Time Saving Tips For Working Mamas
posted by: Gretchen
Have you ever walked into a room only to discover that you can’t remember why you went there? Gone to a store for something specific and gotten a bunch of other stuff but not what you actually went there for? Working moms are challenged with thinking of what they have to do at work and what they have to do at home that sometimes your brain can become one giant jumble. So, we have assembled a list of tips and resources that will help you save time and maybe even your sanity. (These tips, by the way, are in no particular order).
1. Find pockets of time. If your weekends are less hectic, take the time then to pre-pack parts of lunches for the whole week. Put snacks in their baggies so they are an easy grab when you are making lunches. Or if your evenings are less hectic, do tasks then rather than trying to rush in the morning. If you know your morning is crazy – put the things you will need the next day in the car already so they will be with you.
2. Prioritize. Is is really important to get the dishes done right after dinner? No! And if they are going to be done after dinner, make a fun family game of it…turn on a timer and see who can was a dish and put it in the dishwasher the quickest. (Rewards for the quickest kid could include and extra 5 minutes story time). The same productivity concepts that you learn as a working person will also do well when it comes to parenting. You have to prioritize some tasks because when they are due or how long something might take.
3. Little Helpers. Depending on the kids’ ages, give them jobs. Have them help (see above). I know it sort of sounds crazy but kids like to feel responsible and they can help in the kitchen. Simple things like setting the table or mixing the salad. As the kids get older they can do more difficult tasks. One time I paid my son (who was 8 at the time) $5 to be my personal assistant. He took my phone while I was driving and read emails and texts to me and responded to them for me as well (with me telling him what to write). This was a way for him to learn spelling and responsibility. I don’t think I broke any child labor laws doing that either and kept everyone safe by not texting and driving.
4. Two For One. I am usually a deals blogger so the idea of a two for one is big for me. Usually it is in the context of purchase one get one for free. But the same basic concept applies here. Cook one meal with the second in mind using the leftovers (bonus points if the first one is super easy too like a crockpot meal). One of our favorites is pork roast the first day and the pulled pork sandwiches or pork tacos the next.
4. Services. Stores like Target and WalMart are getting smart to the idea that moms live in a harried world of trying to get from one place to another efficiently. WalMart charges just $5 for them to deliver to your house. Target also has a program called Target Subscriptions. The service allows you to have household essentials delivered to your house. You can set up a regular delivery i.e. every Monday you get diapers, shaving cream, wipes, paper towels and milk delivered at 5 p.m. (You say what you want delivered and how much of it). These services not only save you time but in my house also save us money (because I’m not temped to buy other stuff while I’m at the store). While it is not a delivery service, I love EMeals because they plan an entire week’s worth of meals for you and give you the shopping list!
5. Apps. Use great productivity apps (that can also be used in business) like Remind.me and Evernote. I make notes for things with my family as much as I do for my work. With Evernote you can color code things too – so you can easily see what is work and what is home (and which kid). The other one I like a lot is Google’s Boomerang extention. This will send an email back to you when you can deal with it.
6. Don’t Think. If you can get a task done immediately do it right then and there and it won’t be looming in your head. Otherwise, write it down. I keep a list of grocery store items in my phone (so I don’t forget the list at home). I have a hard time remembering when I’m doing what – so I add it to my calendar in my phone with a notification.
7. Just say YES! Never turn someone down if they offer to help. If someone says they will tote the kids to soccer if you can pick them up the next time – great that buys you one day. If someone offers to pick up the snacks or swing by and get dinner (no matter if it is another mom or your husband). I can’t say that I’ve ever had anyone offer to do my laundry.
I’d love to hear tips from other mamas on how you make it through their daily life with your sanity intact and what tips you can share with other moms!
For more ideas, be sure to go to my 9News segment for additional tips about maximizing your time.