A mother's life is full of errands, from dentist appointments, to soccer practices, to grocery shopping. We like “chunking” our errands, that is, getting many errands done during one trip, rather than running out for quick errand runs during short bursts of free time. Keep a running list of errands in your day planner, so that when you are out and about, you can refer to this list and remind yourself of anything that might not be at the top of your mind that day.
A key time (and money) saving strategy for meal preparation is to plan your meals for the week in advance. Sunday afternoon is often a good mellow time to do this, but any day that works for you is fine. Mapping out meals for the week will make grocery shopping easier (read: faster) and relieve the stress of constantly having to come up with creative dishes. It will also mean you only have to shop once a week, rather than running to the store every few days. Cook a week’s worth of meals on Sunday and then store your meals in airtight containers in the fridge. If possible, do your grocery shopping early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
ENTERTAINING YOUR CHILDREN
This is one of the main time-melters in today's competitive mommy world. Don't feel the need to get carried away, programming your children's days in 15-minute increments. Often times kids are happiest just playing street hockey or hanging around with the neighbors, so save yourself time by eliminating the to-and-fro of martial arts classes and foreign language lessons. Substitute with the simple things in life: bike riding, bug collecting, and board games to bond with your kids and bring your family together.
There's no question, paying bills can be a pain. To avoid wasting time or last minute fees, try creating a bill-paying folder. Compile stamps, bills, envelopes and your checkbook into a pocketbook or day planner compartment, then whip out the next time you are waiting for the doctor, the dentist, or even your morning latte in an extra-long starbucks line.
GETTING OUT THE DOOR
Getting out the door with a gaggle of little ones underfoot can be tricky and stressful. Try preparing everything you’ll need for the next morning the night before. You can make the lunches and snacks, lay out the kids’ clothes, help the kids pack their backpacks, and get the coats/hats/gloves ready to go. Then, put everything you need by the door for an all-in-one-swoop exit the next morning.
SOME OTHER TIMESAVING RULES OF THUMB
Share the work: It's not just your responsibility to care for the house and kids. By splitting the work with your significant other, you cut the time in...well, you do the math. And by creating chores for your children, you will teach them to be responsible members of the family, while also lightening your own load of chores.
Do it online: Services like Netflix, Shutterfly and Peapod can help you minimize running around by accomplishing tasks from home. In this day and age it is possible to pay all your bills, develop your film, order a pizza and rent movies without ever leaving the house. Used wisely, the internet is a beautiful time-saver. Just be careful not to get distracted, because the internet is also a huge time waster!
Nina Restieri is the Founder and President of momAgenda, the line of organizational products for moms. Check them out at www.momagenda.com .