Time-saving tips to make daily life a little easier
When I think about what would help to make life a little bit easier for us busy mums, it’s mostly ‘time’ that springs to mind. Well, aside from winning the lottery of course.
Time flies when you’re a mum
Once you become a mum, time seems to be in short supply. Days, weeks, months fly past and before you know it, another year has gone. It’s like time has sped up. And I don’t really want to mention it, but having kids really does seem to accelerate the ageing process – I swear I never had any white hairs before having our son. Sob.
Can we slow down?
Mums are great at getting things done at supersonic speed. My husband sometimes comments that I’m impatient because I’ve done something before he’s had a chance to do it. I’m really not being impatient with him though, it’s just because I’m used to getting stuff done. Quickly. I expect a lot of you feel the same. It’s as if I’ve been programmed to complete tasks as quickly as humanly possible. I never really take my time with anything.
We’re often told that it’s good for us to slow down. That’s the joy of activities such as meditation and yoga. You have to stop, breathe deeply, and just be. The pressure of daily life, however, often just doesn’t allow for much slowing down.
Time-saving tips so we can pause
So with the objective of trying to save us a bit of time during our day, to increase our chances of finding a little time to pause and catch our breath, I’ve compiled a list of time-saving tips. Some of these suggestions will cost money but before discounting the idea, take a moment and really think about the benefit you’d get from it. If it’s going to help reduce the amount of stress you’re under, it’s probably worth it.
11 time-saving tips for mums
1. Get your food shopping delivered
For me, this is a no-brainer. We switched to online grocery shopping as soon as our son was born and we’ve never looked back. Trips to the supermarket have never been a highlight for me and with kids, they are even less enjoyable.
The big supermarkets will have an easy-to-use app, which will save your favourites so you can easily skip through and add the staples that you order every week.
We use Tesco and a six-month mid-week delivery plan costs just £3.50 (correct at time of press). Less than a pound per delivery if you shop weekly. Totally worth it.
2. Hire a Virtual Assistant (VA)
VAs have been popping up everywhere recently. You may think they’re just for small businesses, but actually they can help individuals too. As well as the more business-type stuff, such as tax returns and book-keeping, some also provide a personal concierge service.
They could research and book your next holiday for you. They could help you with your personal admin to help free up your time at the weekend. If you’re not sure how they could help you, it’s worth finding a good, reputable VA and having a chat, to see what services they offer.
3. Hire a cleaner
I’ve been grappling with the idea of a cleaner for a while now. Partly because of my dodgy back, and partly because I’d love to free up my time so I can concentrate on work. As I work from home, I do feel conflicted as I feel like I should be able to do it myself. Maybe soon I’ll make my peace with it and just hire someone!
You could get a cleaner once a fortnight, and make do with a quick top-up clean from you in between visits. That way, it wouldn’t cost so much. You might save yourself a valuable couple of hours a week.
4. Arrange play dates at each other’s houses
This is a nice easy one that doesn’t cost any money. Take turns to have each other’s kids round for play dates. You can then rest, or do whatever you need to do, while your little ones are happily entertained. Then you can return the favour. Win-win.
5. Share the school run
Similarly, if you live near each other, you could consider sharing the school run. Your kids will probably enjoy heading to school with their friends.
6. Encourage your children to help out more
Once they’re old enough, encourage the kids to help with small, manageable tasks. They might enjoy laying the table, tidying up (if you can somehow make it fun, perhaps put their favourite music on) and matching up pairs of socks (or even better, buy socks that are all the same colour).
7. Buy a tumble dryer
This is a great investment and such a time-saver, especially in winter. No more hanging socks over the radiators in a last-ditch attempt to get them dry. It may be expensive but you will be so pleased and you’ll think it’s worth every penny.
If you can devote some time to getting your home organised, you’ll reap the benefits later when you spend less time looking for things. Check out ‘Tips to declutter your life’ for some inspiration.
Simple things like having separate laundry baskets for lights and darks can make a difference.
9. Plan and prepare your meals in advance
The idea is that you plan a whole week of meals and spend Sunday afternoon cooking them. If you cook in batches, you can freeze portions and use as and when you need. It makes a lot of sense, and will save you oodles of time during the week. It does require quite a bit of pre-planning but if you manage it, it will be a huge time-saver.
We don’t have one but slow cookers are meant to be amazing, so that could be worth looking into. If anyone has any recommendations, please post in the comments.
There are also companies that will deliver recipes and fresh ingredients for you to prepare. These can be a bit pricey but they do make it very easy for you to prepare a nutritious, tasty meal.
Sometimes, you just need a break from all the meal planning and cooking, so don’t ever feel bad about the occasional takeaway!
10. Be strict with your time management, and stick to deadlines
Have a clear to-do list, and a detailed schedule. Make sure you stick to deadlines. It’s so easy to spend longer on a task than you meant to, but try your best not to run over.
Your free time is precious once the kids are in bed, so make sure you have a good, regular bedtime routine in place so that you can maximise your evening. Easier said than I done, I know, but persevere and hopefully you’ll get there.
11. Make the most of apps
There are so many apps out there now that can help you save time. Shopping apps, time management apps, reminders, finding your nearest whatever! If there are things swirling around your head that you could delegate to an app, then free up your headspace and do it.
We also use a shared family calendar, so we both know what joint commitments we have.
Do you have any tips to share?
I hope you’ve found some of these suggestions helpful. Even if you can save yourself 20 minutes a day, that’s a result. Once you’ve found that 20 minutes, make sure you spend it on you, without feeling guilty about it. You deserve it.
Please share any tips you have in the comments below, I’d love to hear them.