When the lovelies from LG asked me if I thought tips for busy parents would be something my readership would be interested in I said “absolutely, provided they have time to read them”. That speaks volumes really.
I work from home full time with hours starting at 4am so that I can achieve the almighty balance between working, looking after the house and spending quality time with my family. These tips from LG make a lot of sense and hopefully will be useful to some of you.
Do you feel like you just don’t have enough time? Between the shopping, chores, housework cooking and childcare it seems like you are always behind. And what about time for yourself? (I may have sniggered here) There are ways to live more efficiently, and it isn’t as hard as you might think. Let’s take a look at some sure fire organisational strategies that will give you more free time. We also have some special tips for working mums.
It takes a plan
You might think that you don’t have time to plan, but force yourself to sit down with a pen and paper and write out a weekly schedule. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on this. For example, mark down the best time for you to go food shopping each week (or get it delivered by a supermarket like Tesco) and stick to this. You can do the same for chores and housework as well. If your mind is organised, then you save time because you don’t have to plan along the way.
A word about keys: buy a key holder to hang by your front door. Never lose time again looking for misplaced keys.
My thoughts: A plan is absolutely essential! Whether you have an online diary or a paper one, use it. Make sure you make a note of home related activities and appointments and fit everything else around this. I also enjoy a mix of online grocery shop (so convenient) and Lidl for my bargains and it saves me a lot of time and money.
Designate one day a week to run errands. This makes sense because you save on travel time. If you are going out of the house several times a week, you waste time. You will also save on travel costs with this strategy.
My thoughts: I do this weekly, straight from the school run when I am already out and about. This is the day I do any banking, going to the post office etc.
Do things in bulk
This applies mostly to food. For instance, if you can, buy as much as you can in bulk. Dry goods, like pastas and rice, are great examples. This will streamline your time spent in the supermarket. Also, buy your meat products in quantity and stash it in all in the freezer. You can also do your cooking in batches. For example: making a sauce? Then make two or three batches and freeze the left overs. Then next week you just have to defrost the sauce instead of making it from scratch. Finally, if you decide to do a barbeque in the summer, throw on some extra meat (whole chickens are great here) that you can eat the next day heated up in the microwave.
My thoughts: I am a keen advocate for bulk buying /cooking / freezing. I used Clare Barry the online butcher (worth a Google) and her green deals for meat and often fill my freezer.
Trim down activities
Do you really have to do everything that you do? Take a good look at your social activities and decide if they are essential. You don’t have to say “yes” to everyone and everything. If you don’t retain your sanity you won’t be useful to anyone. It’s ok to say “no” sometimes.
My Thoughts: I have got this one licked! I can now be positively unsociable these days and love it!
Take time for yourself
This may sound counterintuitive to the above recommendation, but time spent on oneself is critical. You have to recharge your batteries to work efficiently. Take time to exercise, read, and meditate or whatever it is that relaxes you. Exercise classes are great because you’re more likely to stick to it if it’s scheduled at the same time every week. Find a list of all the classes at Fitness First here. Your mental, spiritual and physical health help you make fast decisions instead of feeling behind schedule all the time.
My Thoughts: For me this is a work in progress but I’m getting there (time for me, not exercise by the way. I do walk a lot….)
The working mum
If you work, your challenges are unique, but a lot of the same principles apply. Some additional tips are:
- Take public transportation if you can, and get work done during your commute.
- Connect with other mums you trust to cover each other with weekly play dates for your kids. This can free up one afternoon per week to get chores done. You can connect with other local mums on Chums4mums, a social network just for mums.
- Buy facial creams that combine moisturiser, sun screen and skin tone all in one product. A busy mum can still be beautiful.
- Train your kids along the way. Teach them how to prepare their own backpacks and dress themselves. Get them to chip in with cleaning or tidying chores.
- Keep the kids entertained in the evenings when you have things to do. Whether it’s specific toys, DVDs, books or even your own gadgets (download fun and educational games apps on your phone perhaps – the new G2 smartphone from LG even has a guest mode so your kids can’t access your personal stuff).
- Get the kids to bed early and at the same time every night. This gives you time to get some things done in the evening without interruption.
- Pre-sort laundry: have separate bins for colours and whites. The sorting is done before the clothes goes into the wash.
- Do clothes washing every day before work so it can just be put away when you get home.
My thoughts: All good points. I need to write a whole post about these tips for when you work from home especially.
It is also a good idea to make running checklists of important tasks that you must complete. Write it down and cross it out when each task is finished. This also boosts your confidence as you visually register that you are getting the jobs done.
Remember, a lot of it is a mental game. When there is order you think more clearly. You don’t have to spend time worrying and chasing your tail. So invest the time now, get organised, and save time later. You can do it!
My thoughts: (Sounding like Bob the Builder) Yes I Can!
**A featured post
I know, I know! It is November and us Christmas loons need to sort ourselves out and put a hold on our festive cheer so ridiculously early, and all that jazz. As it happens I do agree that playing Christmas music in stores on the first of November could be a little premature but as for the rest….. I can’t wait to get started!
Christmas is a very special time for us, not just Roy, myself and the boys but my whole family as I am one of six siblings and we still all go to Mum and Dad’s house on Xmas every year to exchange gifts with each other before going off to attend to our own fabulous Christmas day traditions. Obviously with so many siblings, so many extra family members and SO many fun events to attend before and during Christmas it makes sense for us to start early.
This week I set myself a list of “Christmas things to do” and here is what I have achieved:
Check gifts: I save with Park during the year and so in October I received a wad of vouchers for use against my Christmas present buying. I have also been picking things up as and when I’ve seen a suitable bargain. This week I took everything down, checked what I have against my master list and reminded myself of what I need to get still.
Gather Inspiration: I adore Christmas magazines (although still can’t get my hands on the Good Housekeeping Christmas Edition!) and build a healthy collection before the season is out. I have also been spending an obscene amount of time pinning crafts and recipes on Pinterest.
Start Stockpiling: The idea was to go to Lidl, get a few festive goodies to put away and not eat any of them. I did buy festive goodies….. that is all I have to say on that.
Get Wrap and Cards: Done! If I’d been very clever I’d have bought sellotape too but hey-ho, I need to leave something for next week.
Slim For Santa: Every year I give my slimming journey an extra kick so I will *hopefully* look better in Xmas photos. This year I have decided that I am being ridiculous and unrealistic and am looking forward to a relaxed and sensible but not so much slimming Christmas.
All in all I think my Christmas prep so far is going pretty well, what do you think? Are you super-organised and have you started ticking things off a master list yet?
*This post has been entered in my favourite linky, in fact the only linky I take part in which is called Festive Friday and this week’s posts can be found here.
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