As we are about to approach one of 3 holidays in the next 3 months, I thought it might be good to share these time management tips that have blessed my life. I originally published this post back when I first started my blog, but decided to republish it today in hopes that it helps some of you (including myself) have less stress for the last 3 months of the year. Here's the original post:
I've been looking for ways to organize my life better, and attended several classes on time management at the local University a couple weeks ago. Here are some of the highlights that I loved:
For motivation, first visualize all the things you would do if you had an extra hour or more a day. Keep those in mind as you eliminate those things that aren't necesarry.
At home with the kids? Instantly access any of these printable activity bundles to keep them learning!
1. If you're going to waste time, do it at the end of the day rather than the beginning. Save Pinterest, Facebook, T.V., blogging, and any other distractions for after you get the important things done (I know, I know….Pinterest is important…But remember how you were only going to look up a recipe?). Let it be your prize at the end of the day for all your hard work.
2. If you have to do it again, create a routine. I too wish that laundry could just stop existing in my life, but let's face it…naked isn't an option. Laundry, household chores, vactions, and many many other things will continue to exist in our life…so create a routine for each of them. For example, I will wash my whites every Tuesday, I will wash my darks every Wednesday, I will wash my sheets every other Friday, etc. Chances are you will go out of town more than once in your lifetime, so make a packing list and refer to it each time you pack so that you never forget something again. Attend a lot of weddings? What is your routine once the announcement arrives in the mail? Do you immediately put the date on your calendar or do you put the pretty picture on your fridge and then 5 days after the wedding has past try to come up with the perfect excuse for why you forgot (hmm..this one's a little too familiar)?
3. Have daily planning sheets and fill them out the night before. Start each day with a plan. Same goes with weekly and monthly planning.
4. Always Buy 2 and never go to the grocery store more than once a week. If you can't buy a year's supply of all you need, at least buy backups for everything. Never just buy one. This will not only save you hours and hours, it will save you many frantic trips to the store. Best case scenario is you buy in bulk and only buy household items once a year, but if you can't do that, at least buy two! Once your first one runs out, put it on the list to get during your next scheduled shopping trip.
*side note: Our budget doesn't currently allow for me to by everything for our home in bulk so I do one item every shopping trip. For example, last week kitchen garbage bags were on sale so I bought enough for a year. That means I don't have to buy them again for quite awhile. Next week I will be stocking up on toilet paper for a year. I allow a small amount of my grocery budget for buying one item in bulk every shopping trip.
5. Buy gifts ahead of time. Have an area in your house designated for gifts of different categories (birthday, thank you, small child, baby shower, etc.) This will save you lots of time when you have a last minute party to attend and you don't have to run to the store to get it. Also buy greeting cards in bulk. Why spend 15 minutes trying to choose between your favorite Father's Day cards? Buy all ten and you don't have to buy another one for 10 years.
6. Cook and Bake in Bulk. Making cookies? Double or triple the batch. Put extras in the freezer for those times you need to run something over to a neighbor or say thank you to someone. Making tacos? Make extra and freeze half of the meat so that next week (or two weeks from now) all you have to do is thaw.
7. Create a Master Menu. Find 30 different meals that your family loves and assign them a day. If you repeat this menu you will always know what you're having for dinner, you will always know what you need to buy at the grocery store and if you never deviate fromm your master menu (which you will) you will only have had that meal 12 times in a year at most! If that is too boring for you, create two master menus and switch off month-to-month (you will only have that meal 6 times in a year). Of course you will switch things up every now and then for holidays and special guests, but this way you will always know what you're having for dinner.
8. Purge items from your home at least every three months. If we don't have clutter, we aren't wasting time organizing it again, and again, and again. Most of us could get rid of 50% of what we own and not even miss it. Holding on to that Yoga instructional video just in case you want to learn Yoga one day? Chuck it. First because no one uses VHS anymore, and second, because chances are if you haven't desired to use it in the 3 years you have been storing it, you never will. A good rule of thumb: If it's been a year and seen no use, get rid of it (exceptions of course would be taxes, journals and important documents).
9. Take care of small things before they take care of you. Yes, mail can be a daunting task but it is much easier to sort through it the moment you check the mail, rather than 3 months later when you no longer have any counter space left. Yes, sorting and folding laundry totally and completely sucks, but not as much as running out of clean underwear because you can't tell clean from dirty in the Mount Everest of clothing you have built up in your laundry room. From now on, fold all your laundry while it's warm. Make it a game not to fold one piece of laundry long after it has dried. If you need to carry a timer around your neck to accomplish this, DO IT.
10. Eliminate and delegate. Eliminate silly tasks from your life. Yes, it would look super awesome if you took a veggie tray to the party that was in the shape of a turkey, a Christmas tree, or a flower garden (are you serious?), but only if you want anyone who actually eats it to feel full on shame and guilt for ruining such a masterpiece. I'm all about having fun in the kitchen and creating a visual appeal to my dishes, but if your kid's sandwiches look like this, you might just be trying too hard. Remember: It's okay to take store-bought cookies to a potluck every now and then.
Delegate tasks to other family members. Have your children prepare a meal every now and then, let your husband take a stab at the dishes, and if now is a bad time don't be afraid to tell the neighbors that now is a bad time.
Here are a few more great reminders: