As busy moms, we are always asking ourselves’ “How can I have more time?” There are a million things we have to do and a million more that we want to do.
It’s impossible to get it all done. But we can get a little more done!
Below are time saving tips for moms to use at home, at work and in life in general. These tips will help you get the things you need to do finished quickly so you can focus what’s most important to you.
How Can I Save Time At Work?
The following are time saving tips for working moms to use at work. When you are a mom, you want to get out of work on time. I mean you have kids to see and feed and hang out with.
On the other hand, you still need to get all your work done. I mean in order to feed said kids, it’s important to keep the job.
These tips will help you efficiently use your time at work so you can get all your work done in less time.
Plan your day the night before.
The morning is generally the time at work when you have the most energy and focus. You don’t want to waste that. If you get to work and then have to figure out what you need to tackle you waste that energy and mental clarity for a task that doesn’t need it.
Instead setup your work day before you end the day the night before. Before I leave the office, I check my calendar for any appointments the following day and prep what I need for those meetings. I also place any files that need attention in a pile on my desk.
The rest of my work space is cleared so that when I come in I know exactly what to focus on.
Do the most important task first.
Like I said above, the morning is when you have the most energy and focus. Use that to get the hardest/most important thing done first.
When you do this, it has a major impact on your day. First off, you immediately feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete and important task which gives you energy for the next one.
Second, when you get that important task done first, no matter what emergencies or interruptions impact your day, you know the important thing got done. You don’t have that task weighing over your head for the rest of the day.
If you can delegate, do it!
Figure out your strengths and keep them in mind when work or projects are assigned. As much as possible play to your strengths.
Do the work that you do best and delegate the other tasks. When you do what you are good at, the work goes faster and comes easier, and turns out better.
Have a set leaving time.
When you have a set leaving time and you know what you need to get done, then all that is left is to plan your work day so that everything gets done. When you have committed to a quitting time, it’s easier to refrain from time wasters like trolling social media.
Just like when you had a term paper and the looming deadline got you in gear to get writing, having a set end time can keep you motivated to get the job done.
Minimize how much you socialize.
One of the biggest time wasters at the office can be chatting with coworkers. I quick good morning can turn into a giant monologue about the drama of training a new puppy.
Be conscious of the amount of time you take to socialize with coworkers. While a good work environment is important, so is getting the work done. If necessary set a alarm with a ringtone to remind you to get back to work.
You can use the excuse that you have a deadline or appointment or call scheduled and you need to get back to your desk.
Block your time
It has been proven that no matter how hard we try, it takes our brains time to switch back and forth between tasks. So going from one type of task then switching to a second type and then switching back wastes time.
Instead, it is helpful to divide your day into blocks and batch your tasks. Write all your reports at the same time and then make all your calls and then update spreadsheets.
When you group similar tasks you don’t waste time switching back and forth and you can get into a grove and perform the task you are working on more efficiently. This post contains more details about batching your time.
Give every task a deadline.
Even if the task doesn’t innately have a deadline, give it one. When tasks do not have a deadline, there is no motivation to get it done. These project often flounder.
Even when a task doesn’t have an official deadline give it one. Make it a game. Chose a deadline that it would be a challenge to complete the task by then and make it a game to rise up to the challenge.
Organize your work space.
One of the biggest time wasters for society at large is time spent looking for things. When we don’t have an organized work space, finding what we need can take forever.
Instead, take some time upfront to organize your space. Make sure everything you need has a home. Now when you need something, you will know exactly where it is.
While this may take some time up front, in the long run it will help your work go much quicker.
It is important to stay committed to put things back in their home when you are done with them. The few seconds it takes to put things back in the moment will save you from having to re-organize again later.
Check email twice a day.
Email can be a big interruption to your day. If you check your email each time a notification comes in, it can be a real time waster similar to switching tasks as described above.
In addition, email can pull you away from the task you are trying to complete in order to complete the task requested in the email.
Instead designate 2 times a day to check your email. Let coworkers and clients know that urgent matter should be communicated via phone and not email. This allows you to be less distracted and able to focus on the task at hand.
How Can I Save Time At Home?
Time management skills are just as important at home as they are at work. Managing the household and kids can take over and prevent us from actually enjoying them.
When we manage our time well, we can ensure that we always have time each day to spend quality time with the ones we love.
When you fly by the seat of your pants deciding what to do can be overwhelming. Analysis paralysis can take over causing you to waste time and less gets done.
Instead create a schedule for the chores that need to be done. This allows you to know exactly what chores need to be done each day so you don’t have to sit and think about it.
Plus, it reduces the stress when you see undone tasks. For example, if you see a pile of laundry to be washed on Wednesday, you don’t have to stress about it if Thursday is laundry day. You know that it will get done that day, so you don’t have to worry about it today.
Make a daily to-do list.
Now that the chores are taken care of, there are still a lot of things to do including pay bills, run errands, help with homework, etc.. For these tasks, it is important to create a to do list.
I like to create my to do list while I’m relaxing in the evening. This allows me to start my day ready to go, already knowing what needs to get done.
If you need help creating a to do list that doesn’t overwhelm you and actually gets done, check out my article on how to create a to do list.
Just as important as knowing what tasks need to be done each day, you also need to know who is doing them. Assigning tasks and chores means that there is no question as to who is doing what.
You don’t have to waste time arguing over who will do what, you just get it done. When everyone knows what to do, things get done faster.
Prioritize your day.
Just like with work, it’s important to know your priorities at home as well. Everything may not get done. Emergencies happen, like major diaper blowouts which cause the need for an extra bath.
When you know your priorities, you can make sure that those tasks get done when you don’t have time to do it all.
Take advantage of nap time/quiet time.
If you children are still napping, you can use their nap time to complete tasks. If they are older, designate a quiet time where they can do calm activities like reading books, doing puzzles, or draw.
Similar to naps, this quiet time can allow you to do tasks that either require intense concentration or quiet. It’s a great time to make calls or pay bills or work on your own business.
Get a good night's sleep.
If you want to stay effective and efficient throughout the day, then getting a good night’s sleep is essential. Did you know that not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can actually cause damage to your brain?
Chronic lack of sleep can actually make your brain resemble that of a drug user. Crazy right?!
I know as a busy mom of young kids it can be hard to get a full night's sleep. I am constantly being awoken by my 3 littles. But we can set ourselves up for the best sleep possible.
Make sure you have a set bedtime so that you can maximize your time in bed. Health wise, prioritize sleep over exercise. So if you have to choose between the two, choose sleep. You can also take things like magnesium and reishi to help you with your sleep.
Isn’t it funny how we can be meticulous about our work tasks but rush through the things we need to get done at home. We just throw together the kids lunch and rush through paying the bills.
The reality is that these tasks are just as important as the ones we do at work. When we rush we are more prone to mistakes and accidents which we will then later have to rectify. When we slow down we can actually save time because we won’t have to go back and correct our mistakes, there won’t be any.
Make your meals social.
Use meal time as a time to catch up with the family. Instead of treating meals as another thing to get through, relax and enjoy the company.
Try to refrain from dining in front of the tv and opt for meals at the dining room table. This is a great way to connect with the kiddos especially if you’ve spent the day apart at work and at school. You don’t have to set a separate time to catch up when you can chat over a meal.
When you take the time to cook a meal, make it really worth your while. Instead of cooking just enough for the family, double up your recipe. You can use the leftovers for dinner later in the week or as lunch for a few days. This will save you a ton of time in the kitchen.
Replace one meal with a smoothie.
Another way to save time in the kitchen is to make your own smoothies. The right smoothie can replace an entire meal and can be prepared ahead of time.
Divide up the fruit and veggies for your smoothie into ziploc bags and place in the freezer. Then each morning throw the ingredients in a blender with your liquid base and you can have a healthy smoothie in seconds.
If you need some smoothie recipes, check out this article loaded with recipes.
Clean the bathroom while the kids are bathing.
Depending on the age of your kiddos, they may take a while in the bath playing and washing. Instead of just sitting there, use the time to clean the bathroom.
You can wipe down the counters and mirrors and clean the toilet. You will be right there if the kiddos need you but you will be making better use of your time.
Keep a basket in every room.
Inevitably things get left in rooms around the house that do not belong there. Things like a toy in the living room, homework in the kitchen, etc.
Have a basket in each room to gather the items that don’t belong. Then at the end of the day grab the basket and deliver the items to the rooms in which they belong and have the owner put them away.
What Are Some Time Saving Techniques?
Make a morning makeup bag.
If you are like most moms, you have a ton of makeup, but a set, simple morning makeup routine. Digging through the makeup bag for what you need each morning can take time.
Instead, put together a separate makeup bag just for the items you use in the morning. This allows you to quickly do your makeup in the morning or take the bag with to do your makeup later if you are running late.
Choose multitasking makeup.
Nowadays there are tons of makeup products that pull double duty, like concealer with SPF and moisturizing foundation. Take advantage of this.
You can minimize the number of products you use each morning by maximizing what you get out of each project. Use products that do double or triple duty and save time each morning.
Choose your outfit the night before.
Trying to pick an outfit in the morning when you are crunched for time can cause you analysis paralysis. It’s a stress that you just don’t need.
Instead pick out your outfit the night before. As you get ready for bed, you can take a few minutes to pick your outfit and accessories for the following day. Lay them out so that the next morning you can just throw them on without any thought.
Use the shower to steam your clothes.
I don’t know about you, but I hate ironing. It is literally the bane of my existence. I have neither the time or the patience to get every last wrinkle out.
I have found it helpful to use the steam from my shower to get rid of wrinkles in my clothes. I am prone to hot showers anyway which produce plenty of steam to get the wrinkles out. It’s a great way to kill 2 birds with one stone.
Identify your priorities.
Struggling to make a decision is a major time waster for many people. Things that benefit work can impact family and vice versa. It can be hard to choose.
It’s helpful to take some time to write out your priorities and identify what kind of decision you commit to making.
For example, you may prioritize family and commit to making it home each day by a certain time. Then if you are asked to stay late for a project at work, you don’t have to think about it since you know when you have to be home.
6. Move on after you make a decision.
Once you finally make a decision, another huge time waster is second guessing that decision. We worry about whether or not we made the right decision.
It’s important to be confident and trust the decisions that we make. Know that you made the best decision that you could and let life play out. Worry won’t change the outcome, but it will waste mental and physical energy. So trust yourself and move on.
7. Embrace the power of “No.”
One way to save time is to do less. Do you ever commit to a task out of obligation or gut reaction and then dread it until it’s done? That’s the worst.
Instead, just say no. If something doesn’t serve you or your family, then don’t do it. You don’t even have to provide a reason if you don’t want to.
If that’s too hard, check out this article on how to say no to commitments.
8. Know what you can and can’t multitask.
Some things are good to multitask while other things aren’t. Listening to a podcast on your commute is a good multitask, trying to read an article while listening to your spouse is not.
The only time multitasking works is when the two activities you are trying to do don’t require the same part of the brain. So you can listen to an audio book while cooking dinner since they use different parts of the brain.
9. Step away from the Internet.
One of the biggest time wasters in this day and age is the internet. It is so easy to search for one thing and then be sucked down a rabbit whole.
When you have a project that requires focus, shut off notifications and turn off the WiFi on your computer. You can even put your phone in airplane mode.
The internet can be a major distraction, so it’s better to set it aside when work needs to get done.
10. Limit the number of projects.
When you have too much on your plate, it can be hard to focus on any one thing. You can easily get distracted by what you need to do for other projects.
To minimize this effect, limit the number of projects that you work on at any one time. In addition, keep a notebook with you and when you come up with an idea for a different project than the one you are working on, write it down and then get back to work.
This allows you to not lose the idea, but also not get distracted by it while you work on something else.
11. Make the most of wait time.
Whether you are waiting for the bus to come, waiting for the water to boil, or waiting for the doctor, we spend a lot of time waiting. Make the most of that time. Instead of scrolling your IG feed, take the time to check a few emails, reach out to a friend, or update your calendar.
These quick tasks can easily be done in a short period of time and it’s one less thing that you have to do later.
12. If it takes 2 minutes or less, do it now.
So often we put off things due to being in a rush that don’t actually take up much time. We leave clothes we tried on in a pile on the floor of our closet because we “don’t have time to hang it back up”. We leave one knife in the sink that we could have easily washed.
Instead of putting these mini tasks off, just do it now. a) you won’t have to do it later and b) you don’t have that task weighing on your mind all day c) when you come back to that space and it’s already cleaned up you will feel so much better.
I hope that you found these tips helpful and that they save you time in your day. If you know a mama who could benefit from these tips, share this article with her. We’re all in this together!!