Wednesday, July 17, 2013

10 Important Time Saving Tips (from a mom who likes to manage time a little too much) :)



Let's face it, if you are a mom your life is crazy busy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  It doesn't matter if you work outside of the home or work from home, YOU'RE A MOM!  I can say that because I have done both.  I taught high school dance for ten years and now I am a stay-at-home mom.  Both jobs are busy and exhausting.  I have always felt that one of my strong points is time management.  I think that is due to my drill team background.  Nothing teaches you time management like drill/dance team! :)  I thought I would share some of my favorite things for managing time in my life and household.

1.  Kitchen Command Center - The kitchen command center is home to my trusty dry erase calendar.  EVERYTHING that is happening in our family must be on the calendar.  My husband even knows to check the calendar! :)  It is also duplicated with the calender I keep in my purse.  I am in the process of making a Kids' Command Center before school begins.

2.  Household Management Binder (view here) -  EVERY cent of our monthly income is budgeted and logged into this binder.  The binder also contains cash envelopes, important dates, upcoming home projects, user names and passwords, etc.  This keeps everything house related in one place.

3.  Mom's Journal - I keep one journal or notepad on our kitchen counter.  In this journal are my daily "to do lists", important notes, etc.  I use the same journal until every page has been filled.  This helps from the endless sticky notes that use to be cluttered around my house.  Also, it takes several months to fill a journal.  If I need to remember something from a month ago I know I can find it in my journal.  It really helps to keep everything in one location.

4.  Backwards Time Management - What is that???  This is something very simple and I have used it since my eight year old was born.  If we have to be somewhere by a certain time (let's say 9am) then I count backwards.  How long will it take to get there (taking traffic into consideration)?  How long will it take to load the kids and everything in the car?  How long will it take to get everyone dressed and served breakfast?  How long will it take me to get myself showered and dressed?  As I answer each of these questions, I subtract that time from our arrival time.  This lets me know exactly what time I need to wake up and get everyone moving.  It works without fail 99.999% of the time. :)

5.  60 Minute Speed Clean - I have recently added this to our home and boy has it made a world of difference.  I set the timer for 60 minutes and clean like crazy.  I do this Monday-Saturday.  In my opinion, God does not want us to clean on Sunday! :)  That means I am cleaning my house 7 hours a week!!!  I can guarantee that before I started this system my house was not getting 7 hours of attention.

6.  Laundry is a Must - Ugh...I hate it but it is a necessary evil.  I have to do 2-3 loads of laundry per day or I will never stay caught up.  And, yes I was able to do this when I was teaching.  It wasn't easy but I got it done.  Again, Sunday's are excused!

7.  Monthly Menu and Grocery List (view here) - This one is crucial for time management and budgeting.  About two days before the start of a new month, I sit down with my laptop, cookbooks, calendar, and kitchen management binder.  I make a menu for the entire month.  I make sure that our daily activities match what is planned for dinner.  If we have several things going on then it is not a good day to make lasagna from scratch (we would probably have frozen pizza).  I also keep a grocery list template ready at all times.  Throughout the week, I add to the list.  The night before I go shopping, I reference my menu and finish the list.

8.  Groceries During the Week - I always shop for groceries on Thursday or Friday night.  It is not exactly the "coolest" thing to do on a Friday night but you would be amazed at how much time you save.  Nobody is there!

9.  Stair Basket - I keep a large basket at the bottom of our stairs.  At least once a day I grab the basket and dash through the house picking up odds and ends.  Then I take a few minutes to put everything in its proper place and take the basket back to the bottom of the stairs.

10.  High Fives - My kids know their morning and evening routines by heart.  They know they are not allowed to do anything else until the routines have been completed.  I recently re-named the routines, High Fives, after reading a great blog post last week (view here).  It has put a fresh spin on things and the kids are getting their routines done in record time.  This is teaching them time management.  If they want to watch cartoons or play they need to get their High Fives done quickly.

Our home does not run this smoothly every day but for the most part it is a well-oiled machine.  I have learned that I am a much happier person when my life feels somewhat organized.  I would love to hear if you have any time management tips.  I am sure there is something I could do more efficiently.

Elizabeth

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