12 Time Saving Tips For Parents

The following article of time saving tips for parents was written by my friend Ellen C. Brown from CreatingHours.com. She has written an excellent guide on finding more time in our busy days and I highly recommend it for any busy mom. You can order your copy here: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/creatinghours

1. Trust yourself to make effective decisions: Clutter is symbolic of the inability to decide what ought to be trashed or where things belong.  A consistently hurried pace of your life is symbolic of the inability to decide what can be overlooked or what can wait.
Reward: Less stuff impeding your steps, and more time to do the things you love.

2. Do all your reading with a pen and a pad of post-it notes, so that you never have to spend time thumbing through a magazine or book in order to find what you wanted.  Keep a small square of post-its in your handbag, on your nightstand, in your magazine bin, and even in the bathroom!
Reward: You know exactly where that recipe, website, or product review is when you decide to check it out.

Family playing board game at home3. Declare gadget-free zones so that you can really enjoy your leisure time. (Isn’t that what voicemail was created for?!)
Reward: Family time is not spent dealing with clients, and business time is not spent chatting with friends and family.  Create a space surrounded by things you love without any electronic communications devices.  It can be as simple as a beanbag without a phone!

4.  Go through your house, one room at a time, and get rid of anything that is not useful, beautiful, or joyful.
Set the timer for 10 minutes per room.  Do this quickly and put everything into boxes in the basement or other storage area.  Give yourself a few months to decide if you want to trash, save, donate, or sell these items.
Reward: You’ll save time:  Not having to wash, maintain, dust these things.  These things won’t hinder your access to important things that you need in a hurry.  (Imagine if the only things on your nightstand were your glasses and keys- nothing else!  They’d never be lost or buried under useless stuff!)

5. LABEL all of your chargers with silver Sharpie markers, so you don’t wake up one morning with a dead cell phone as you’d plugged it into your son’s DS charger the prior evening, and it didn’t quite fit.  (Based on my personal experience recently!)
Reward: A fully charged appliance when you expect it!

6. Each bedroom ought to have its own hamper. Laundry should be done one hamper at a time- avoid combing hampers in the washing machine.
Reward: This enables you to take a basket of clean clothes from the dryer and put it in the room in which it belongs and saves enormous time sorting and putting away the clean clothing.  BONUS- if you dumped the clean laundry on the bed, the owner of the bed must deal with putting away the clothing if she wants to sleep in an empty bed that evening!

7. Why touch clothing twice– once to put it away in a drawer, and once to get it ready to be worn in the morning?  Buy several hanging sweater organizers- and put away your clothing in groups- each shelf should contain pants, shirt, underwear, socks.
Reward: This way, when it’s time to get dressed, you grab one shelf instead of opening 5 drawers to find what you need.  This tip is exceptionally helpful for children and people that think slowly in the morning, like myself!

8. Prepare dinner early in the day in a crock-pot. Or even get it ready the evening prior to a busy day; keep it in the refrigerator overnight and then place it on the heating element in the morning.
Reward: Quick preparation, no worries about burning dinner, stirring, mixing, etc.   This is especially useful when you’ll be out of the house all day.  Bonus- the house smells delicious when you walk inside after a long day!

9. Have lots of zip-lock bags handy. When you are unsure where something belongs (is that a charger for an appliance that we still own?)  put it in a zip lock bag in the closet.  If you decide you need it, you can find it easily during your search though the closet.  If you keep seeing it in the closet, you’ll realize you don’t need it, and trash it.
Reward: No more clutter taking your space and time throughout the house.  In the past, I used to have a pile in a corner of each room consisting of things that didn’t belong anywhere.  Now, that’s history!

10. Prepare a master grocery list that corresponds to the aisles of your local supermarket. (Or ask an organized friend in your neighborhood to email hers to you!  Or, put up a notice that you’re looking for this type of list on your grocery’s bulletin board- that is how I found mine!)  Keep copies on the fridge, and circle the items you need for your next shopping expedition.  Prepare menus for the week on the reverse side, so that everything you need to buy is on one sheet of paper.
Reward: No more last-minute trips to the grocery for things you forgot, and no need to sit and write out a shopping list each week!

11. Create a standard system for storing and remembering your passwords,
so that you need not spend time requesting new passwords or digging through old emails or post-it notes each time you visit the site!  My system looks something like this:  The site’s first and last letter, my hometown and childhood phone number, the sites last and first letter.  (Security experts advise changing passwords every 6 months and not using the same one for each site.  In 6 months, instead of my hometown and phone number, I’ll use my college town and zip code, still using the site’s first and last letters.)
Reward: No more wasted time requesting and renewing passwords as you log into your favorite sites.  This technique is especially useful when you switch computers!

12. Buy a timer on a chord to wear like a necklace when doing chores.
You’ll hear the ding no matter where you are!  Allow yourself 10 or 30 minutes to clean each room, and move on when you hear the ring- even if you’re not yet 100% done!  This will encourage you to move faster, avoid getting lost in tiny details.
Reward: More focus means more is accomplished!  That means more leisure time for you!

Find hundreds of more time-saving tips in the new book, Creating Hours:  Time Management Tips and Tricks for Busy Parents!

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