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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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