I’m a busy mom. I’m going to bet that you’re a busy mom (dad) too. We all do soooo much. Multitasking, running errands, paying bills, getting the kids fed, getting the kids to their next appointment, driving here, running there and doing thirty things at once! Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but we do a lot, that’s no lie.
For those of you out there who feel like you’re running in circles and your list of what needs to be done increases more than it decreases, here are some of the things that I’ve done that’s helped me out just a little. My kids think if they invent a robot with a lot of arms it can do everything for me. Until that day happens, I’m going to stick with these helpful tips for the busy mom (or dad).
- Write a To Do List. I’ve written about this one before. You know I’m obsessed with them, but they really do help. In the past I was the type of mom who kept every single little detail in my head. Honestly, there just isn’t enough room for it all. I started forgetting things, getting overwhelmed and so much more. Getting the to do list started let me keep track of what I need to do, I can keep adding to the list, I’m allowing myself to not keep all of those details in my head, and it feels good to cross things off the list! Yeah, I know, I’m weird, but it motivates me!
- Ask for Help. Do this one within the means of your situation. If your kids are old enough to help out, ask them to help, set up chore lists, start up an allowance, do whatever it takes to get the help so you’re not the only one doing all the work. Ask your spouse or significant other to help with some of the other tasks. Maybe your spouse can pick up dry cleaning on their way home to save you time? If you have the means to, hire someone to watch the kids for a few hours so you can get some of your list done without interruption. You can even trade babysitting with a friend, so you both get some time!
- Create a Meal Plan. I have a hard time with this one, but it helps on so many levels. It keeps me organized. I know what’s for dinner, and so does my husband, so if I’m not around, he can get things going. It forces me to have a grocery list, and I stick to that list, so my grocery bill isn’t as high and my shopping experience doesn’t take as long. The hardest part is deciding what to make for each meal and getting it written down. Once you’re in a routine though, it’s not so bad.
- Pack Lunches the Night Before. We work together to look at the next day’s schedule to see who needs what for the day, then we get it all packed and ready in the fridge so it’s a grab and go the next morning. Many people have trouble getting out the door on time in the morning, this is just one less step you have to worry about.
- Just-In-Case Bag for the Car. I picked this one up when the kids were still babies/toddlers. I was always forgetting something in the diaper bag, or plans would change, or something would happen and I wasn’t prepared, so I started sticking a bag in the car with things I frequently needed and didn’t have on hand. That bag stays in the car, unless I’m refilling it, then it goes right back out there. Currently we have snacks (the new V8 Protein bars and shakes are perfect!) dried fruit and nuts, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, sunscreen, a comb, hair ties and tooth picks. Trust me, toothpicks have come in handy for us recently.
- Get Some Me Time. I know this sounds counter productive when your to do list is two miles long. “Why would I stop working on the list?!? I don’t have time to sit down and relax! I have stuff to do!” The reality is if you don’t take a break and give yourself time to unwind you’ll be less productive and get burned out faster. Find some time, everyday, to sit back and relax. Drink a cup of tea while you read the paper, do some yoga, read a book, watch a movie. Whatever you do to relax, do it!
- Reduce Social Media Time. You have no idea how hard this was for me, but it works! When I give myself set times to be on social media for both work and personal stuff, I’m a lot more productive than when I don’t put boundaries on it. Turning off the computer for an hour and doing something else either productive, or just because boosts my motivation and reminds me there is a sun in the sky. Yeah, I was in the social media fog there for awhile. I’m better now. Promise! Now I get my social media time and my real life time. It’s a good balance. I’m good with it.
- Create a Snack Basket. This has helped us out with snack time a lot. In the past the kids would ask for a snack and I’d just rummage around in the pantry until I found something. Now that I have a centralized location, I can just tell them to pick something from the basket. I can keep good-for-you choices available for the whole family, such as the V8 Protein Bars and fresh fruit. If the kids are being picky and don’t want any of the choices available, then they can just wait for the next meal to eat. Yeah, I’m tough that way, but you can’t say I’m not offering them awesome snacks! That’s their loss!
- Make Rooms Efficient. I don’t know about you, but I’m always searching for scissors, or tape, or some other obscure tool. When I really started paying attention, I realized there are some rooms I need those supplies in more than others. What I decided to do was to keep a drawer in each room with duplicate supplies. Now I have scissors in my office, my family room, the kitchen, etc. Instead of running around trying to figure out where I had the scissors last, they are always where I need them, when I need them. This has made the rooms so much more efficient for me and has increased my productivity.
- Multitask Effectively. Depending on what your day looks like, and how much attention you have to give your kids, you might be able to accomplish this one. We all multitask. Multitasking can be a great thing. It can also be a very chaotic thing. When I say to multitask effectively, I mean if you find yourself sitting in a waiting room and you know you’ll be there for awhile, grab your phone and make some return calls or make some appointments you need to schedule. If you have a smart phone, laptop or tablet with you, check your email and reply to those while you wait. I know not everyone will be able to accomplish this depending on situation, however if you can do it, do it! It will save you time and you’ll get more things crossed off your to do list!
Those are my top ten tips for busy moms (and dads). I hope some of them can help you out. I also notice that finding a favorite product can help across the board. For example, the new V8 Protein Bars and Shakes are making there way into a lot of my time saving routines, and I’m not surprised. They have six flavor options through all of the shakes and bars. They are good-for-you choices. It’s a no brainer for me to start adding them to my routines. You can learn more about them by following V8 on Facebook and Twitter.
And they are easy to find. I found mine easy in the health and beauty section of Walmart, right near the pharmacy.
These V8 Protein bars go pretty darn fast in our house. The V8 Protein shakes too, but I managed to capture the devouring of a V8 Protein bar yesterday. Check it out.
What are your best time saving tips for busy moms and dads? Share them in the comments.