These days I feel busier than EVER! We are constantly in motion, running here, there, and everywhere! I'm always looking for ways to save time without cutting quality. Here are my ten time-saving tips to make your life as a busy mom easier:
1. Get the kids to help! This is one I'm trying to teach myself. Our kids are big enough now to help bring in groceries, put them away, sort laundry, feed the cat, etc. I've realized beyond teaching chores and responsibilities, I need my kids to help because I can't get it all done by myself! Save yourself 3 extra trips to the van to get groceries, let those short people that eat all the food make some trips!
2. Do 10 minute pickups. We are trying to enforce a "toys in your bedroom only" rule. It's still a work in progress. In the meantime, most days I can't do a full house cleaning so I give the kids specific instructions and have them help me for about 10 minutes. We get toys put away, shoes put away, trash thrown away, and all that dirty laundry makes it to the laundry room. The house may not be spotless but we don't have to hide in the dark if someone makes a surprise visit!
3. Combine trips and errands. Again this is nothing new but it works! We live on one end of town and do most of our playdates and things on the other end of town. As often as we can we hit the library, store, etc when we will already be on the other end of town. Even if we have to indulge in a chicken nugget meal while we do errands on that side of town, it saves us gas and time. I don't see any use in wasting 20 minutes to drive that way for just one thing. It's much better to fit in 2 or 3 twice a week. It's also a time saver in getting kids dressed, ready, and in and out of the car if we do it all in one trip!
4. Put it on the calendar! Whether you use a wall calendar or the one in your phone, as soon as you make an appointment put it in the calendar. If you take prescriptions, put the refill date on the calendar. Write down the pest control service, Aunt Franny's birthday, etc so that you don't forget and you can plan ahead. No one wants to be on the way to a playdate and realize it's check up day! If it's written down you will work the rest of your schedule around it and tah dah time saved!
5. Keep a stash. Keep a collection of tape, wrapping paper, cards, gift bags, etc. Those things you don't need all the time but you don't want to make a special trip to the store to pick up last minute. I also pick up toys and other items on clearance or sale in case I need a gift in a pinch. Sometimes those situations arise and can't be helped but if you are prepared you won't waste time on them!
6. Keep a stash. No I'm not just repeating myself! Keep a stash of food items as well! We all get behind on trips to the store so keep around some extra groceries to pull out in a snap. I always try to keep a frozen lasagna on hand because it takes no effort, no thaw time, and can be a meal all by itself. Same thing with frozen hot dogs, tuna, sandwich meat, etc. This way that day the kids were hanging from the ceiling and you couldn't make it to the store, doesn't mean you have to pay a bundle for an unexpected dinner and you can save time by not running out to eat or on an emergency grocery run!
7. Stay on schedule. If you keep a generalized schedule for your family of bedtimes, wake up times, meal times, etc. everyone knows what to expect and is ready when the time comes. We vary our schedule on special occasions but most nights my kids are in bed by 8 pm and they get up around 7 every morning. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at roughly the same times everyday (if we are at home) so there are no surprises or whinies over meal times. This is not only a time saving tip, it's a sanity saving tip!
8. Keep your keys, purse, and any items that need to leave the house with you in one central place. If I know we are going to the grocery store and the library, I have our book tote, the grocery bags, and my coupon binder on the table with my purse and keys. Nothing wastes time more than driving all the way back home for the bag of library books!
9. Lay out clothes the night before. This seems like such a simple thing but it makes a huge difference for us, especially on days we need to be somewhere early. Simply laying out everyone's outfits down to the appropriate shoes, helps the kids get ready all on their own and I don't have to send them back for wardrobe changes!
10. Use that smartphone for all it's worth! There are so many apps to choose from and you don't want to load them all and bog your phone down. However it is a good idea to look for apps that will save you time! Starbucks has a new app you can use basically in place of your Starbucks gift card! You can pay with your phone and keep your gold card rewards while using it! Many other stores are starting to offer these apps and they will help you save time and money because you won't be digging for your card every visit! Just whip out your phone and go! Check out greats apps by Starbucks, Groupon, Target, and more!
I hope these tips help you to save some precious moments! I use all my "extra" minutes to snuggle up with my kiddos for a few minutes of quiet. These days will be over quick enough and I want to cherish them while I can!!
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”