Trying to juggle work life and family life can be overwhelming for a busy working Mum.It’s the simple things that can make the world of difference. Like anything, maximizing on the small nuggets of time can have a compounding effect.
Here are 9 valuable tips on how you can you make better use of your time:
1. SHOP ONLINE
If you’ve got your shopping list, you can search items online. Much better than hunting through the supermarket then having to circle back to get something you’ve forgotten. You’re less likely to do impulse shopping and you can monitor your dollars.
2. PRE-PREPARE AND FREEZE MEALS
When cooking a meal, cook twice as much as you would normally need and freeze left-overs for another night. Or pre-prepare ingredients in 1 bag for slow cooker recipes. For example, chop up a pile of onions, garlic, carrots etc., and depending on recipe drop items into a freezer bag (many dishes will use the same ingredients).
3. TEACH YOU CHILDREN HOW TO PREPARE THINGS THE NIGHT BEFORE
Depending on the age of your children, you can start to teach them to prepare their school uniform the night before and make their lunch the night before. Even little ones can assist by getting socks and underwear from the drawers.
4. KEEP ACTIVITIES FOR FOUND TIME
There are times when we find we have pockets of spare time, but our hands empty of meaningful activity. For example, when you arrive early to a doctors appointment and you are sitting, waiting. Keep a folder that you can carry with you for this type of “found time”. For example, writing cards for upcoming birthdays, a thank you note, reading school newsletters, filling in forms.
5. AUDIO BOOKS AND PODCAST
If your children are the sort that are clingy at bed time, use audio books or podcasts for yourself. While you are patting your child to sleep, or rocking them silently, listen to a professional development audio or an audio book. When taking the kids to the park, do a number of circuits of the perimeter of the park, while listening to audio. Outdoor time for the kids, education and exercise time for you. Win! Win!
You’d think this goes without saying, but sometimes we do things because we think they are important, but in the scheme of things they aren’t. Or we do things that are important (like cleaning up the mess in the kitchen) but they’re not necessarily urgent. A great way to prioritize is to map out all the things you have to do on an Ease and Impact Map.
7. GET GOOD AT SAYING NO
You want to do the right thing, or maybe you want to be seen to do the right thing. Sometimes, it’s okay to say no. Start becoming more selective.
8. CLAMP DOWN ON UNEXPECTED DROP-INS
This is particularly important for work-from-home-mums. If people know you are at home, they may get into the habit of just dropping in, disrupting your schedule and time allocations. Kindly explain to people that you are on a tight schedule and let them know you are “in the middle of something” right now, would it be okay if you make another time to catch up? This will encourage them to make times with you.
9. TRACK YOUR TIME
It’s well worth tracking how you use your time. Sometimes things take longer than we expected and sometimes we don’t realize how much time we waste on certain things. Set some targets, for example, how much time you’ll spend on exercise each week or how much “me” time you actually get in a week. A good tool for this is Toggl.