As a busy working mom with two young children, I find time to be my most valuable resource. I have put a lot of thought into figuring out how to be as efficient as possible with my time. Here are the three top strategies that have helped me carve out time so I can be present in the lives of those I care about.
Delegate, delegate and delegate some more
When you get home, you want to relax, do things you enjoy and spend time with the people you love. That is the best use of your time, in my opinion. For everything else, try to think of who or what you can delegate those tasks to.
Start by tracking your time for a week and writing down everything you do and how long it takes. Then create a list of activities that you don’t enjoy doing. From there, start brainstorming about people, services or technologies that can take those tasks on. For instance, if you don’t want to vacuum every week, try purchasing a Roomba and scheduling it to clean your house multiple times a week. If doing the laundry is a real time-eater, you can hold a family meeting and ask everyone to start doing their own laundry. You may be surprised by how many tasks can be re-assigned to others, freeing up precious time for you.
Have as many things delivered as possible
Shopping can be a real time-eater, especially on weekends when so many other people are also doing their shopping. You can cut shopping time drastically by ordering items online and having them delivered. With the rapid evolution of technology, you can have almost anything delivered to your doorstep within a few hours or days. The key here is to set up a system or a routine that works for you. It may be as simple as downloading several grocery delivery and meal delivery apps and learning how to use them. My favorites include Instacart, Amazon Prime Now, Uber Eats and DoorDash.
For busy households, setting up rules can be helpful. For example, when you or someone in your household notices that you are running low on milk, that’s the cue to look through the fridge, decide what else needs to be ordered, and put in an online grocery delivery order. Another tip is when ordering takeout for dinner, always order it before driving home, that way the food is either waiting for you or almost there by the time you get home.
For household supplies that you use regularly, you can use a subscription tool like the Save & Subscribe feature in Amazon to have the supplies delivered at regular intervals. You never have to worry about running out of dish soap and laundry detergent again.
Use your calendar to schedule everything (including downtime for yourself!)
Your calendar can be a powerful time management tool. After all, it is a visual representation of the time available to you. Modern electronic calendars can manage multiple facets of your life at the same time. You can set up separate calendars for your family, your work and your personal activities and share each calendar with the relevant people. You have the option to view one or multiple calendars at the same time.
For busy people, it’s easy to over-schedule your calendar and feel tired and overwhelmed at the end of the week. One effective remedy to this situation is to look at your calendar at the beginning of each month and do the following two things:
1) Delete or cancel any unnecessary commitments
2) Add in a few blocks of downtime
You may discover how much you look forward to those blocks of downtime and make it a regular habit to schedule these critical “Self-care” appointments.
We all get 24 hours in a day. However, during certain seasons in our lives we just don’t seem to have enough time. Making the most of your available time can not only make you more efficient but can relieve some stress and make you more available for those you love.
At Blankinship & Foster, we are always looking for ways to help make our clients’ lives better. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.