For as long as I can remember, when I asked my Dad how his day was, he would respond in a weary tone, “busy”.
It became a bit of a running joke in our house.
As an adult, I’ve realised that I’ve subconsciously taken on this same mindset.
I always feel like I’m in a race against time to get everything done. My to-do list is a mile long (I LOVE lists) and there’s never enough time to get through it.
Recently, someone challenged me about my mindset in relation to time.
And to my surprise, I discovered that I had a limiting belief about time. Thinking that I never have enough time, caused me to feel constantly stressed and overwhelmed.
Yes, there are absolutely way too many things on my to-do list to accomplish in one day, on top of caring for my family. There’s never enough time for everything.
There IS enough time for the most important things.
Sometimes it’s even just the most important thing. Singular.
Because I have just as much time as everyone else.
And sure, some of us might have more responsibilities, or bigger dreams, or less help, but there are successful people all around us, who are doing amazing things in life, with the same amount of time.
Maybe not everything on my list is really that critical. Perhaps no one would suffer, or even notice, if I didn’t do them. Maybe my time would be better invested somewhere else at this stage.
So, my new mindset is: I have enough time for the important things. What would be the best use of my time right now?
This mindset moves me into a much more helpful state, which actually allows me to be more productive, focused and able to live in the present. It helps me be a better mum, as I’m not so stressed out about everything I’m not doing, while I’m playing or doing other things with my son.
How helpful is your mindset regarding time?
Tips to save time and your sanity
So, mindset is one thing, but busy mums still need to be crazy productive in the time that we do have, right?
I love practical tips that make me feel saner, so here are 25 time saving tips for you!
1. Menu plan – every weekend, I menu plan for the week ahead. My menu is written on my glass noticeboard in the kitchen, including who is in for dinner each night (important for our busy young adults).
2. Keep a shopping list and to-do list handy – I keep a shopping list on the noticeboard in the kitchen and whenever anyone notices something is running low, they write it on the list. This saves me checking everything or having to go to the shop at the last minute because we forgot something. My to-do list is also on my noticeboard where it’s easily accessible and visible as a reminder.
3. Organise presents monthly – At the beginning of every month, check your calendar for birthdays and other events in that month and organise all the presents and cards together.
4. Plan for the important things first – don’t let stress get the better of you because you didn’t allow enough time to connect with your kids or husband, help out that friend in need, or go to that medical check-up. Each month, put the important things in your calendar first, and then fit the rest around them.
5. Fill a box in the car with essential and just in case items so you never have to go back inside to grab that thing you forgot or can’t find. For example, hats, towels, wipes, sunscreen, jumpers, first aid kit, picnic blanket, umbrella, spare toys, nappies, changes of clothes.
6. Outsource or stop – what could you pay someone else to do, to give you back precious time for something else? Cleaning, ironing, gardening, basic work? You don’t have to spend a lot, even something small can make a big difference. Better still, are you doing things that you could just stop altogether? Things that aren’t really that important or that you don’t enjoy?
7. Batch cook meals and snacks – freeze extra dinner portions or use them the following night. I keep my freezer stocked with healthy muffins, frozen yoghurt snacks and things like zucchini slice for lunches in a hurry. Cut up ingredients for smoothies and place individual servings in snap lock bags, ready to blend (ok, that one’s not really cooking).
8. Pre-prepare breakfast – overnight oats or bircher muesli are great examples of breakfasts that can be prepared the night before. Pancakes can be frozen and then defrosted overnight. Or just get everything out for breakfast the night before to make things easier in the morning rush.
9. Use a slow cooker, pressure cooker or multi-function cooker (e.g. Thermomix) to make preparing meals easier – I use our slow cooker a lot. I often prepare the ingredients the night before and just turn it on in the morning.
10. Grocery shop once a week – we shop on the weekend for the week ahead (based on the menu plan). You’ll save money and extra trips.
11. Shop online – even click and collect services save you from having to walk around the store, without paying for delivery fees. Some grocery stores will even bring your shopping to the car so you don’t have to get the kids out. There are also many food box delivery services now that will deliver the exact ingredients (and recipe) for each meal.
12. Buy gifts when you see them – when you see something you know someone would like, buy and store it until you need it. You’ll be able to take advantage of sales and find things that are perfect for the recipient, rather than racing around the shops at the last minute trying to find something to buy. Keep a stash of wrapping paper, cards and ribbons in the cupboard, so wrapping is always easy!
13. Eat outside – much less cleaning up! If you don’t have suitable outdoor furniture, have a picnic!
14. Clean the shower while you’re in it – if you’re using natural products, the kids can help.
15. Make ironing easier – take the clothes out of the washing machine as quickly as possible. If you have a time delay setting, set it so the machine finishes at a time that’s convenient for you. Shake the clothes out and then hang them carefully to reduce creasing.
16. Get your kids involved – (this can actually make things take longer, so choose the right chores for your children). Even little children can set the table, take plates to the sink after meals, dust, place dirty clothes in the laundry basket, make beds, tidy up, sweep or use a handheld vacuum cleaner. A sweeping square is great – use masking tape to create a square on the floor and get the kids to sweep everything into that square.
17. Invest in a handheld and / or robot vacuum cleaner – I have both! It’s much faster to use a handheld vacuum cleaner than to get the large one out and the kids can use it too. I was initially skeptical about robot vacuum cleaners but I LOVE ours now. It’s set on a schedule to clean every second day and all I have to do is empty the dust bin regularly. (Note: These do vary in quality so do your research).
18. Clean as you go – one of my favourite strategies to avoid cleaning days!
19. Shower with your little kids – wash yourself while they play in the water. You won’t waste time watching them in the bath. While you’re at it, brush your teeth in there too! I always shower at night so my hair can dry naturally rather than having to blow dry it in the morning.
20. Buy complete outfits or coordinating separates that can be put together in different ways, so you don’t have to think too much about creating an outfit.
21. Simplify your beauty routine – identify your essentials (mine are tinted moisturiser, brow pencil, mascara and lip gloss) use multipurpose products and time savers like dry shampoo.
22. Buy socks in the same colour so you never have to worry about finding matching pairs again.
23. Look for opportunities for incidental exercise – it all adds up! For example, do squats while you wait for the kettle to boil, lunges at the park while the kids are playing, stretch as your meal is reheating, park further away and walk, dance with your kids.
24. Store kids’ clothing in complete outfit bundles so you never need to find separate pieces. For example:
25. Pack bags and select outfits the night before, for you and the kids.
Phew. That’s quite a list.
I’m hoping there’s at least one thing on that list that can help you, lovely mum.
We have just as much time as anyone else. It’s how we use it that counts.
What are 1-3 things you will do this week to save yourself some time and make your life a little easier?
Do you have any other time saving tips? I’d love to learn from you too, so please leave a comment here!