Twelve Time-Saving Tips for Parents
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1. Go through your house, room by room, and get rid of anything that is not useful, beautiful, or joyful. Set the timer for 10 minutes per room. (Allow extra time only if a very heavy item must be moved.) Do this quickly and put everything into boxes in the garage. Give yourself a few months to decide if you want to trash, save, donate, or sell these items.
Reward: You’ll save time: Not having to wash, maintain, dust these things. These things won’t hinder your access to important things that you need in a hurry. (Imagine if the only things on your nightstand were your glasses and keys- nothing else! They’d never be lost or buried under useless stuff!)
2. Read EVERYTHING with a pen and a pad of post-it-notes nearby, so that you never have to spend time thumbing through a book or magazine to find what you wanted. Keep a small square of post-its in your wallet, on your nightstand, in your magazine bin, and even in the bathroom!
Reward: You know exactly where that recipe, website, or product review is when you decide to check it out.
3. Declare gadget-free zones (both geographical and temporal) to really enjoy your leisure time. (Isn’t that what voicemail was created for?!)
Reward: Family time is not spent dealing with clients, and business time is not spent chatting with family members. Create a space surrounded by things you love without any electronic communications devices. It can be as simple as a beanbag with a book and no Blackberry!
4. Trust yourself to make decisions: Clutter represents the inability to decide what ought to be thrown away or where to put things. A consistently hurried pace of your life represents the inability to decide what does not need to be done or what can wait for another time.
Reward: Less stuff impeding your steps, and more time to do the things you love.
5. LABEL all of your chargers with silver Sharpie markers, so you don’t wake up one morning with a dead cell phone as you’d plugged it into your child’s gameboy charger the night before, and it didn’t quite fit. (Based on my personal experience last week!)
Reward: A fully charged appliance when you expect it!
6. Each bedroom should have its own hamper. Laundry should be done one hamper at a time- never combine hampers in the washing machine.
Reward: This enables you to take a basket of clean clothes from the dryer and put it in the room in which it belongs and saves enormous time sorting and putting away the clean clothing. BONUS- if you dumped the clean laundry on the bed, that person must deal with putting away the clothing if she wants to sleep in an empty bed that evening!
7. Why touch clothing twice– once to put it away, and once to get it ready to be worn? Buy several hanging sweater organizers – and put away your clothing in groups- each shelf should contain pants, shirt, underwear, socks.
Reward: This way, when it’s time to get dressed, you grab one shelf instead of opening 5 drawers to find what you need. Exceptionally helpful for children and people that think slowly in the morning, like myself!
8. Prepare dinner in the morning in a crock-pot. Or even get it ready the evening prior to a busy day; keep it in the refrigerator overnight and turn it on in the morning.
Reward: Quick preparation, no worries about burning dinner, stirring, mixing, etc. This is especially useful when you’ll be out of the house all day. Bonus- the house smells delicious when you walk inside after a long day!
9. Have lots of zip-lock bags handy. When you are unsure what to do with something (is that a charger for an appliance that we still use?) put it in a zip lock bag in the closet. If you decide you need it, you can find it easily. If you keep seeing it in the closet, you’ll realize you don’t need it, and toss it.
Reward: No more clutter taking your space and time in the middle of the house. I used to have a pile in a corner of each room consisting of things that didn’t belong anywhere. Now, that’s history!
10. Prepare a master grocery list that corresponds to the aisles of your local shop. (Or ask an organized friend in your neighborhood to email hers to you! Or, put up a notice that you’re looking for this type of list on your supermarket’s bulletin board- that is how I found mine!) Keep copies on the fridge, and circle the items you need for your next shopping expedition.
Reward: No more last-minute errands for things you forgot, and no need to sit and write out a shopping list each week!
11. Create a standard system for storing and remembering your passwords, so that you don’t need to spend time requesting new passwords or digging through old emails or post-it notes each time you visit the site! My system goes something like this: The site’s first and last letter, my hometown and old phone number, the sites last and first letter. (Security experts advise changing passwords every 6 months and not using the same one for each site. In 6 months, instead of my hometown and phone number, I’ll use my college town and zip code, still using the site’s first and last letters.)
Reward: No more wasted time requesting and renewing passwords as you log into your favorite sites. Especially useful when you switch computers!
12. Buy a timer on a cord to wear as a necklace when doing chores. This way, you’ll hear the ring no matter where you are! Allow yourself 10 or 20 minutes to clean each room, and move on when you hear the ring- even if you’re not done! This will encourage you to move faster, avoid getting lost in tiny details.
Reward: More focus means more is accomplished! That means more leisure time for you!
Question: What kind of time-saving tips have worked for you? Please share your tips below!
BONUS: Looking for more tips? Download my free report, 30 Time-Saving-Tips right here! Share it with your friends and do post your personal tips and tricks in the comments below:)