Are you a busy parent that’s already prioritizing work and family but want time for more? Well, I want you to know it’s possible. In fact, I think that if you apply these two things tips, you’ll have more time and feel less busy.
1. Be efficient in all that you do
You should always be asking yourself “What’s the best way to do this?” Focus on doing everything in the order that makes the most sense. The opposite of this is multi-tasking, which you should avoid. When you multi-task you get distracted and don’t do anything well.
In being efficient, you’ll also want to keep it simple. For example, when making dinner focus on doing only that and have a repertoire of meals that are fast. Once you’ve made them a time or two, you’ll know the order in which to prepare and cook the ingredients. It doesn’t even have to be a “recipe”, it can be just a protein and veg, which is what I often do. That makes grocery shopping easier too because I just get the number of protein and veg I need and mix and match throughout the week. I keep it simple when I’m cooking too. If I’m grilling, I cook both meat and veg on the grill (which also saves on clean-up time). If I’m cooking it in the oven, same thing. If I want really fast, I do burritos or tacos. I can get them on the table in 10 minutes.
This works for the little things too, like putting everything that needs to go downstairs by the gate. This way you take everything downstairs on one trip. If you have 3 minutes of free time, you can clean the bathtub (yes, it can be done in 3 minutes). If you need to return something to a store, put it with the grocery bags so you remember to do it on the same trip. Think about everything you do this way. What is the most efficient order to do things? What can you do first that makes the other tasks easier?
2. Manage your time, don’t let it manage you.
Really think about how you’re using your time. Write down your daily and weekly tasks. How does your schedule look? How do you want it to look? You have to look at this before you can add more in. If your more is that you want to work out but you don’t think you have the time, think about this. You have three options: before work, during work, after work.
- Before work. Can you get up earlier? Will that affect any other parts of your day? Will your spouse be responsible for the kids if they wake up early? Will you still get as much sleep as you want?
- During work. Is there a gym at your office you can use? One thats close to the office? If you work out during the day, will you have to stay at the office longer? Will it affect daycare drop-off or pick-up?
- After work. Can you do it after work but before you pick up the kids? If your husband/wife picks up the kids, can you arrive home 30 minutes later than you normally do? Can you do it after the kids go to bed? If so, what will you have to give up?
Ask yourself these questions. Use the answers to decide where you want to fit this in your schedule. Then test it out and see if it works for you. If not, what changes will make it work?
Basically, this is just being efficient with your schedule. Don’t just do things at a certain time because that’s the way you always did them. You might think you only like to work out in the morning. But if the evening is the best time for you, is it better to try doing it then or just never do it?
Will this work for me?
I used to think I couldn’t get up before my kids. I used the argument that I didn’t know what time they were going to wake up. Then I tried getting up 5 minutes before them. And it worked – for the first week. The second week it didn’t, so I got up earlier. Then I decided that I liked having time in the morning and I wanted to get up at 5am every day. I asked my husband if he would be in charge of the kids from 5 – 6am. He said yes. It doesn’t always work out, but it does more often than not, and now it is part of my routine.
Now imagine if that were an activity you wanted to do. Are you willing to make changes to make that happen? We can’t literally add time to our day, but we can choose how we spend our time and make the most of it. And that feels like more time.
As a parent, you will have to be flexible because you just can’t predict what your kids will do or what situations will come up. If you want to get up early but think it won’t work out, shoot for 3 days a week.
What happens when you start managing your time?
You’ll take your relaxation time more seriously too. No more sitting on the couch half-watching a show half-trolling Facebook because you’re bored. If it’s your time to spend with your husband or wife, you will want to make it meaningful.
Same for your time with your kids. Decide on a time of the day to focus on your kids. Be intentional with your time and you will be able to accomplish more, strengthen your relationships, and lead the life you want to lead.
It’s your turn now, what are you going to add into your life?
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