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6 Time-Saving Tips for Working Parents

6 Time-Saving Tips for Working Parents

There are never enough hours in the day for working parents. One of the first things I noticed when I went back to work after having my first child was that I had to start keeping track (in minutes) of how long it took me to do anything, because if it took any longer than planned, the delicate balance of working and child rearing would fall apart. If you’re a working parent, here are a few things you can do to capture some time for yourself each day.

Shower at work

If your office has shower facilities, consider using them! Just pack a gym bag for yourself with the next day’s clothes and other items before you go to bed. When you wake up in the morning, pull on comfortable loungewear so that you can quickly and conveniently get your kids ready. Drop them off at school or day care while not worrying about spills or having to go back home to change your clothes. Your dry cleaning bills will drop too. Not planning on using the gym at work? That’s okay; it’s perfectly reasonable to drop in just for the showering facilities–they are there for you to use!

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Get ready at home after you drop off the kids

No showers at work? This is likely if you work at a smaller office or your company doesn’t have the space or plans for an onsite gym. Instead of waking up early to shower, wake up and get the kids ready first. Then drop them off and come back home to get ready and shower…in peace. This works if your kids go to school or daycare close to home.

Have everything ready to go the night before

This means that you’ll have to take an extra 15 to 20 minutes in the evening to pack up lunches (put all non-perishables in the lunch boxes, perishables in the fridge already packed to grab and go, and water bottles pre-filled), set out clothes for the next day (yours and your children’s), and, if your car is parked in the garage, put everything that you can into the car. The less organizing you have to do each morning, the faster you can get out the door and the less stressed you are to deal with your four-year-old spilling milk five minutes before it’s time to leave.

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Order school hot lunch if it’s available

Hot lunch can seem expensive at four to six dollars a pop, but when you consider the time and effort it takes to pack a lunch, as well as the rising cost of most food at the grocery store, hot lunch may be a good option. There are more healthy alternatives out there these days with schools contracting with catering companies focused on providing wholesome nutrition for kids. And your kids may love hot lunch; it’s something different than the cold leftovers from last night’s dinner.

Hire a nanny that can do drop offs and pick ups

Even better, have them arrive when the kids wake up so they can manage through all the early morning getting ready routines, like teeth brushing, bathing, and dressing. Keep them an hour or two after pick up to help with snacks, dinner prep, and homework help. This way, you’ll be able to get ready and commute to work without the worry of getting kids out the door on time (unfortunately, depending on your job, this time may or may not be stress free). You’ll have more time in the mornings and evenings to catch up on work, grocery shop, or even hit the gym.

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Bathe the kids at night

Kids don’t need to bathe in the mornings, they aren’t aclimated to it. Until they are in middle school, you can probably get away with keeping your bathtime routines in the evening when time pressures and impending work stress are out of the way.

Featured photo credit: Families/normalityrelief via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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