Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ten Time Saving Tips For Busy Moms

When people hear that I have 6 boys, the question that I hear the most (well... maybe next to "Do you know what causes that?) is how do you manage?  Then when they hear all of the things I do... a member of the city council, finishing up my Master's Degree, etc. they want to know where do I find the time.  Here are a few of my time saving tips that have really helped me to do it all (or at least  fake it! LOL!)

1. My iphone!  Really, my iphone has come to function as a second brain (and boy do I need one!).  I put everything in there from due dates for assignments, to shopping lists, to doctor appointments, you name it!  Here are some of the uses I have found, and I am sure you can find some more!

  • Calendar - This is where I keep track of appointments, meetings, etc.
  • Apps - Whether it is for keeping a to-do list, counting calories, or keeping track of grocery prices and coupons, it is safe to say there is an app for that!
  • Notes - When all else fails, I write myself a note - things like my kiddos's shoe sizes (which seem to change every other day) to the type of ink I need for my printer have found there way here.
  • Camera - I often will snap a pic of a price I want to remember, a project I want to re-create, or an item I want to put on my Christmas list.  The other day I had a pricing issue at Office Depot and I just ran back and snapped a pic of the price and the cashier fixed it for me! 
  • Business Apps. Many stores and businesses are jumping on the bandwagon to make life easier with apps that save you time. 
With Starbucks Card Mobile App you can use select smartphone devices to pay for your Starbucks purchases, allowing you to experience the fastest way to pay at nearly 9,000 locations in the U.S., including 6,800 company-operated stores, more than 1,000 Starbucks locations in U.S. Target stores and nearly 1,000 Starbucks locations in Safeway stores. By offering the fastest way to pay in stores, Starbucks is making your morning coffee run even more convenient, giving you more time to get on with your busy day!

Love you Starbucks!

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5. Find nearby Starbucks stores: Save time by finding a Starbucks store near you.

2. Home Sweet Home. - Not just the saying, but everything in our house has a "home" or place where it belongs.  And... as long as my kiddos and hubby (love you guys!) follow the rules and put the things back in their "homes" I save a ton of time searching for things that I need.

3. Multi-task when runnung errands. - I try to arrange all of my errands to get done on one day of the week.  Especially because we live in a rural area and are about 30 minutes from town, I try to schedule appointments for the same day.  While I am out I try to grab groceries, go the post office, etc. 

4. Separate Laundry Baskets By Child.  Each of my kiddos has their own laundry basket and designated laundry day.  It makes life much easier to put away items for one kid in one place at a time.  I also use lingerie bags for socks.  The kids each have a bag and that is where their socks go - makes for easier pairings and less lost socks in the infamous dryer black hole!

5. Quick and Easy Breakfasts.  When we make pancakes or French Toast on the weekend, we will often cook up some extras and freeze them.  The boys can grab some out of the freezer and pop them in the microwave when they want something different instead of cereal or oatmeal. If I want a smoothie in the morning, I will put all the ingredients into the blender in the fridge the night before when I have more time and no morning chaos as my hubby heads off to work.

6. Meal Planning.  We plan meals a week ahead and post the menu on the fridge.  That way if I am out and about (i.e. at one of the many sports practices for my kiddos) my hubby or older boys can start dinner cooking before I get home.

7. Delegate.  All successful managers delegate work, and a household manager (MOM) is no different.  Whenever possible I put my kiddos to work helping out around the house.  It helps them feel good about helping the family and it saves me time.  Then I have extra time for doing fun things with them!

8. Mail Sorting. We have a three draw plastic thingy that I bought at Wal-Mart that sits on a counter by my front door.  When the mail comes, whoever took it out sorts it into the 3 drawers - "Bills" "Mom & Dad" or "Kids".

9. Stockpiling - I try to keep a stockpile of items we use on hand at all times  (i.e. shampoo, dish detergent, etc.)- that way I don't have to make any last minute runs to the store for needed items.

10. Color coding - With 6 boys it is often hard to remember what thing belonged to what child (i.e. cups, hangers, etc.).  We use color coding (each boy has a specific color) to help everyone keep track of their own items.

I hope some of these tips help you save some time, and I would love to hear any of your ideas!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here

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Marci said...

I don't have an iphone but I do have an ipod touch and I LOVE it. It does so much! It has our schedules, menus, grocery lists, mindless games.... I agree. It a great help to busy moms!

Great list!

Yogi said...

Your list is great. I especially love the making extra breakfast and putting in the freezer. I never really thought about this one.

Michelle said...

wow.. and this is why you have 6 and I have 4 .. you are so organised!
I do ok with the delegating... and stockpiling.
I cook extra most nights ... and freeze small dinner portions for lunch or dinner.. but never thought of doing it for breakfast as well. Our kids get their own breaky anyway.
Must get me an iphone one day soon.