I feel as though this season of life that I am in is exceptionally busy – and it is. However, that seems to be true for most of us most of the time. While I stand firmly against the “glorification of busy” the truth is that our lives are full and most of us spend a lot of time on the go – bouncing from one thing to another. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mama like me, or you’re balancing a cocktail of work, school, parenting, volunteering, a social life, and other responsibilities, chances are you feel a lot like I do – like there just isn’t time to get it all done around the home. Here are some strategies I’ve been employing to help me be more productive than just the day-to-day-keep-everyone-alive activities.
- The 15 Minute Rule Choose a project (like putting away that mountain of laundry or cleaning the bathroom), set your oven timer and get to work. I’m always amazed at what I can get done in a short amount of time.
- Multi-task Fold laundry while you (gasp!) watch tv or while your little one is in the tub. Empty the dishwasher while your coffee is brewing. Straighten the shoes in the closet when you grab your coat. Take out the recycling when you’re grabbing the mail.
- Plan Ahead Get ready for the next day before you go to bed. Set out the things you’ll need (even clothes!), pack your bag, make your lunch, etc. Make your breakfast ahead of time. Laura shared this recipe with us last year. It can be made the night before and is a quick reheat. I love a peanut butter and banana wrap, a sippy cup (uh.. yes I use them in the car…) of milk, and a travel mug of coffee for breakfast on the go. (Speaking of breakfast on the GO, as my poor husband learned – dry cereal on a bumpy GO bus does not a good breakfast make.)
- Enlist Little Help If you have little ones at home, don’t always try to work around them – get them to help! I shared some ideas on how to do this last year. A few weekends ago all 4 of us spent the afternoon outside doing yard work. With the help of the Ergo Carrier little man had a wonderfully long nap while Daddy cut the grass (we use a manual mower – its safe!) while little girl and I trimmed bushes, raked leaves, etc… in between trips to the sandbox and rides down the slide, of course.
- Use That Slow-cooker! I find the morning to be my most productive time and late afternoon to be the worst. It’s slowcooker season again and ours has been getting a work out. You can find some GREAT recipes online for chilis, soups, and stews, or toss in a roast and veggies for a double-duty meal – turn tonight’s leftovers into tomorrow’s stew.
- Stock Your Freezer It takes quite a while to make a lasagna. At least 45 minutes if I’m really making a yummy one with spinach blended into the ricotta and a nice nutmeg filled bechamel between the layers. (Oh yes – come to my house for lasagna!) However – it takes only a few minutes more to turn that into two lasagnas. Make one for tonight and one for the freezer. Then on those exceptionally nutty days (or when you just don’t feel like cooking) you can pull it out, toss a salad, and dinner is ready with only a few minutes of prep.
- Just Do It I have found that psyching myself up for a task is often more time consuming and more of a chore than just doing it. Steal five minutes and get it done. As my favourite Nike quote says “If you started your run when you first thought about going, you would be done by now.” Just get it done.
Do you have any tips for how to get things done around the home? What strategies do you use to stay on top of things when life gets extra chaotic?