Time. Where does it go? It’s like the hours go faster now I’m a mum. But what if I told you that you really can save valuable time with a few easy time-saving tips, hacks and shortcuts? And even better, you can use this time to do whatever you wish … laying comatose on the couch included.
The most important time management tip for busy mums is identifying your time-takers and streamlining them to make them quicker. Time-takers are the chores you do on a regular basis which take longer than necessary. I’ve identified and streamlined my time-takers and saved 248 hours a year!
These ‘busy mom organisation tips’ are how I have saved lots of valuable time and reclaimed some of my life. And you can do it too!
Time management tips for mums
TIP #1: SAVE TIME GROCERY SHOPPING
I love a day of unadulterated retail therapy as much as the next mum, but when it comes to the mundane weekly grocery shop, I just want it done. My shop takes me a maximum of 20 minutes a week, online. This is my most valuable time saving tip for working mums!
When I think of a traditional supermarket shop it’s laughable. We drive there. Walk around the entire store (often several times), put everything in our trolley. Remove it all at the checkout. Put it back in the trolley. Load it into the car. Drive home. Unload it from the car. And finally put it all away. Mine is delivered by a lovely delivery person directly to my kitchen and I put it in the cupboards.
Not only does ‘doing it online’ save you time, it also saves you money. It takes 2 minutes to scroll through every half price item available so I never miss a special. Plus, I can monitor the total amount and remove items from my virtual trolley without embarrassment at the checkout.
Online supermarket shopping is a skill which can take a while to hone. Yes, I have mistakenly ordered three bulk bags of oranges instead of three oranges (how we laughed) but they were happy to take them back and I didn’t get charged. Persevere, I promise it’s worth it.
Most supermarkets offer online shopping. I have tried several but I use Woolworths as they have excellent specials and the most extensive range. Coles are also good. Oh and you often get free delivery on your first order, so you have nothing to lose from a trial run.
I live a 15-minute drive from my local supermarket so online grocery shopping saves me about 2 hours each week. That is eight hours a month. 96 hours a year. Now do you get where I’m coming from?
TIP #2: SAVE TIME COOKING
I’ve been a mum for 15 years. I know how to cook. And I know how to do it fast. Yet, to prepare balanced meals, pack-lunches, healthy snacks and whatever else is demanded over the kitchen bench, takes time. My valuable time.
And it is relentless. No sooner is one meal prepared, devoured and cleaned away and it is time start the next one.
Here’s my time-saving tip: I use a meal delivery service. Best. Thing. Ever. For one week of every month I order a Hello Fresh four meal pack. This is my favourite week of the month (simple pleasures!). Having pre-portioned super-easy meals saves time preparing and washing up. And it jazzes up my meal repertoire, which admittedly, can get dull.
Similar to Hello Fresh, there is Marley Spoon and Aussie Farm Direct. I use Hello Fresh as I find it the best value and have yet to receive a meal I’ve not liked. Plus, they have some great specials to get you started and keep you ordering.
Each Hello Fresh dinner saves me about 30 minutes and we have four each month. That is a time saving of two hours a month. 24 hours a year. And my kids love cooking from the Hello Fresh recipe cards, so if they cook dinner I save even more time. Just call me lady of leisure.
TIP#3: SAVE TIME CLEANING
The mere thought of cleaning bores me senseless. Surely there’s more to life? Unfortunately, I’m also a stickler for a gleaming home.
One Saturday evening whilst scrubbing the toilet (sad but true) I decided enough was enough. Sure, I didn’t get out much anymore, but I deserved more than this.
I talked myself (quite easily I might add) into a cleaner for two hours every other week. Now, don’t switch off as it’s not expensive. I justified the cost and you can too.
Head over to AirTasker and you’ll be amazed at the low rates cleaners charge. I pay $15 an hour. If you can’t afford it, do what the Barefoot Investor says and find more work or sell something (btw if you’ve not got the Barefoot Investor book yet, get it. It basically makes you richer!) You can even sell yourself and your skill on Airtasker and make the money back that way.
This little time-taker shimmy saves me another four hours a month. Just think 48 hours every year when you are NOT scrubbing poo off the toilet. Marvellous.
TIP #4: SAVE TIME DRIVING
This is different for everyone. I exist within a 20km radius of my home, but still consider it a time-taker.
A little driving or public transport time can be great to listen to a podcast or read a book, but too much and your life is ebbing away as you go from A to B and back again via C, often several times a day.
One day I looked around the packed school drop-off area and realised the error of my ways. It was completely unnecessary to chauffeur my girls to and from school every day. And very un-environmentally friendly. From that day forth, they took the bus. And they love it. So do I. A school run which took me 20 minutes-return twice a day, now takes me, well, no time at all!
Then there’s car pooling. My daughters do netball three times a week. They play with the same team, with the same parents on the sideline every game. So, I teamed up with another single mum who lives nearby and we share the drives. Good for me, good for the environment, good for Sally (other wonderful mum) and the kids are happy.
Time saved per week with the implementation of the school bus and one less netball run every week is two hours a week. Based on 40 school weeks in the years. This save me 80 hours a year.
So there you have it. These four time-saving tips save me on average 248 hours over the course of the year. Why would you spend that time cleaning the windows or roaming the aisles of a supermarket to buy the same as you bought the week before? Use the time to engage with your children, improve yourself, love yourself or simply to lie down listen to the birds.