You’ve got 99 problems and having too much time on your hands is absolutely not one of them. From keeping your kids alive, maintaining a home, and working you’ve got your hands more than full.
In fact, you need to find more time in your day so you don’t go full-on crazy.
I feel ya. With 4 small kids, a busy house, and a job, I know exactly what it feels like to be drowning in responsibilities and wishing for more time every single day.
Which is why I’ve made it practically my life’s mission to figure out how moms can save time and live with more peace and well being. So I’m here with the best time saving tips for moms with no time on their hands.
TIME SAVING TIPS FOR MOMS
1) Be careful with YOUR screen time.
We get concerned about our kid’s screen time, but what about our own. Between binge-watching Netflix or Hulu and scrolling through social media feeds, a lot of our day can get sucked away in the snap of a finger.
Don’t get me wrong. I 100% believe in having relaxing time everyday. And if that means scrolling instagram or watching a late night show with your husband, then so be it. Just make sure it’s intentional time and not a mindless endeavor.
2) Re-Evaluate Your To-Do List
If something on your to-do list is not really important, scratch that sucker out.
Personally, I think that spending a lot of time on your kid’s hair is a complete waste of time (and I’m saying this as the mother of 4 little girls). I mean, if you get serious joy and satisfaction out of creating complex hairstyles on your kid’s heads, then knock yourself out.
But if you don’t. If you feel like you’re just trying to fulfill some outside expectation: Let. It. Go.
This principle applies to anything you feel like you should be doing to meet outside expectations, but doesn’t actually get you anywhere. Maybe it’s needing spend an hour getting ready in order to let people see you. Or getting involved with projects with your kid’s school or at your church when you really don’t have the time.
Decide what’s really important to you and let go of the rest.
3) Meal Plan
Do you ever get to dinnertime with no dinner planned and your brain simply refuses to think clearly for long enough to come up with something?
Mom brain at dinner time is the worst. But it can be easily avoided with weekly meal planning.
First off, planning in advance means you can be sure to get all the ingredients you’ll need on your grocery lists, avoiding unnecessary trips to the store. Secondly, you won’t have to try and scramble to put something together for dinner when you’re exhausted and your kids are lying on the floor acting as though you haven’t fed them this week.
Tip: Have a routine weekly planning session over the weekend where you sit and plan your meals for the next week. I plan my entire week every Sunday afternoon including meals, workouts, appointments, grocery lists, and top priorities.
4) Grocery Shop Once a Week (at most)
If you’ve made your weekly meal plan, then this is easy. Because you know what you need for the week.
Make sure you’re keeping solid grocery lists (I use the Microsoft lists app on my phone to keep track of my grocery lists).
5) Stick to a couple stores.
I get wanting to take advantage of the best deals, but is the hassle of running around to a million stores really worth it?
I used to do this, hauling 4 kids 4 and under around town deal hunting. A lot of time and a lot of gas later (not too mention a fair bit of tears in the car), I decided to just stick to only ever going to 3 stores near my home. On any given week, I’ll only go to 1 or 2 of them.
My advice? Pick 2-3 stores where you can meet about 95% of your shopping needs. For the rest, use Amazon and the occasional special store run.
6) Make one dinner for everybody (even the picky eaters).
If you have picky eaters, you can feel like you need to make separate meals for the kids in order to make sure they each. <However, research suggests that making separate meals only perpetuates picky eating and unhealthy habits. And it makes you run around like a chicken with your head cut off at every meal.
But Mama, you don’t have to be a short order cook to get everyone to eat. Best thing for your kids and you is to make ONE healthy meal with a few food options.
After reading this book, I stopped making separate food for my picky eaters. Just one meal with variety. And guess what? Not only is my life easier, but my children have become less picky and much more healthy eaters.
7) Stock your freezer with meal prep.
Engaging in any degree of meal prep during your week is going to save you time. Whether you make a big batch of muffins or waffles to freeze and pull out for breakfasts or you triple your batch of spaghetti and freeze the extra, you are saving oodles of time down the road.
8) Keep running grocery lists.
You know those times when it suddenly pops into your brain that you are low on toilet paper or milk or body wash? Do ever then completely forget about it until after you’ve gone to the store?
It happens to the best of us.
To avoid this, you need to have one central location that you keep your running shopping lists of everything you need. That way, when you run to the store you can see the list and know everything you need.
This could be using:
- A list app on your phone
- Your planner
- A list on your fridge
Personally, I keep a running list for the 3 main stores I go to on our big family calendar. I’ve learned that if I don’t immediately run and put it on the list, I’ll probably forget and I’ll end up having to make a special trip to the store because we are down to 10 sheets of toilet paper.
9) Use timers.
Setting timers is a wonderful way to keep both you and your kids accountable. Only want to browse Facebook for 10 minutes? Set a timer or it might end up being more like 45.
Buried in laundry? Set a timer and do what you can in 15 minutes (and trust me, all you need is <15 minutes a day to stay up on laundry).
Want your kids to clean up? Put on some greats music and set a timer.
Timers can be a major time saver. We set a timer every evening with our girls. Before bed, they have to have the playroom and their bedrooms picked up. We set a timer for between 5-10 minutes, depending on the mess.
It used to take 40 minutes of us repeatedly nagging them to stop playing and clean before we started setting the timers on our phones. Now, if their messes aren’t clean before the timer goes off, they lose a bedtime story and song (our girls will do anything to make sure their get their story and song).
Now the messes vanish in minutes and our bedtime routine takes almost half the time. Timers for the win!
10) Make use of grocery pickup.
When I did grocery pickup for the first time (i.e. you order groceries online and then park at the store where somebody brings it all out to you) I swear the heavens opened and choirs of angels were singing.
Within minutes of arriving, everything on my lists was packed neatly into the back of my van. No dragging my kids up and down a store over the course of an hour with them begging to buy toys or candy. No tantrums mid-store where kindly passersby comment that my hands “sure are full” while my children cry and I fantasize about eating an entire box of Milkduds alone in my room.
Instead, with grocery pickup, shopping with kids is quick and easy.
I use Walmart’s free grocery pickup and it has been a game changer. You order the day before and schedule pickup (i always schedule the mornings because that’s when it’s the least busy in my area). You drive over, someone comes out and puts everything in your car, and you are on your way. I highly recommend it.
See if Walmart pickup is in your area. Follow this link and get $10 off your first purchase. You’re gonna love the convenience.
11) Let your kids dress themselves.
This is one of those win-win scenarios. your learn independence and are thrilled to have control over their clothes and you don’t have to spend any time dressing them. Concerned about what people think? Review tip #4.
I adopted this more out of necessity than choice. Before I knew it, I was a mom of 4 girls 4 and under teaching college history classes part time. I couldn’t have dressed me kids if I’d wanted to. But once my girls hit 2, they’ve all shown a big interest in dressing themselves. So I’ve let them. They get to develop their own sense of style, learn responsibility, and also exert some control in their lives. All while I don’t have to do anything!
12) Keep consistent routines.
When something becomes routine, it means it’s something that you automatically do and don’t have to think about it. If you don’t have a set routine to workout each week, then every day it’s a time-wasting battle to decided whether you will or won’t. Without set routines, you end up stumbling through your day and wasting time.
Need a better morning routine? Check out the free 5-day Morning Makeover Email Challenge.
RELATED: 4 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Evenings (and How to Fix it)
13) Include Your Kids in Household Chores
While teaching your kids chores takes extra time in the beginning, it’s worth every second. Because not only will your kids become super helpful as they become more proficient, kids who do chores are more likely to be happy and successful as adults.
If you need help getting started, check out 13 Ways to Get Kids Excited About Chores.
The fewer things you have, the less time you spend cleaning and organizing your home. While there are many methods to do this, I highly recommend Mari Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Before the birth of my fourth kid, I felt like I was drowning in stuff. How on earth was I going to fit another human in our house when it felt like we were about to spill out the windows and doors? Then a friend recommended this book. I devoured it within a couple days and immediately started implementing her strategies.
The result? We were able to clear out at least ⅓ of our belongings, make over $600 through Craigslist and a garage sale, and our home felt spacious and uncluttered. I spent far less time cleaning, while my house consistently looked and felt better.
Declutter your house. Donate your junk. And spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your life.
14) Start your day with a plan.
Failure to plan wastes on average about 2 hours of time a day. That means if you just spend 15 minutes of your morning planning out your day, you’ll end up saving an hour and 45 minutes.
Things to consider when planning your day:
- Your top priorities for the day. What are the most important thing you need to accomplish.
- Meal plan
- Scheduled appointments
- Scheduled down time
I promise you, scheduling your day (and week) will save you so much time. Need more help? Check out this free daily planner template.
15) Use Amazon Prime.
You can get just about anything on Amazon. And usually within just a day or two. For the 5% of the stuff I can’t get at the 3 stores I typically visit, I go to Amazon for the rest. I can simply order online, and a day or two later it’s at my doorstep without having to drag kids around town and into a store where they will inevitably need to go pee as I’m waiting in a long checkout line.
Additionally, with their subscribe and save, a lot of household items are not only cheaper than many stores, but will come to you on a schedule so you don’t have to think about it. I love it!
SMALL STEPS LEAD TO BIG CHANGES
Following even a few of these suggestions is going to help you save time and get organized. And if you are interested in more resources to get organized, check out the Exclusive Printables Library full of printables to help you create great routines and get organized. You can get free access by signing up below.
You’ve got this, mama.
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I like these tips. I’m going to check out the book you recommended about picky eaters. I have a couple of those (though it is complicated by allergies, so we will see). I can also second the power timers have to get kids to jump into action! I’m a BIG fan.
Oh Melanie, it’s soooo good. It completely changed things at our house. Meals are way calmer and my kids not only eat much healthier, but they try new things without a struggle. None of the principles in the book can’t be implemented with allergies. You’re gonna love it 🙂