It seems lately that, on some days, I feel like I don't know if I'm coming or going. I work full time and I attend nursing school on my days off. Now that I'm doing my clinical rotations, it's like I basically have two jobs!! Throw in four kids, errands, and chores....and life becomes a non-stop whirlwind of things that need to get done.
Even with a stay-at-home dad taking on most chores, it still feels like there aren't enough hours in the day. Some days, we both feel overworked and over tired--wishing that we can etch out a little time to enjoy our own hobbies and interests.
So....I did some thinking and came up with some helpful time saving hints:
1. You're NOT perfect! Nobody is and nobody has to be. Once you've realized that very important fact, you'll be well on you're way to finding some time in the day for yourself. You don't have to get everything done! The house doesn't have to be spotless! You CAN leave the dishes until tomorrow and read a book tonight....it is perfectly okay to do this....you have my permission (not that you needed it).
2. Make a menu. Don't wait until the last minute to decide what to have for dinner. Often, that just leads to fast food pickups or over-processed meals. We talk about the menu as a family and everyone gets to pick a meal. That ensures that there is food on the menu that all the kids will eat. Save the big fancy dinners for your days off and make simple dishes during the week. Making your grocery list against your menu can also keep you from making too many impulse purchases when you shop.
3. Let your kids help! In our house, we are a team. We all have chores that we are responsible for and we do them at a set time every night. When we all work together, it makes chore time go MUCH faster. Not only will this save time but you'll also be preparing the kids for that future time when you're not there to clean up all their messes!
4. Pick your smartphone's brain. Whether you have an iphone or an android device, there are loads of apps that are designed to help you get organized and save time. An organizer app like Jorte can help you keep track of dates and appointments. Astrid is an app that sets alarms to remind you of the things that you might have forgotten about. There are apps that manage your discount cards and help you make lists too. Which brings me to my next idea....
5. Make Lists. Lists help me keep track of what I need to do...plus I get that sense of accomplishment when I can cross an item off my list. These days, I use a list making app on my android phone. This way I don't have to worry about losing my list or having to hunt down paper and pen.
6. Go to just one store. I hate running around from store to store. I prefer going to a store that sells just about everything I need under one roof. Wal-Mart and Target are two of my best friends! Going to just one store will save not only time, but gas as well. Or better yet....
7. Shop online. There aren't too many things that can't be bought online these days. Just this week, I bought all my household paper and soap products, makeup, and a music player for my son as an 8th grade graduation gift...all from the comfort of my favorite chair.
8. Multitask. Look for things in your life that can be done at the same time. We often go to the laundromat and put our clothes in the wash then head to the grocery store or go run other errands. I take my homework to work with me (I realize not everyone has this luxury but if you do...go for it!). A classmate of mine studies during her work commute. Everyone's life is different but I can bet there are instances where everyone can put multitasking into practice.
9. Decide what's really important. Not everything is so dire that it needs to be done RIGHT NOW. Prioritize, then organize.
10. Don't get overwhelmed. A stressed out mom is an unhappy mom. An unhappy mom is not going to be able to get anything done. Space out the big jobs. Don't overload your schedule. Take a coffee break if you need one and don't forget to.....just breathe.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information about how you can participate Click Here