What would you do with an extra couple of hours during the day? Maybe you would catch up on a bit of work, perhaps you might finally get around to sorting out that cupboard. If you’re a busy parent, you’d probably be seriously considering a few extra hours of sleep!
Sometimes, it feels like you could really do with a few more hours in the day. There is so much to do and so little time that the thought of catching up – never mind being on top – seems to be impossible. But that isn’t always the case.
No matter how big or small your family is or what your situation, there are ways to save a bit of time and make family time your real priority.
Get Things Delivered
One of the first things you can do to save time is to get things delivered. You can get everything from your shopping right through to medications through the NHS prescription service delivered to your door these days and it’s worth the extra cost for the time you save.
Doing online shopping can also save time if you tend to order the same things each week as you can save your regular order. This means that you can simply click to repeat the order and select your day for delivery.
Getting things delivered also makes it a little easier to find a good deal on stuff. The internet is full of great offers so you won’t just save the time it takes to trog around the shops, but you’ll probably save some money too.
Use Your Freezer
Batch cooking is one of the best ways to save time, and once again, you’ll probably save some money too. The idea is very simple, just cook up your favourite meals and stick several in the freezer for next time. If you have a really busy working week, cooking everything at the weekend could be a good way to free up your evenings later on. Good Food is a great place to look for freezable batch cooking recipes and there are lots of family favourites everyone will love.
It’s a good idea to freeze meals in single portions if you aren’t sure whether you will all be eating them at the same time. But your freezer is also great for other prepped foods such as frozen veggies and sides like mashed potatoes and cauliflower cheese. When you have a wide range of meals at your fingertips, it won’t be too difficult to choose what you have and be eating ASAP!
Create a Schedule
If you want to save time and stay on top of your life admin, you need to create a schedule that everyone can see. A family calendar is a great investment and as soon as you find out about an event or you need to note something down, do it straight away.
Having a weekly board that you update week to week is also a good idea. You might like to write down what’s for tea each night as well as any activities your family might get up to. The big advantage of this is that if you’re late home, your partner can pick up straight off and vice-versa. No time wasted on discussion – just get on with it!
Tidy and Organize Your Space
If you have a disorganized and untidy home, you’re going to spend a lot of time looking for things. When you have a good system in place, it’s a lot easier to grab what you need and run! Everything you own should have it’s own logical place. For example, shoes and coats might all live together in the hall but by giving each person their own cubby, you won’t be scrabbling through everyone else’s stuff to find your own.
There are lots of incredible and almost excessive organizing tips on the internet but the main thing is finding a system that works for everyone in your family. This is important because tidying up shouldn’t be just one person’s job. Creating some house rules together is a good idea and everyone should contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of your home. This might be something as simple as tidying up toys after playtime or could include bigger jobs in exchange for a pocket money boost.
Prioritise and Cheat
Time is pretty inflexible and sometimes you just have to prioritise if you want to manage the important stuff. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do, you will save a lot of time by going through your to-do list and deciding what actually needs to be done right now and what can wait.
One good way to prioritise your list is to use musts, shoulds and coulds. This method helps you to figure out what needs to happen right now but also keeps things from dropping off by accident. For example, you could take out the bins today but they don’t smell. Tomorrow, you should take the bins out before the smell. They day after, you must take the bins out because they’re gross!
Of course, if you can’t get to everything, you should cheat. If your kids’ PE kits are needed on Tuesdays and Fridays, buy a kit for each day plus a spare. If you don’t have time to cook, sandwiches are fine. If you have guests coming and no time to tidy up properly, shove everything into a basket and hide it out of sight (do this while they are walking up the path and you can use one of the best words ever ‘scurryfunge’ to describe your activity!).
When you are part of a busy family, trying to get to everything probably isn’t the best approach. Instead, think about what you really want to achieve. If you don’t manage to do all your jobs is your family still safe, happy and healthy? Yes. 9 times out of 10, yes. The real trick to saving time is spending less time worrying about all the things you should be doing and not focusing on what is right in front of you.