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
As regular readers will know I am a keen supporter of the UNICEF charity and the invaluable work they do to protect, nourish and care for those in the world who don’t always have a loud enough voice to call out for help despite it being so badly needed.
I am thrilled to see that for the eight year running Pampers and UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation are once again working together on the “1 pack = 1 vaccine” campaign throughout November and December. The difference this year is that Tesco have joined the campaign, adding their voice and challenging shoppers to help raise the cost of one vaccine every second during the well-known campaign. That would make a grand total of nine million lifesaving vaccinations protecting three million children and their newborn babies.
A team from Tesco and Pampers visited Senegal, West Africa, to see the success of the UNICEF vaccination programme and meet those who have witnessed the devastating effects of MNT first-hand:
Ami Seck tragically lost her first baby boy to tetanus;
“After a few days, we noticed the child was trembling excessively,” Mame Touty, Ami’s mother-in-law says, “We spent nine days in hospital, but the boy died on the tenth day. When it happened we were very dejected. After the regretful incident, Ami became pregnant again, but we learnt lessons, we had an antenatal care package, and everything went smoothly. Everyone knew that our baby boy died but we are a living example of how you can get out of the maze.”
Moussa Pouye is the Chief Nurse at Dabaly Health Post, Nioro District, Senegal talk about dealing with a case of tetanus;
“I had to deal with a case of tetanus where the lady had no antenatal care or tetanus vaccinations. I met with the Supervisor of the Health Centre and he gave me 200 doses of tetanus to do an immediate campaign in the area to avoid another case. We made sure all other women in the village were protected. The village, Touba Saloum, now has its own Health Hut and all the women are subscribing.”
Ways you can help:
Visit your local Tesco today and pick up your pack of Pampers or buy online at Tesco.com:
1 Pack = 1 Vaccine
During October – December 2013, for each Pampers®- UNICEF pack purchased, Pampers® will donate the cost of one tetanus vaccine to support UNICEF in the fight against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus.
UNICEF Pledge Donations
By becoming a monthly donor to UNICEF today you can join thousands of other parents who donate every month to improve the lives of these vulnerable children. Visit www.supportunicef.org/Pampers to see the difference that you can make.
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