wine for an anniversary, you’d probably want to visit a specialty wine store versus say a small convenience mart.

Be a conscious shopper.

There’s a lot of things competing for your attention at stores nowadays: music, lights, moving displays, demonstrations and so on. Do you know what attracts your attention? Think about this the next time you shop. You may find it helpful to refer to your shopping list or just keeping your shopping goals at the front of your mind such as, “I’m here at the store to buy some AA batteries, an extension cord and a snow shovel and that’s it.”

Save browsing for another day.

Do you enjoy browsing or window shopping? Instead of combining shopping and browsing into one trip, make an appointment with yourself to do so some window shopping on another, less hectic or busy day. This way you’ll be able to take your time to stroll, enjoy viewing the different wares and not feel pressured into buying something because you have to leave the store in less than ten minutes. Besides, when you window shop you’ll have more time to think about what you’ve seen, whether you already own an item or whether you really need to buy something.

Now to you…what’s the biggest distraction for you when you’re shopping in a store? Is it music? Lights? A clearance or sale sign? Leave a comment below and join in the conversation!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.