If only we could magically gain a few extra hours every day we wouldn’t need to save time. And what if we also had the energy to keep going for those extra hours? Imagine how much we could achieve?
Obviously, we can’t do that, but we can learn to be smarter with the time we do have. I try to complete as many tasks as possible most days, but then other days I seem to move slower, and I don’t have the same stamina. Ugh, and what about the overwhelm I am continually pushing out of my mind, so I don’t lose my motivation!
Through the busyness of parenthood and the general craziness that life can bring to all of us, I’ve learned a few key things that help to take the rush out of my life, and also allows me to feel ok with what I can accomplish.
Make A Huge Master List
The reason you have a big list is that it’s a good idea to have a place to write all your creative ideas that pop into your head before you forget them. Also, it’s nice to sit down and brainstorm about all the things you eventually want to do around your home, for your family, when you want to entertain, decide to have an organization blowout, spring cleaning, home maintenance and any other projects you want to complete. The Master List will be your continuing go to list and the basis for your Master Plan of using your time so magically organized that you will save time!
Make Your Weekly List
I’m always tempted to load up my week with as many things I would love to complete, but I’ve learned after many frustrating weeks that this strategy is too stressful for me. Instead, I get to enjoy the sweet taste of accomplishment and success if this list is realistic. By that I mean, there is a time in my day for a morning and afternoon 30-minute break and at least an hour or two left open in the evening for family and relaxation.
On Monday I cross off what I complete, and If I finish something off my master list, I cross that off also. If I don’t achieve some things on my list, I decide if they can fit in later in the week or leave them until the following week. Many times the projects on my master list have to be broken down to complete throughout more than one day.
Keep an Ongoing Store List On Your Phone
My list on my phone started after one too many trips to the store without my list! I realized that my phone was the one thing I always have with me. So if I’m in any room of my house and I know I need to add something to the store list I can add it to my notes on my phone, and it won’t be forgotten.
I also keep a magnetic tablet on my fridge for anyone else in my home who uses the last of the butter, ice cream, etc. so I can have a word with them..I mean..know that the item needs replaced. How many times have you come home from the store to be told by your teenage daughter that she’s out of shampoo! So frustrating!
Clean Parts of Your Home Throughout the Week
My Mother kept a super clean home. But she enjoyed cleaning. I hate it! I like a clean house I just get bored with cleaning, so I do it in bits here and there. It feels like less of a chore, and it doesn’t use up my whole day off. I almost always vacuum on Saturdays because of the possibility of weekend visitors.
When I load the dishwasher, I look around at what else needs cleaned in the kitchen and do a little bit each time. Sometimes I have 30 minutes before I need to get into another project so I’ll spiff up one of the bathrooms (clean toilet and sink) or organize a drawer or cupboard. Sure I have a day here and there where I will organize all the drawers in the bedroom but definitely not every week!
The best tip somebody gave me was to clean the shower while you’re in it. It’s so much easier, and it doesn’t matter how wet you get! Of course, you don’t want to use anything full of chemicals that would hurt your skin. I’ve found the “Magic Eraser” by Mr. Clean Products to be great at taking away soap scum without all the scrubbing.
Use a Meal Planning Service
I use Emeals, and it saves time and boredom of the same meals week after week. Emeals offers Classic plans, Budget, Paleo, Low-Fat, Better Homes and Gardens, Diabetic, Vegetarian, AllRecipes, Low-Calorie, Gluten-Free, Heart Healthy, and More for around $5.99 a month. The best part is how easy it makes your life.
Pick your meals from their selection and your grocery list will automatically be in the app on your phone. Plus, the list is organized the same as the layout of the grocery store.
Delegate Part of Your List
As your children grow, they become more than capable of helping you with household and outdoor chores. But, like all of us humans they need a motivating factor to get them moving sometimes.
In the summer kids can be told they can’t play with friends or go to the pool until they get their chores done. On weekends they can’t go out with friends until their rooms are clean. It’s incredible how easy it is to get some help once they realize you won’t budge from this rule. One thing I always suggest though is to lighten their load during the school year. I think kids need to have a childhood, just my opinion. Kids that don’t may look for a way to escape the stress.
My husband asked me to make him a honey-do list one time. I about fell over! The reason he likes this and I imagine a few people feel this way, is because hearing me trying to be sickening sweet while asking him for ten different things is just plain annoying. Be careful to not take advantage of this though. Consider the amount of free time they have and what is crucial to finish.
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Determine What Is No Longer A Priority and Take It Off the List
Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to be perfect at everything you do. Consider nature and how it’s imperfection is beautiful! Try using a planner to plan goals for the year.
Everyone has different things that matter more or less to them. To keep your sanity ease up on something that is not completely necessary. Maybe the car doesn’t have to be washed every week, baseboards cleaned every week, floors washed as often, or the yard perfectly trimmed.
To be honest, all those things were a priority for me because I grew up seeing all of these things done weekly. Then I had to come to terms with the realization that I physically couldn’t do all those things and still be available to my husband and children. Too exhausting!! I didn’t want to rush around all day pushing everyone aside. Life is to short, and unless you love doing this kind of thing don’t do it! It’s great to feel the empowerment that comes from getting your priorities in line.
Make A List Of Things In Your Life That Are More Important Than Your To Do List
It’s almost a 100% sure thing that you won’t be able to complete your list every week, and that’s OK. I think the Millenial Generation gets this idea really well. There are just some things that aren’t worth losing out on to finish that list, and we best remember those things, so we don’t have regrets.
Electronics Are Not Part of Your To Do List
I know we all say it and know it, but man is it hard to do! I figure if there’s an emergency someone will call continually and I’ll notice and make an effort to answer the call. Otherwise, everything else can wait. It’s why many employers make employees keep their phones in their locker or put away unless they’re on break.
Put Things Where They Belong The First Time They Leave Your Hand
I finally got an island in my kitchen, and it’s become a catch-all! So Frustrating! Do yourself and your family a favor and learn the “don’t set it down unless it’s in its place rule.” For example, why unload your pockets onto the kitchen island only to have to pick everything up again and put it where it belongs! This idea works for putting everything away that you touch all day long. If you are laying something down where it doesn’t belong, you just wasted the few minutes it will take you later to pick it back up put it away.
Do All Your Errands In One Trip
To some people, this idea comes naturally. Imagine the gas and time you will save if you can plan your appointments at one side of town on the same day. If you’re close to the grocery store, do your shopping while you’re out. It can make a big day, but it can give you a whole day freed up for other things. Running back and forth to different places on different days is a big time waster. If you really need to find a few extra hours every month this trick could quickly do it for you.
Email, Computer Records, and Apps
The use of email has freed up time for us like never before. Use it instead of a phone call as often as possible. Contact your family with group texts for holiday meals especially if everyone is contributing to the food. I’m not saying to give up all personal calls, but we have to be able to keep up with the times too. Also, this way no two people are bringing chocolate cake and the time it saves you as the planner is astronomical.
Many doctors are allowing email to contact them about concerns that don’t warrant a doctor visit. Great time saver.
Spend some of your downtime checking out the new apps that help you to be organized, save time, and track your health habits. We are living in a fast-paced world, but I believe we can use the technology to keep our lives a little slower and more enjoyable.
Here are some apps I found that look interesting. (coming soon)
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