As a mom who works from home, I am all too familiar with the various things that are time-sucks in the average day. You start out with a bang, but before you know it the day’s half gone and you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. Between chores and meals and kids and work and social media… where does all the time go? Here are some great time saving tips to help moms like you and me redeem that time that gets lost and use it to reach our goals.
Kill News Feed – This is a great little Google Chrome extension that you install and it will do just what it says… it kills your Facebook news feed so you don’t get distracted by everything everyone else is doing when you go to check your Facebook. You still have access to your posts and messages and can conduct business as you need to, but you don’t get the entire news feed that sucks you into the abyss. I don’t know about you, but I am easily distracted and while I have great intentions to just check on my specific groups when I log onto Facebook, that news feed would get me every time. Now, I can just tend to business and then leave with no guilt.
Freezer meals – If you’re not using freezer meals, you’re spending way too much time in the kitchen. Of course, if you love to cook and cooking every meal from scratch provides you with a creative outlet that helps keep you balanced, then by all means, keep doing it. I, however, don’t always like to cook and those meals sometimes come at very inconvenient times. Whether you make them yourself or use a meal prep service to help you out, freezer meals can be a HUGE time saver.
I go in spurts with my freezer cooking. Sometimes I get very motivated and will fix 10 or 20 meals for the freezer at once. Other times, though, it’s as simple as doubling a recipe and putting half in the freezer for next time. Or just browning all 5 lbs of ground beef at once and freezing it into 1lb packages for easy meal prep later. Or throwing a batch of soup or beans in the pressure cooker or crockpot and freezing the leftovers. Even the busiest cooks can put something in the freezer with just a little planning and some Ziplocs.
I also sometimes use a local service called Dinner’s at 6 to stock my freezer. They post a monthly menu and I can pick and choose which meals I want. I pay a reasonable amount for the meals and just pick them up from their storefront in town, already prepared and frozen, ready for my freezer. For an additional fee, they even deliver. The meals are delicious and so easy! Maybe if you look, you can find a company local to you that does the same thing.
Having meals already prepared really helps on those busy days when you really should be doing something besides cooking.
Delegate – This one is so obvious, but needs to be mentioned here, as it is probably the single most important thing for moms to do that we usually don’t do very well. Our kids are way more capable than we sometimes give them credit for and can handle the responsibility of doing household tasks IF we train them properly and have the expectation that they can do it.
Most of the household chores that moms do can be delegated to our children, unless they are very, very small. Even a 5 year old can push a vacuum, dust tables, wipe down doorknobs, sweep with a small-sized broom, etc. Our children can and should be expected to help out around the house. After all, they live there, too, and are probably responsible for at least half the mess.
If you’re not delegating properly to your children, start today. You can begin small, with just one new chore and work with them until they can do it well on their own. I also believe that there’s nothing wrong with paying your kids a little to help out.
Another delegating option is to hire help. Sometimes it seems like we’re spending money we shouldn’t, especially if we’re working on paying down debt, but please remember that you can’t do everything. If you have a business that you’re also trying to run, wouldn’t a better use of your time be to spend it on income producing activities and pay someone else to do the things that don’t make you money? If you have a teenager you know who lives nearby, they may be thrilled to come work for you a few hours a week in exchange for some spending money.
A wise person once told me to “Only do what only you can do.” Think about your options and see if maybe you can delegate more than you are now and free up some time for the things that only you can do, like running your business or snuggling your babies.
Routines – This one should probably have been first on the list, but make sure you establish routines for everything you can. I have a morning routine that gets me going without having to think about it, which is a good thing because I can’t think about much first thing in the morning.
Have routines for your housework, your different business tasks, laundry, bedtime, homeschool, etc. The more routines you establish, the fewer decisions you have to make throughout your day. This helps you avoid what’s called “decision fatigue.” Don’t wear your brain out just handling all the everyday stuff. Save it for the important decisions and you’ll get much more done.
Shop online – Unless you just derive great joy from shopping in person, do all the shopping you can online. I save time and money by ordering groceries online and then either having them delivered or picking them up. Walmart has online ordering now and you just drive up to the special parking spaces and they bring your groceries out to your car. This helps you avoid impulse purchases and keeps you from wandering aimlessly through the store. We have other local grocery stores that we can shop online with, too.
Also, I order our pet food and some of our household goods through Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. I don’t even have to think about dog food or dishwasher soap, because they are automatically delivered to me at regular intervals at cheaper prices than I would pay at the store. If you’re not using these services yet, check them out. You might save a bunch of time AND money.
Hopefully some of these tips are useful to you and help you redeem some time to do the things that are most important to you. Remember, time spent on one thing is time spent away from something else. Decide what’s most important and then determine to spend your time on those things, because once it’s spent, we don’t get it back.
What great time-saving tips do you use to make your life easier? Are there some you’ve tried that just didn’t work out? Let me know in the comments below.