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6 Time-Saving Hacks for Busy Moms

What mom out there doesn't need a little time back, am I right? In this post, I've shared my top six time-saving hacks that I use in my day-to-day life. Hopefully there's at least one or two that can help you get a little time back.

Time-Saving Hack Number 1: Batch Cook and Meal Prep

Whether you love to cook, hate to cook, or are somewhere in-between, it's just one of those things that has to get done. And most busy moms I know cherish this time as one of the rare occasions in the day when you can all sit down together as a family. One of the greatest time-saving hacks I've been doing for a few years now, is just making a whole lot more than we need for one dinner, and either saving it for leftovers or freezing it in single-serve or meal-sized portions for lunches or those busy evenings of taxiing your kids from activity to activity. My go-to's include double-batching my spaghetti sauce or homemade soups, freezing the leftovers, then thawing in the fridge and warming up in a pot whenever I need a quick, healthy supper. Or baking or BBQing a whole package of Costco chicken breasts and making a big pot of rice and a big pot of veggies for supper, separating the left-overs into single-sized meals and freezing for lunches or quick dinners. Meal prep is another time-saving hack. While it takes some time upfront to wash all the fruit, chop veggies, or put together snacks and lunches for the week ahead, it takes a lot more time to do little bits of it every day. BONUS: your kids are a lot more willing to pack healthy snacks when they don't have to put in the work to prep it each day.

Time-Saving Hack Number 2: Get Your Kids To Help Out

I know, I know... sometimes it's just quicker and easier to do it yourself... in the beginning, that is. But trust me, if you put in the time and effort upfront, getting your kids to help with even a few small chores around the house can save you time in the long run. The best way to do this is to work WITH your kids to create a list of responsibilities, versus just telling them what to do. It gives them a sense of validation and control within the decision-making process, and helps them buy into the chores more easily. Make a list of the things you could use some help with and that are developmentally appropriate for your kids' ages and stages, and sit down and discuss. A few things that kids can start helping out with include:
  • tidying up around the house
  • pet care
  • putting laundry away
  • yard care
  • taking out garbage and recycling
  • loading and unloading the dishwasher
  • washing the dishes in the sink
  • cleaning their rooms
  • changing their bedding
  • sorting laundry
  • cleaning bathrooms
  • vacuuming
  • dusting
  • mopping
  • cleaning windows
  • wiping the table and countertops
  • cleaning up after meals
  • setting and clearing the table
  • packing their own snacks and lunches
  • meal prep
  • cooking
  • and tons more!
You can always start small - with one or two tasks - and add additional ones in as your kids get older, more skilled, or outgrow their tasks. Of course, you probably need to spend some time at first teaching them how to do each task and helping them out. But that time invested upfront will save you so much time down the road! Even if there are only a few tasks off your plate. BONUS: helping out around the house gives your kids a sense of purpose, pride, and accomplishment within the family, and helps them build good habits and great life skills!

Time-Saving Hack #3: Combine Tasks or Activities

I don't know about you, but folding laundry used to be one of my least favourite tasks! I would wash it, dry it, and then it would sit in baskets getting wrinkled for days... But for the past several years, I started folding laundry after the kids were in bed or busy doing their own thing while watching my favourite shows. Not only did it save me time, but it made the task a lot more enjoyable as well. This was seriously a game-changer... I don't know why I didn't start doing it sooner! I actually look forward to folding laundry now - it's like a quiet, calm task that gets done almost mindlessly, and I don't feel guilty at all about sitting down and watching a show since, you know... I'm still getting stuff done. Combining tasks frees up time. BONUS: combining an unpleasant task with one that you already do and enjoy doing will increase the likelihood that you get the unpleasant tasks done more consistently. In life, there are things we want to do, and there are things that we just have to do. But what we often don't realize, is that they don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Time-Saving Hack #4: Start Your Morning Routine the Night Before

I used to be the mom rushing around all morning, trying to pack lunches and backpacks while getting myself and my kids ready for school and work every morning. It was a horrible way to start my day, and I almost always left my house stressed out and frazzled - usually forgetting something. Several years back, I realized I needed the change this frantic morning routine, so that we could ALL start our day out better, so I got in the habit of starting my morning routine the night before. As a busy mom myself, here are a few things I find helpful to do in the evening, so we have less to do in the morning:
  • make sure the kids' homework is complete
  • have any school agendas/notes/permission slips read and dealt with/signed
  • have any changes in pick-up/appointment info written in kids' agendas or emailed to Teachers
  • make sure the kids's backpacks are packed up and ready to go (with the above, and whatever else they need for the following day)
  • have lunches and snacks prepped, packed, and placed in the fridge
  • have all my gym stuff packed in my gym bag
  • have all my work stuff packed up and sitting at the front door
  • look at the calendar and be aware of whatever sports/activities/events we have happening the following day
  • if needed, pack sports/activity/event stuff or have it ready to go
It might not seem like a lot, and it really doesn't take all that much time to do. But when you start doing these things in the evenings instead of the morning, they get done in a lot calmer and more organized manner. BONUS: this means fewer things forgotten and a much more positive start to the day - for you AND your kids!

Time-Saving Hack #5: Get Organized

In full transparency - this is definitely an area I'm still working on! But, little by little, I've been getting more and more organized in terms of my physical space and my time. As busy moms, we're often just doing our best to get through each day, rushing from getting kids ready, to dropping kids off, to working, to picking kids up, to supper, to activities, to homework and bedtime routines and household chores... and we don't really have time to think about how it all gets done - or when. Or where we lost our keys, our phones, or our minds. Of course, getting your space organized can be a game-changer. When everything's in its place, you know exactly where to find it when you need it. This is pretty obvious for things like shoes and clothes and toys and all that jazz... but it's equally true for receipts, and keys, and phones, and your year-end taxes. And even for our electronically stored documents, photos, and emails. As a busy mom, organizing your time can have a time-saving impact as well. Schedule time on your calendar for phone calls, emails, focused work, family time, errands, household tasks, activities, and - of course - fun! When you prioritize, organize, and intentionally schedule time in for each of the important areas in your life - and stick to it - you're a lot more likely to end the day feeling productive, and having a sense of good work-life balance. Getting organized in all areas of your life can have a tremendous impact on the amount of time you save searching for things, or mindlessly jumping from task to task, being busy but unproductive. I'm working on it. BONUS: it just feels good to be organized, clearing your mental capacity to focus on other important tasks or activities.

Time-Saving Hack #6: Learn When to Say No

Seriously, this is one of the biggest lessons I've learned. I used to be the mom that said yes to literally everything everyone asked me to do - volunteering, attending events or activities, putting my kids in allll the activities, getting together with friends, putting in extra time for work or other things that just felt like things I had to do, but that brought little return on investment and little to no joy. It left me feeling overwhelmed, undervalued, and resentful... until I learned to prioritize. As a busy mom, the reality is this - you have limited time, and you need to decide where that time is best directed. Because your time is valuable. And you need to know that whenever you say "yes" to something, you're saying "no" to something else - even when you don't realize it. When I was saying "yes" to volunteering, or working evenings and weekends, or going to that function I didn't really even want to attend but felt bad saying no, I was investing my time into wonderful, worthwhile ways that benefitted my kids' schools or teams or my community or my friends or my work or my colleagues, and that's great! But what I didn't realize, is that I was also saying "no" to snuggling on the couch for movie nights with my kids. Or having time to sit down to dinner with my family or to do all the evening stuff that needed to be done for us to have a good next morning. Or doing something fun, creative, and adventurous with my kids in the evenings or on the weekends. Now, don't get me wrong - putting time into those things is great! You just need to know what areas mean the most to you, how much time you really have to put towards them, and invest your time accordingly. And you have to learn to say "no" to the things that just don't move the needle forward on those priorities. This is easier said than done, especially when you're talking about competing priorities. But start small. Learn to say "no" to even just one or two little things that don't bring you joy, and don't really serve you, your family, or your career. It's tough at first, but it gets easier over time. BONUS: learning to set boundaries in one area of your life (like around your time), often helps you become more confident in setting boundaries in other areas of your life where boundary-setting can be a bit more difficult.

Which Of These Was Most Helpful For You?

Not all of these time-saving hacks are for everyone. And maybe some of you are already doing some, most, or all of these things! If you are, that's awesome!! Which one makes the biggest impact in your life? And if you've found some inspiration in the time-saving hacks above, let me know what your biggest insight was? And what are you going to do to make sure you take action and implement right away, so you can get some of that much-needed time back? Drop your comments below. Hope this was helpful. See you in the next post!