Tested Time Savers.

Do you ever have that nagging suspicion that you really could get everything done-wash your hair, feed your kids, kiss your husband more-if you just had oh, about a million extra minutes in your day? Well, you can't multiply your time (unfortunately), but you can maximize it. For today's mother, life is more than just a juggling routine--it's one of those freaky circus acts where you walk across trapezes with a thousand things balanced on your shoulders. So, here are a few tips to help you milk those precious minutes for all they're worth….

RUNNING ERRANDS

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.

MEAL PREPARATION

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.

PAYING BILLS

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