Grocery stores are designed to be distracting. Product displays, signs, music, announcements and navigating among other customers or perhaps the small people that came to the store with you are all distractions. Distractions create stress and usually mean you leave the store without something you needed. While you can’t eliminate most of these distractions, you can take some actions to reduce their effects, the stress they cause and help assure you leave the store with the items you need.
- Shop with a list. Always! Even if you quickly jot down your list in the parking lot before you enter the store. This activity creates clarity and creates a reference for when you get distracted inside the store.
- Get to know your store. Ideally your shopping trips start at one side of the store and systematically moves to the other. Distractions can cause you to backtrack and spend unnecessary time in the store. Take some time to get to know the layout of your store. It may be helpful to draw a map or make a list of the aisle numbers and titles. You can shop with this information either in your head or in your hand (paper or electronic). You can also use this information to create a more organized list, one that moves you through the store according to it’s layout.
- Time your shopping to minimize distractions. When possible, avoid shopping during peak times. Shopping in a near-empty store is a very different experience then shopping when the store is full. Weekday mornings and early afternoons are off-peak times as are weekend mornings. Avoid weekdays during lunch and late afternoons, Sunday afternoons and evenings and the day before major holidays. Ask employees at your local store for more information about off-peak shopping times.
- Try to shop alone. Children are fonts of distraction. When possible try to plan your shopping trips so you can go alone. This will improve your ability to focus and reduce the time you spend in the store. If you do shop with kids, alter your expectations. Your shopping trip will be distracting. Make sure to use your organized list and leave enough time for yourself to do the job right.
For more ideas on reducing stress and being more organized with grocery shopping, read these Simply Placed articles: