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Running errands in the winter generally isn't fun. Cold temps, icy windshields, snowy roads... Throw in a pandemic and getting through your everyday to-do's becomes even more challenging. Here are some tips that can cut down on stress, time out of the house and driving in winter conditions.

It is the year of work-arounds. Canadians across the country have adapted to the many changes and challenges thrown their way. As the winter months approach, getting purposefully efficient — and a bit creative — can help make daily activities a little easier.

Here are seven tips to simplify your COVID-era winter errands.

1) Make a plan

If you have a few places to go in a day, plan out your route so that you’re not backtracking, and hitting stores within close proximity for quick in and outs. Bundling like activities together — such as the pharmacy and the grocery store — can also help you check things off your list faster.

2) Make an appointment where possible

Many retailers and service providers are offering appointment-based shopping, which helps them manage their in-store capacity. It also helps reduce your time spent in line ups. Even some restaurants offering take-out and merchants with curbside options offer pick-up windows that allow you to order ahead, schedule your day and cut down on wait times.

3) Make a list — and stick to it

Whether you’re out grocery shopping or getting some other essentials taken care of, the key to an efficient outing is to not get sidetracked. A carefully crafted list can keep you focused. (Tip! If you’re visiting a grocery store you know well, consider organizing your list according to the layout of the store so that you can check items off your list as you travel through the aisles. This technique can keep you from doubling back… which can be challenging with new safety measures regarding directional shopping!).

4) Buy in bulk (but no hoarding)

Running errands is likely not your all-time favourite thing to do. So why not cut down on the number of trips out? When buying essentials, get enough to last you a while so you’re not running out again the next day. Just stick to the two-package limit for toilet paper!

5) Give curbside pick-up a try

From grocery stores to coffee shops, clothing boutiques to bakeries, curbside pick-up has been widely adopted by large and small retailers alike. If you haven’t tried it yet, now is the time to discover just how fast, efficient and convenient this channel is. Typically, it involves ordering ahead, calling the store when you arrive, and waiting for an employee to bring out your goods. Often they’ll even put your order in your trunk for you… so you don’t even need to take a step out into the cold!

6) Shop online

More and more retailers have jumped on the e-commerce bandwagon, so even your favourite local shops may offer online shopping and delivery. You can order almost anything online these days, and with the additional choice available, you can generally find unique products, special deals and customized experiences.

And if you need assistance, many stores offer a shopping concierge who can help you find what you’re looking for, virtually try on clothing or offer advice on a particular product or service.

7) Bank Online

Just about anything you need to do at the bank can be done at home these days. Paying a bill, transferring money, depositing a cheque… even opening a bank account can be done through digital channels such as RBC Online Banking or the RBC Mobile app. Need help? That can be arranged virtually as well.

An RBC Advisor can help you take care of your banking from home — by phone or video chat. Simply book an appointmentand choose a time for an advisor to give you a call. You can also take a look at our video tutorials that walk you through some digital banking basics for your most common banking activities.

Through MyAdvisor, RBC’s unique online service, you can also get personalized advice from an advisor by video conference or phone.

Getting through your day-to-day tasks may be a bit more challenging than they used to be. But with a little planning, and by using some of the new shopping and banking options available to you, you might even check off your to-do’s faster!