The Top 10 Time Management Tips for Parents
By Amber Greene.
This article originally appeared at Ezine Articles
We’re all busy. This world is busy. But I believe some of the busiest people of all are those who have children under two years of age. (I’m astounded that parents with infant twins or triplets manage to get dressed in the morning. That effort is legendary). Simply, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to finish everything that needs to be done.
What can be done to save time? Here are the top ten tips to help with time management.
1. Buy a weekly planner with a magnetic strip and attach it to your fridge. Use coloured highlighter pens to mark off your weekly commitments, for example green for work time, blue for tasks such as food shopping, visiting the post office, or library visits, pink for social or community events, and yellow for the jobs around the home. As much as possible, consolidate your activities. This is key. Plan your week so that, for example, all your major cleaning is done in one day or household-upkeep chores are completed on a Tuesday from 2pm until 5pm. A single car trip equals only one shuffle of children, one guzzle of petrol for a round trip and stops unnecessary kilometres racking up.
2. Blocking out one morning for cleaning chores (with bub in the ergo or under Grandma’s watchful eye) speeds up the process. Invest less than ten dollars in a portable cleaning bucket, fill it with sponges, brushes, a squeegee and your favourite natural cleaning products (mine is undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle) and carry it with you from room to room. Do one good vacuum and mop a week. Wash and dry the pile of clothes and refuse to do more until the following week.
3. Plan your meals. One evening, sift through a heap of recipe books, food magazines and blogs. Gather 31 of your favourite simple dinner recipes and put them in an accessible folder. Put them on rotation! On the day before you food shop, write a list of all the ingredients you will need for your next seven dinners. Add the stuff you’ll need for lunches and breakfasts to the list too. (Planning to have leftovers for lunch can save you even more time). Eat as simply as you can. Roast dinners are quick and nutritious, salads and steamed veggies take minutes to prepare (especially with the key ingredients pre-cut) and a curry can be whipped up from a gourmet curry paste in no time. Buy tools that help you. Rice cookers and bread makers are lifesavers but a Thermomix (look it up!) is the time-saving device of the century.
4. Shop online for even more time and money-saving. Have your fresh food delivered to you. No more aisle-wandering or magazine browsing time-wasting either!
5. Prep as much food as you can in one go. Take a tip from all good restaurants and slice and dice your vegetables in one go. Use good quality sharpened knives to help speed up the process. Go online to find guides on what fruits and veggies you should store with what to help extend their freshness. Organise, pre-label and note the date on your storage containers.
6. Organise your pantry. I LOVE my Tupperware modular mates as they offer clear, safe, hygienic storage that extends the shelf life of my purchases. They keep my food at my fingertips and look good too! But any clear container with an airtight seal will do the job. Be sure to add your new packets and ingredients into the jars first thing so you can see what you have at all times and reduce unnecessary wastage.
7. Put a magnetic shopping list on your fridge. When something runs out, jot it down on your list immediately.
8. Do everything you can to help children learn how to play independently. (Watching television or a DVD doesn’t count). Sit in amongst them, demonstrate how to use toys or objects in creative imaginative ways (such as using a rock or a shell to portray a turtle or a green cloth as a mountain or grass for their plastic dinosaur collection) and then sit back and watch them imitate you. Soon, they’ll be doing this fun stuff all by themselves! Yeah! More free time for you coming right up.
9. Provide a resting rhythm for your children. Give your small children a sleep (or rest quietly time) everyday, at about the same time on the clock. Use this time to firstly have a quiet cup of tea or coffee (or mineral water if you prefer). Use any extra minutes to continue on with your favourite artistic or learning project. When you are creatively satisfied for a short burst everyday, you will experience the phenomena of time that seems to stretch like magic.
10. Disconnect from Facebook. I haven’t yet managed it, but you might have better luck!
This busy time in life doesn’t last long (and when it is gone, you will probably miss it). Remember, you WILL have a little bit more time as each day passes and the children begin to grow up. Use this mantra to help you enjoy and savour the daily moments of both joy and difficulty. And in the meantime, practice joie de vivre!
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