Whether you're a mom who works from home, works outside of the home, or your full-time job is keeping your little ones happy and busy, chances are you often feel like you're spinning plates. (Disclaimer, this is just as true for dads: we see you too!)
Parents all over the web are sharing their proven tips and tricks for squeezing that extra 30 minutes out of your day. You'll learn how to keep your fridge full, get your chores done, and fit in some exercise, all in record time!
Have a morning routine
Each day means a fresh start, and getting things off on the right foot is my top tip for ensuring the rest of the day flows. We've got the rundown on creating the perfect morning routine here.
Use Google calendar
There's so much technology that could make our lives easier if we only knew what to do with it. Thankfully, Fab Working Mom Life has easy instructions on how you can use Google Calendar to organize your busy mom life!
Find your time
Often I'll get to the end of the day and have absolutely no idea how I filled my time (other than knowing I'm exhausted!). When you're running on autopilot it can be difficult to have any perspective. Raising Bliss suggests completing a time diary to find the gaps you can fill more efficiently.
Workout with your kids
One of the things I find most challenging in a busy week is fitting in any exercise. I know it's key for my mental health, but by the time the kids are in bed I'm too tired to go for a run. So, why not get your kids involved? Life is Sweeter By Design has some great ideas for how you can do this.
Fridge shopping list
One of the biggest time wasters in my house is running to the store for something I've forgotten in my weekly shop. Having a shopping list on your fridge means you can write down items as they run out. You'll never miss anything again!
Getting your groceries delivered
For an even more efficient way of ensuring your fridge is full, skip the store altogether. Pretty much every large grocery store will have a delivery option for a small fee. Use your head and save your time.
Cutting out the 15 minutes of standing in front of the fridge trying to decide what everyone wants for tea is an easy win. Meal planning is all the rage, and it's oh, so sensible. Busy Mom Smart Mom has 10 simple tips for meal planning beginners.
Make breakfast in advance
If your mornings are full of finding kit bags and lost socks then having a healthy breakfast all ready to go is a great way of feeling organized and accomplished! Why not try a smoothie, or overnight oats like these from VeggieBalance that you can prep the night before and keep in the fridge?
Pre-make your lunches, too
It's not just breakfast that you can get ready the night before. Preparing the packed lunches for you and your little ones can save you valuable time. Treat Trunk have some great school lunch ideas
Use your crockpot
Just to round out the trilogy of meals that you can get a jump on, investing in a crockpot or instant pot can mean dinner is ready by the time you get home from swim practice!
Meal delivery services
If you're dealing with basic cooking skills as well as limited time, there are a whole host of delivery services that will send a week's worth of recipes with all necessary ingredients straight to your door. Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, or Freshly are all great options.
Get a command center
Although the name might invoke a NASA-style room with banks of computers, a family command center is just what you need if your life is more complicated than a whiteboard on a fridge. Unoriginal Mom has 20 great ideas for how to set one up in your home.
Get help from the kids
We're a long way from chimney sweeps and coal mines (outside of Disney), but getting your kids involved in the household chores can save you time, and teach them valuable life skills. Raising Bliss has a great list of age-appropriate chores.
Focus on 10-minute tasks
When your to-do list is longer than an orangutan's arm, it can seem pretty overwhelming. Bringing Back the Housewife's answer is to focus on 10-minute tasks, breaking everything down into small and manageable increments. It's a pretty good idea if you ask me!
Have a cleaning caddy
One of the best life hacks I've learnt is to keep all of my cleaning supplies in one portable basket. Seriously, it's a game-changer. You can just pick up the basket and go to whatever room needs doing next, without 4 trips back downstairs to collect the dishcloth you forgot. Anderson and Grant have a great list of what to put in your caddy.
Storage bins everywhere
There can never be enough storage bins. I promise you, every area in your house can be improved by having a box or basket to put things in. You can coordinate them with your decor, or go purely for practicality. But your life will be changed.
Label toy storage
Combine kids doing chores with loads of toy storage and you're likely to end up with your tiny Lego pieces all mixed up with your playdough. The answer? I Heart Organizing has a perfectly organized playroom where each storage bin has a picture on it revealing what's inside.
Get an activity mat
Speaking of tiny Lego pieces, you've probably spent more time than you want to write down in your time diary picking them all up from the floor. This Lay-N-Go mat solves your problem. All the Lego stays inside, then when play has ended you simply pull the drawstring and hang it up!
Set limits on your screen time
Chances are after you completed your time diary, an awful lot of time seems to have been spent scrolling social media. Now, we don't want you to give it up completely (how would you read our blogs, after all?), but Android and Apple phones have the ability to set timers on different apps. Think about how much time you can sensibly spend in front of Facebook, and limit accordingly.
But, use voice to text
See, this is why we don't think ditching the phone altogether makes sense for busy moms. The quickest and most efficient way to make notes on the run is to use the microphone on your smartphone. You can send texts without stopping to type, add to your to-do lists and even record that genius business idea you had on the school run.
Listen to audiobooks and podcasts
I can't remember the last time I read a book, and I love books. These days I have to think carefully about how I use my time, so consuming interesting ideas usually comes through audiobooks and podcasts. I can feed my brain, while I'm feeding my family (or vacuuming up their mess, or walking the dog). Perfect multitasking.
Catch up on current events
In a similar way, finding time to keep up with what's going on in the world can be tricky when you're a busy parent. But you don't want to be left confused at the next dinner party. Sites like The Skimm were developed to help busy people keep their fingers on the pulse in just a few minutes.
Deciding what to let slide...
As much as we've spent the last few thousand words helping you fit more into your day, you can't do everything. One of the best things you can do when you're busy is to work out which things don't actually matter. This article by Smart Parenting can give you a little direction.
...and what you can outsource
There will be things that you can't let slide, but honestly don't have the time for. Then is when you outsource. Asking for help or paying for it is nothing to be ashamed of. Have your favorite handyman's number on the fridge, with the number of a babysitter, dog walker, gardener, and cleaner. Your time is precious, use it wisely.
Consider time blocking
While you're considering what to fit into this precious time, you might want to consider time blocking as a time management mechanism. Purpose Driven Mom thinks it's one of the best time management tips for moms out there.
If you still need some more ways to make your life more organized, then life hacks are your new best friends. I'm completely obsessed with them, and you can find my favorites here.
Get a clothes steamer
One particularly good time-saving hack is to ditch standing over the giant ironing pile and invest in a handheld clothes steamer. It's what the fashion boutiques use to keep their items in great shape, and you can fix your creases while your dress is on its hanger.
Kit out your car
Most parents will spend a large percentage of their time in the car. Sometimes it feels as if I'm in there all day. So, having the right kit is key to a smooth school run/soccer practice/beach trip/playdate. Handling Home Life has some great hacks for how to keep your car as organized as your home.
Have a daily family routine
With the holidays looming, long days with no set time to get up and nothing much in the diary can spell chaos. The best way around this is to impose some structure on your family's day. Busy Mom Smart Mom leads you through creating a sensible routine for your kids when school won't be back for weeks.
Have your own evening routine
Just as a morning routine can help set you up for the day and wring out a few extra minutes, an evening routine can ensure you lay down rested and ready for the next day. Lemons and Lattes runs you through her perfect evening routine for an easy morning here.
Even if you ignore all of our tips so far, as long as you remember this one you'll be doing great. Seriously, saying no is the most powerful tool in your organization arsenal. Say no to things that aren't your responsibility, that you don't have time for, and that you don't actually want to do. Your time is precious, and you are busy and important. Act accordingly!