Some days 24 hours just doesn’t seem like enough time to get everything done. Finding shortcuts to increase productivity can help save your sanity.
ENLIST HELP: Don’t feel like you need to be Super Mom. Enlist your kids’ help before bedtime each night to pick up toys, lay out tomorrow’s clothing, put homework and backpacks by the door and pack lunches for the next day. Depending on your children’s ages, they can also help take out the trash, fold laundry, load and unload the dishwasher and straighten up in the bathroom. It’s amazing how much time is saved when everyone pitches in.
SET UP A TASK LIST: Being organized is easier if you have a chart to follow. Set up a spreadsheet so everyone knows what needs to be done each day and who is responsible for completing the task. Post it in a common area. If you have room, a whiteboard will also work to track tasks and completion.
KEEP A FAMILY CALENDAR: Track everyone’s appointments and schedule on one centralized calendar. Post it on the refrigerator so everyone is involved in keeping the family on schedule. Plan your errands around times that you will be waiting for kids to get out of sports or music lessons.
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REDUCE TV TIME: A lot of time is lost watching television each week. Reduce TV viewing to make time for things that are most important, like family time, working out or taking a bubble bath to relax. You can record your favorite shows, and save time by fast-forwarding through the commercials.
SORT LAUNDRY: Set up a system for laundry. Set up bins for sorting in the laundry room; assign one for whites, one for darks, one for towels and one for denim. If you sort as you go, you will eliminate the need to sort laundry on laundry day. Simply take the clothing in each bin and dump it in the washer.
PLACE FURNITURE STRATEGICALLY: Arrange your furniture so the vacuum or mop fits around the corners so you don’t have to move furniture when you clean the floors.
TOUCH IT ONCE: In your office, when you get mail, sort it and plan to touch it only once. If it’s junk mail, place it in the trash. If it’s a bill, put it in the “to be paid” folder. Once you’ve written the check or paid the bill online, file the invoice in the folder.
MARATHON COOKING: Try weekly or monthly cooking and freeze meals. This will reduce the amount of time spent in the kitchen and you can still have nutritious foods to serve nightly. Even slicing and dicing components and freezing them will save time. This will also reduce the time you spend at the supermarket.
DIVIDE SNACKS: Take time weekly or monthly to divide snacks into individual serving-size pouches. This will make it easy for the kids to grab a snack or throw it into a lunchbox. You can also make smoothies ahead of time and freeze them.
SHOP ONLINE: But if you do need to go to a store for a purchase, call ahead and ask the sales clerk to pull the item and hold it for you at the register.
MAKE A SHOPPING LIST: To save time at the supermarket, plan your meals and shop from a list. Sort your list into categories such as meat, dairy, produce, deli. If you are sharing shopping responsibilities, cut the list in half, start on opposite sides of the store and meet in the middle. Keep a running list on the front of the refrigerator listing items you need to restock.