Listen to the podcast episode here.
Being a mom is hard.
Trying to keep your sanity while juggling all the home management, meltdowns, responsibilities, snack breaks and your own mental health can feel impossible some days.
So, today, I’m sharing with you my top ten tips for saving time (and sanity).
1. Get up earlier than your kids.
I know every time-hack-guru out there says to “make more time, get up early,” but if you are letting your children be your alarm clock, you are missing out on a beautiful and purposeful morning.
Get up before your kids, enjoy a hot cup of coffee, start a load of laundry and plan your day.
You’ll get more done throughout your day by planning it, setting an intention and starting out in a good mood. Feel like you’re in charge of your day and see what you can accomplish.
2. Follow the 2 minute rule.
The 2 minute rule is simple: unless your child is screaming, crying or bleeding, when you see something that needs done and will take less than 2 minutes, DO IT IMMEDIATELY.
Don’t let it fester in your mind on the back burner. If you take the two minutes to do it now, you won’t have to think of it again. When you let it go, you’ll spend more than 2 minutes thinking about it, stressing about it, dreading doing it.
3. Use a Priority Matrix to prioritize your to do list.
A priority matrix is a fantastic way to prioritize your tasks that need done. It also allows for you to remove items from your to do list, completely guilt free. There’s a reason Dwight Eisenhower was known for using these (and getting a lot of very helpful systems in place – like the interstates!).
Break your to do list down into these categories based on importance and urgency. Focus your energy first to “Important-Urgent.” Remove all the tasks listed as “Unimportant-Not Urgent.” Schedule a later time to do all of the “Important – Not Urgent.” If possible, delegate all of the “Unimportant – Urgent” tasks (hello Honey Do List).
4. Meal Plan.
If I don’t have a plan in place for my dinners, I will flounder about with severe decision anxiety for an hour before giving up and feeding my family cereal. Meal planning helps to take away the decision in the moment, ensures that you have what you need to cook it before it’s time to cook it, and relieves one stress out of the day.
If you need help meal planning, check out this post: The Easy Way to Meal Plan.
Another great option is a meal delivery service. We’ve used Hello Fresh in the past and love this concept. Plus it let’s us try new recipes I wouldn’t have otherwise given a try. (I am not paid by Hello Fresh to say any of this, but if you’re from Hello Fresh and want to pay me, that’d be cool).
5. Put limits on your social media and gaming apps.
Right now, open up your settings on your phone and check out your screen time average for the week. A quick Google search tells me that the average American spends 5 hours on their phone every day. That’s 35 hours a week, and technically a full time job. (Be pretty cool if your phone service provided health insurance, though, huh?)
Imagine what you could get done with that 5 hours each day. Read some books, write some books…
6. Have pre prepared snacks and lunches available.
If you’re a mom of littles, you’re also probably tired of being a tiny human’s snack concierge, too. I remember the day my oldest learned how to get his own yogurt cup from the fridge, grab a spoon and open it up himself.
Keep some healthy snacks, easy open is even better, on hand. Even if you don’t allow your kids to snack on their own time, having something you can grab with zero prep for you, is going to be a time saver.
7. Order groceries online.
You could spend an hour plus in the grocery store with your screaming kids, or you could order from the comfort of your couch while they happily watch Cocomelon. This choice is super easy for our family.
Plus my toddler will almost always nap when I go to pick up groceries, so not waking him up is a huge bonus.
8. Time block and batch tasks.
Using a time block is a super funcitonal way to plan out your days and keep them intentional. You can assign whatever sort of tasks you do to different blocks of time. As a rule of thumb, my typical day looks like this:
7-9: quiet time. coffee & Jesus. start a load of laundry
9-11: house work, breakfast, dry laundry.
11-3: blog, business, errands, lunch.
3-5: house work, fold laundry.
5: rest, play with kids.
7: family time.
8-10: kids bath, books and bed time. followed by adult conversations with the husband.
9. Say “no” more often to things that don’t fill your soul with joy.
If there’s something on your calendar that you once got excited for but now you are dreading it and stressing out about it every time it comes around; it’s time to quit.
This can be a super difficult decision to make the first time, but it gets so much easier. Search your soul and ask if you attending this thing you’re not looking forward to is actually benefitting you or anyone else. Or is it causing stress and strain on you and your family?
Free up your schedule and free up your heart. Also, if you’re not enjoying this role anymore, there’s someone out there that would love to take your place, and you not quitting this is keeping them from ever being presented the opportunity to rise.
I could write an entire guide on decluttering your home (in fact I have), but the 2 biggest time savers I want you to know today are about toys and dishes.
Toy rotations are a beautiful thing because they don’t require you to actually get rid of any of the toys (though it is highly encouraged for sanity purposes),your kids feel like they get new toys all the time and it’s easier to clean up.
When your kids have access to fewer toys, the toy mess is going to be smaller, that’s math. When the mess is smaller, your kids aren’t as overwhelmed by them and can be in charge of their own clean up as early as 18 months if you’re consistent with them.
Dishes every single day of your life. You use dishes, you clean dishes, it’s an endless, vicious cycle. It doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence though. I fought it for years, but when I finally stored away all the extra dishes, I saw a huge change in my kitchen and my morale almost overnight.
I learned this little tip from Allie Casazza, the life minimalist:
Keep only 1 of every kind of dish in your cupboards per family member.
This might mean that sometimes you’ll have to wash your plate from breakfast before dinner, but don’t let that scare you away from this piece of advice. washing a single dish only takes about 30 seconds; whereas loading every dish you own into your dishwasher takes 20-30 minutes, plus time to run the washer and find out a lot didn’t get cleaned because you crammed it too full and your tetris skills just aren’t what you thought they were.
Give these tips a try and let me know how they work for you!