The good old days are gone. For mums who have to juggle very busy and challenging work schedules with the demands of maintaining a healthy home, it’s safe to say tough new days have taken over.
Contemporary mums are always on call and there’s hardly enough time to meet up before 24 hours breezes away. Save some extra hours to get more items in your long list of to-dos sorted and enjoy more leisure with these useful tips:
1. PUT YOUR ACTS TOGETHER
For busy mums on the go, getting and staying organized is essential to saving time.
Cultivate the culture of keeping things in specific places your little kids can’t reach and returning them immediately after each use. Imagine if everything was in place 90% of the time, picking them up for use when they’re needed becomes a breeze. Then, you wouldn’t have to spin your wheels looking fora name card or that piece of jewelry on a busy Monday morning.
2. SCHEDULE TO-DOS OFF PEAK
Standing on long queues at the bank to pay utility bills, sitting in rush hour traffic, navigating the crowd at the grocery store on busy days are sinkholes that are time consuming. If affordable, get a driver and use traffic time to work off emails, make calls, or for some quiet devotion, instead of just looking out of the window. Make a habit of doing things that necessitate you to commute ‘off peak’, so you can arrive at and leave work early. Find out if it’s possible to pay your utility bills online to avoid bank queue. Less time spent waiting is more time available to devote to indulging yourself.
3. MAP OUT YOUR DAY
Begin each day by quickly mapping out where your time goes. The idea is to make you figure out the haphazard elements in your schedule to decide if you’ll need to streamline or not to free you up for what’s really important. Sometimes it’s not the number of commitments on your schedule that counts but the disorder and uncertainty surrounding them. Working out solutions to potential problems early enough helps you utilize your time efficiently and ensure your day runs smoothly.
4. MAKE NOTES AS YOU GO
You stopped at the store on your way from work to get the groceries for dinner but you forget one important ingredient. However nerve-breaking it might be, you suspend preparing dinner to source for where to buy in your hood. Taking stock of what you need regularly and jotting them in a notepad you carry around relieves you of frustrating incidences like this and helps maximize your time.
5. SHOP IN BULK
Make optimum use of your pantry, refrigerator and deep freezer to store appropriate food items guaranteed serve you long enough. Buy toiletries and other household items in bulk. Putting a stop to the almost daily trip to the market or mall saves you an extra hour or two to play around with.
6. HAVE A MENU PLAN
The time you spend every morning and evening trying to think up what to prepare for breakfast or dinner could be put to better use. Create a menu plan that takes care of what to prepare for the week on weekends. It does not only save you extra minutes to use, it eliminates the unnecessary headaches too.
7. IDENTIFY YOUR TIME WASTERS
Review your priorities and do your most important tasks first. Keep track of the things that waste your time and devise ways to nip them in the bud. Do you always lose yourself in long conversations on the phone or with your visitors that you forget there’s plenty of cleaning and dinner to do? Do you become a couch potato on Saturdays or public holidays watching movies and home videos when there’s so much to do? Perhaps, you spend a good part of your time on the Blackberry, surfing the internet for latest gossips, free shipping deals and updates on your facebook and twitter accounts that you lose track of time. Does your morning beauty routine need to be simplified? Whatever your time wasters are, find them out and deal with them now.
8. DITCH THE IRONING
Rather than dedicating long hours to ironing a heap of clothes, take steps to reduce your need to iron at all. By removing clothes promptly from the washing machine and giving them a good shake before hanging, many won’t need pressing. You could also tumble-dry clothes on a low heat for just 10 minutes before hanging them out to dry – use hangers where you can. If you find ironing too time-consuming, consider using an ironing service or investing in a clothes steamer. The latter will cut your ironing time by around half.
9. DON’T SACRIFICE SLEEP
How often do you find yourself staying up late to do menial household chores that can wait till the next day? You really should stop pretending to be super-human! Losing sleep has a negative impact on the next day’s mood and productivity, so you have more unfinished tasks that’ll soon have you spinning your wheels. Then, you’ll be back where you left off, anxious and overwhelmed.
10. GET HELP
There’s no rule that says you have to do it all. Having an extra set of hands goes a long way to save time. Delegate age appropriate tasks to your children to speedup getting household chores done, carpool with other mums in your neighbourhood for school runs. See if a friend or relation could babysit your kids few hours after school occasionally, hire assistants if you have extra cash to spare. All these clear your schedule and afford you spare time to cater to your cravings.