Whether you’re Eva the Canteen Manager, April the Organic Supermum, or even Nicole Kidman, we all have one thing in common: we all want more time in our lives.
More time to spend with our kids, more time to prepare healthy meals, and if we’re lucky, more time to ourselves.
But, when you’re a busy mum with 2.5 kids, a dog you’re toilet training and a corporate job in tow, the reality is you’re more likely to be run off your feet than having them pedicured.
So, if you’ve been looking for a way to inject a little more time into your life, look no further. Here are 5 ‘borrowed from the boardroom’ family-friendly time saving tips that should help you relax a little more often.
1. Systemise, systemise, systemise
If you’re a busy mum looking to save yourself some time, systemising is one of the best things you can do for yourself (and your sanity!).
Creating systems around your life can sound tedious and time-consuming, but once you have even a few simple systems in place, everything seems to flow a little easier - and there are way less “Where’s that damn excursion note Charlotte bought home last week?!” panicked moments.
For example: if you never seem to actually receive any of those notes from school, try setting your child up with a clear, plastic folder. Teach them to put all the notes they get into the folder and turn it in as soon as they get home.
Now, this is just one really simple trick to systemise one area of your life, but you could just as easily systemise some other household tasks like paying your bills automatically, always having a jar of spare change in the house or even a system for whose job it is to do the dishes!
Get creative and make simple tweaks to systemise your life—you’ll save yourself both stress and time.
2. Start tomorrow, today
If you want to have more time tomorrow, you have to start today.
Yes, I know it’s tempting to sit on the couch and tune out to the latest Danoz Direct infomercial, but if you trade just five minutes of zoning out to do a few small preparation tasks, tomorrow morning will be 10 times less stressful.
Start by laying out the kids’ clothes for tomorrow, gathering some items for their lunch or setting out the breakfast foods for the morning.
When you reduce the number of tasks you have to complete in the morning, you’ll walk into your day with more energy, more time and much less stress on your shoulders.
Compartmentalising is probably my favourite of all boardroom time management hacks. Why? Because it works.
Compartmentalising is the act of putting ‘like’ or similar tasks, together. The theory is that when you group like tasks together, you save yourself time by not repeating the task over and over again – it’s sort of a ‘buy in bulk’ concept.
For example: if you’re always heading to the shops to pick up birthday presents for the kids’ friends, can you ‘compartmentalise’ this task and pick up six months’ worth of wrapping paper, cards and gifts all at once?
Or, you could compartmentalise your grocery shopping by bulk buying all your non-perishable items in one a big monthly shop. Not only should this save you money, but it will also stop you from making those time consuming trips to the local shops everyday.
4. Schedule your day
Just like you plan your meetings and hair dressing appointments, planning your meals is a smart (and surprisingly easy) way to have more time.
Planning your meals can reduce the dreaded “What are we having for dinner?” question, put a stop to all those ‘quick trips’ to the local shops (AKA compartmentalising, see above) and if you involve your kids in the process, it can actually get them excited about dinner - perfect if you have a fussy eater on board!
All you need is a laminated meal planner template, an erasable marker and some good old-fashioned cookbook inspiration. Keeping your grocery list handy when planning out your meals is a great way to ensure you’ve written down all the ingredients you’ll need this week too.
The key to sticking to the menu planner is being honest with yourself—if you have teenage kids who have football practice late on Tuesday nights, schedule something that reheats nicely for that night, like lasagne. Or, if you know that you’ll be exhausted come Friday evening, plan something easy, like homemade pizzas. Pre-empt those feelings of laziness and convenience so you’ll be more likely to stick to the schedule.
5. Touch everything only once
Once you learn this time saving trick, you won’t go back. Simply put, the 'Touch It Once' philosophy is to only interact (‘touch’) something - be it paperwork, admin, bills, emails etc - once. It’s a very smart, very time efficient way of getting things done.
So, how can we apply this boardroom philosophy at home?
Well, remember little Charlotte’s excursion note? Instead of the usual dance - pulling it out of her bag, putting it down, thinking about it, looking at it again, losing it, stressing about it, finding it again - you could just pull it out of her bag, head over to your jar of spare change (you little systemiser, you!) sign it, pop it in an envelope and put it back in her bag.
Touch it once—no muss, no fuss.
What's your favourite time-saving tip?