Before I had children I thought I was busy. I don’t really know that I appreciated all the opportunities to have an early night or a long lie in, or simply to pull on my runners and hit the pavement. Since having my first daughter six years ago, I realise that caring for little people and all that come with it takes up an awful lot of time and energy.
Here are five time saving tips which I have in place to enable me to fit in everything that I want to.
1. Spend Sunday afternoons or a period of time each week planning and preparing. In our house we do a big cook up of food which will last most of the week and we make sure that we know who needs to be where every day and have it all covered. We also get all the laundry and other household tasks such as grocery shopping up to date and prepare as best we can by packing bags for sports activities and school in advance.
2. Outsource where you can. I can’t state this loudly enough. If you can get a cleaner to come in whilst your house is empty for an hour or two then do so. Their uninterrupted time will be way more productive than yours, especially if your children are anything like mine. Find things that you don’t like doing and see if you can find someone who will do it for you. Often other local mums will run small businesses doing things such as ironing, Ikea shopping trips and helping organise your pantry. Use them!
3. Avoid the urge to stay up late to get things done. Although in the short term you may be able to achieve more in that time, the reality is that you will be tired and unable to perform well during the day time. You will become inefficient and start making mistakes. By getting a good amount of sleep each night you will be clear headed and able to achieve more in the limited number of hours that you have.
4. Accept help. Whether this is your neighbour taking the kids for an hour while you rest or nip out or whether it is an offer to cook some dinner for you and the family, do not be too proud to accept the offer. People genuinely enjoy helping others and every offer of help gives you an opportunity to achieve more.
5. Look after yourself. The chance would be a fine thing, right? But think how many people rely on you. Think about how you keep the wheels turning at home and at work. You need to jump yourself up that priority list. Make sure you are eating well, following a balanced and healthy diet. Ensure that you are exercising, whether that be a run, a walk, yoga or half an hour on the trampoline with the kids. Don’t underestimate the importance of self-care and the value to both your physical and mental health of allowing yourself some time out.
Spending a little time on your self will allow you to present the best version of you to your family and the world and you will achieve so much more.
Some weeks all of this works well. Of course often a spanner is thrown in the works and we have to do the best we can under different circumstances, such as lack of sleep when our children are unwell. But by having a plan and making sure we think longer term rather than just in the moment we can definitely achieve more and have more to offer our family, our friends and our workplaces.
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