Here are 10 golden tips to give you more time as a mum! Yes, you read it right. Even if you do a few of these 10 things, you will have more time in your week to do what you WANT to do.
With your extra time, you might have a pedicure, hang out with the kids doing something fun, go to the gym for an hour or even read a magazine! Imagine having time to do these things for fun… check this out.
2015 is my year to automate, outsource or share the workload. I know I can be a smarter mum with my time so I put together these 10 solutions to help me and hopefully you.
You can fit more into your day by thinking about which tasks you can; Automate; Outsource or; Share.
We live in the technological age and so surely we can automate more. There are people who LOVE to clean, wash and cook so we can outsource. There are also other mums doing the same things we are doing every day because being a mum is often set around a routine, like school pick up so we can share.
So here are the 10 simple strategies to save time;
1. Get a cleaner
If you are a busy mum and don’t want to spend all your spare time vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms or endless mopping – get a cleaner. Of course, like any outsourcing you need to find a good one and the best way is through word of mouth or join a mums group on Facebook and ask others if they have a good one. The cost varies greatly but expect to pay somewhere between $60-$100 for 2-3 hours.
2. Do your grocery shop once a week
Go to the supermarket only once a week. We shop on Sunday and make it last all week. By Friday the fridge is starting to look a little bear but the cupboard generally holds up. Buy all your fruit, vegetables, meat and snacks for school lunches on Sunday. There is the advice to plan your meals for the week ahead but in our house, we are not that structured as our afternoons change. I mentally prepare three meals for the week that can fall on any night and then have a freezer with four or five additional meal ingredients when needed. The cupboard also has variables such as enough pasta or rice and always ingredients to make a cake with short notice. I also buy 3 x 3 litres of milk and 3 x 3 loaves of bread (and freeze the bread) each shop so I don’t run out. If I do need something quickly, it will only take one quick shop to run into. Ideally, you shop more quickly (or encounter less hassle) if you leave the kids at home!
3. Limit afterschool activities
If your child is aged between 5 and 10, they should be doing a maximum of 2 afterschool activities per week. If they are in afterschool care or before school care it should be 1 or none! If they are under 5, maybe one if it fits in. As a school teacher, I know how much is expected of these little children during the day and they get tired. I then see kids being marched off to activities every afternoon and they are too tired to learn. It is all about weighing up the importance of education versus dance or sport or music or whatever else it is your child is involved with. There are ways to get around afterschool activities – music lessons can often be done at school, if sport is big for your child choose a school that is big on sport and incorporate it into their curriculum, drama is often included in the curriculum. My kids do swimming (because it may one day save their lives) and they can choose one other for the term. It is also important if you have more than one child to try to cluster the activities – for example, if you do swimming – have all the kids swimming lessons on the same day.
4. Use a clothes dryer
Not everyone is going to like this one but if you are doing two or more loads of washing a day and don’t have a dryer – get one! I can do a load of washing and put it through the dryer in 1 hour and 35 minutes. That’s right – clothes washed and dry in less than 2 hours. Of course I don’t sit around and wait for it. But when the kids are in bed, I pull the clothes out of the dryer (that I washed and put in the dryer before I left the house in the morning), fold them and put them outside the kids rooms. There is only ever one day of washing in the basket and not loads and loads of unfolded clothes sitting around. The reliance and the ease of use of using a dryer started when I lived in America. I had an industrial dryer and washing machine and would do one load a day and churn through it. It was brilliant!
Associated time saving tips here is: Send his shirts to the dry cleaners. Are you still labouring over washing and ironing yours or your husband’s business shirts? – stop now! Get your partner to take 5 dirty shirts to work on a Friday morning and drop them at the drycleaners on the way past. Pick them up that afternoon and whala – you have 5 washed and ironed work shirts for the next week.
5. Schedule social media time
How long do you spend on social media every day?
Today, every time you pick up your phone to check your social media, write down the time on a piece of paper – when you finish doing your face booking, tweeting or instagram checking, write the time again. For example, the first time you look at your phone is 7.06am and you put it down at 7.12am, the next time is at 8.35am and you put it down at 8.42am.
At the end of the day, how many times did you check your phone? And how long did you spend on it?
Imagine how much more productive you would be if you set aside 20 minutes a day (it might be 20 minutes when you wake up or 20 minutes when the kids go to bed or 20 minutes after school drop off) that is just dedicated to social media, that is all you do – you would check your phone less during the day, have more time doing something fun (like actually seeing these people face to face) and look forward to the excitement of being on social media uninterrupted for 20 whole minutes at a time that suits you. You might even enjoy it more!
6. Share pickups/dropoffs with a friend
If you are lucky enough to live in the area of your school, carpool pick up and drop off and other activities with parents from your school. Ideally, you have a system with your neighbour to do some of the running around – double up on football practice or netball practice.
7. Make school lunches the night before
This is a good habit to get into. Making the school lunches the night before gives you 15 extra minutes in the morning to deal with any unscheduled drama that may unfold while trying to get you and your children ready and out of the house for the day. If you make it all, put it in the fridge in a cooler bag, it keeps well.
8. Clean your kitchen every night
There is nothing worse than coming into the kitchen to start your day and it is full of last night’s dinner plates. Already, you are 20 minutes behind in your day because you didn’t finish yesterday off properly. So no matter how tired you are at night – always clean the kitchen. And it goes without saying that you have a dishwasher!
9. Get takeout once a week
This is not an everyday thing, but at some point in our week – we run out of time and energy to cook and we buy take out food. We get Thai takeaway or pizza or Indian and eat it in the comfort of our own home without the stress of cooking it. As I say, I would not advocate for takeaway every night but it surely works once a week or fortnight.
10. Put your children to work
You don’t have to pack up the playroom and you don’t have to carry the plates from the dinner table to the kitchen every night – you could spend the time it takes to clear the table talking to your partner. You don’t have to set the table on your own and as your children become older, you may not even have to fold the washing.
From a young age, it is great for children to take responsibility for chores around the house. No matter how little they are – they can save you time. At the beginning, you will have to invest time to teach them how to fold the clothes or unpack the dishwasher and you may have to refold the whole basket – but with more practice – they will get the hang of it and there is a whole 10 minutes you have saved!
Other things your children can easily do are put their dirty washing in a basket (rather than on the floor), pack up the playroom, vacuum, mop, sweep, walk the dog, feed the dog, brush the dog, put their toothbrushes away, transfer washing from the washing machine to the dryer, put away their bikes and scooters. Teaching your children these good habits and showing them how things are done around the house are all time savers in the end.
How many of these are you already doing?
If you already doing between 8-10 – you are a good time manager and you allow yourself to steal a couple of minutes a day for a cup of tea or some time out… you may even get time for a weekly pedicure and to read a magazine – congratulations!
5-7 – you need to think carefully about what to automate, share or outsource this year.
0-5 – you need to value your time more. You need to find ways to automate, share and outsource now before you get to parent burn out. It is so important to fill the ‘mummy cup of love’ and ensure that you are doing well to be able to support your family.
To have more time to enjoy life rather than just running from one thing to the next, choose just one of these to get started. Do it for a week and notice how it helps you save time. Then choose another one. You may have just saved yourself 15 minutes a day – that is plenty of extra time to push your kids on the swing or make a cup of tea and actually finish it.
Got more time saving tips for mums? Link to them here or share in the comments below.
About Anna Partridge, Author
Anna Partridge is a Parent Educator, holds a Bachelor of Education (Primary), a Bachelor of Communications and is a freelance parenting writer. Anna is also mum to three beautiful, highly spirited children aged 9, 8 and 5. She created BombardedMum to share the inspirations and joys about raising the next generation and to allow mums to think about the ‘big picture’ of parenting by providing tips and advice to instil the right habits, values and beliefs in their children from the start. She is privileged to work alongside families to create calm and balance, help raise confident and resilience kids and maintain strong and connected relationships. Anna offers private parenting and family coaching at www.annapartridge.com
Love your tips. I’m doing about 6 of these already (I’m fortunate enough grandparents bring dinner around at least once a week so I’m counting that as takeaway. Not sure I can jump on the dryer bandwagon, does tend to shrink some clothes. I tend to do my washing at night and hang it on a clothes horse which gets pulled out into the sun in the morning. I think the big one to think about for me is social media/reading other blogs 🙂 … all seems to take time.
@Cindy – thanks for your feedback. You sound like you have your washing schedule sorted without the dryer so that’s great. Social media is a big one to tackle… I often email myself articles to read or save Facebook posts and then schedule two hours into my week just for reading. Those articles and Facebook posts can lead to a new idea to write about, something to put on my Facebook page or a new connection so the time isn’t wasted, it is just not taking up extra minutes of my everyday.
I love this list. Thankyou. I really need to manage my social media time better and have just managed to get the kids swimming on the same day.
Glad you enjoyed it @Robyna. I also struggle with the social media schedule – this is my year to be disciplined! Well done getting kids swimming on the same day.
Some great ideas here 🙂
To keep everything flowing smoothly in our large household I’m quite organised, & ticking off on nine of your tips I think I’m squeezing the most out of every minute in our days.
I menu plan our dinners for the week ahead, making sure I include two quick meals that I can get on the table in under 15 minutes for the days that we are busy & I don’t get the chance to cook something ahead of time, or the days when our plans suddenly change. Failing that quick meal, then it’s take away that night & Friday or Saturday we’ll eat a homemade meal.
Of course waking up to a messy kitchen first thing in the morning when you have to get breakfast ready for seven people is guaranteed to put even the chirpiest morning person (which I’m not) in a foul mood. Every evening after dinner the kitchen is always cleaned, dishwasher loaded & running, plus any extra dishes & pans washed & left to dry.
In prime position on our fridge is the Chore Chart, an alternating roster with age appropriate chores for each of our children (not including the baby!) Jobs like taking out the recycling, unloading the dishwasher, setting the dinner table, clearing the dinner table, packing up toys in the toy lounge, putting any shoes, blankets, dirty clothes, etc where they belong. Plus on Saturday there is an added cleaning job – Wipe down the kids bathroom, clean glass doors & tidy backyard.
They are only small jobs, but take a big load off me, while teaching our children responsibility, work ethic, independence & contributing to our family together.
The only one we’re not doing on your list is hiring a cleaner. I can’t bring myself to hire a cleaner when I’m a stay at home mum. We’ve certainly thought about it, many times, but for now as much as I despise cleaning the bathrooms I’ll keep at it…for now.
Wow @Hayley, I love your organisation and well done for ticking of 9! I love the idea of the Chore Chart with the added detail of tidying the backyard and cleaning the glass doors. It is amazing what our children are actually capable of when we have a system in place and the expectation there for them to follow. The way I look at a cleaner is, if it can give me an added two hours with my kids per fortnight – it is worth the money. For the 2 hours the cleaners are doing my house, I take the kids to the park or play with them in the yard or do their reading with them. It is added bonus time for us and at the end of the 2 hours, we walk into a clean house. We also move around a lot as my husband is in Defence and the having a fortnightly clean ensures when we move, the house is in good shape without me worrying about it – definitely worth thinking about.
I also love your idea of the quick meals. My best friend when I was in primary school was one of 11 kids and their house worked like clock work – they each had jobs and they had so much washing they used a hot air balloon basket as their laundry basket. It was a fun game jumping in and out until we actually had to fold it. There was two sittings of dinner and the older girls really ran the house while the mum breastfed the new baby. Congratulations on your lovely big family and for being so organised.
I always look forward to reading your posts Anna 🙂
This is the year I think I’m going to get a cleaner, and continue on line shopping which worked well towards the end of last year. I shudder to think how much time I spend on social media – this is something I need to work on. And cleaning the kitchen every night – doesn’t always happen but it should!
Ah thanks @Lauren. I think we have a very similar background. I like the addition of online shopping – I haven’t done it before but a lot of my friends do and it sounds great. I am also not fabulous at the scheduling social media time! That is my goal for this year.
Some great tips. I’m happy to see I’m already doing a few of them (the cleaner is my fave indulgence!), and love the other tips I can try. Thanks Anna!
Pleasure @Christine – I also love my cleaner! It is a sanity saver to know my house will be cleaned by someone else once a fortnight and also takes the pressure off a little on the crazy, busy weeks.
Great tips 🙂 I’m a new mum and always find it hard to get around to all the things I need to do. Any way to save me time is great!
@Luisa Congratulations on being a mum! What an exciting time for you. Yes, me time is so important to keeping your sanity so anyway you can sneak a little more in is great.
Rachel@RachelStokesNutrition&Wellness … I do three of these. Put clothes in the dryer, clean the kitchen every night and put the kids to work. hiring a cleaner is on my “dream of one day” list. Thanks for the ideas, there are some really easy ideas i could start doing this week .
Great to hear @Rachel and esp. love you put the kids to work. Definitely keep cleaner on the list.
I especially love ”put your kids to work’. Children are very capable and competent. Age appropriate chores and helping out, is a fantastic way for them to feel like contributing members of the family. I LOVE this blog. Thank you!
I agree @Kerry! I still underestimate how much my children can do. On Australia Day, we were having about 20 people over to our house and the dining room needed to be vacuumed still at the last minute. I was busy cooking so my 8 and 5 year old did it by themselves and did a fine job. They also loved it and asked to do it again the next day – happy with that. Thanks for your kind words also.
Excellent tips Anna. I have been thinking about getting a cleaner in but just haven’t got there yet. Also, nothing is better than a clean kitchen which mine is certainly not right now.
Cleaners are the BEST! Even just once a fortnight takes the pressure off… Great feedback, thanks! (And thanks for sharing on your page x).
I’m so pleased that one of your time saving tips was “hire a cleaner” – my husband and I are both secondary school teachers and work full time. We have two young children and frequently argued about cleaning; the main issue being that I was the only one doing it. Last month I decided that I’d had enough and hired a cleaner. It has made such a difference to our lives, we don’t argue, I’m not stressed by work and keeping the house in good order, but most importantly, I have time to spend with my kids at the weekend instead of cleaning three bathrooms and all of the hoovering and polishing. I used to spend my Saturday’s doing this – now it’s already done 🙂
I’d be doing more of these if I could afford them!!! x