As every working from home parent knows, time is a scarce commodity more valuable than gold. Finding new ways to squeeze every second out of a typical day and get as much done honoring all your obligations can feel like a mountain too high to climb. Thankfully, we have put together this list of time-saving tips to help busy, working-from-home parents achieve just a bit more each day and feel less stressed doing it.
- Prepare the Night Ahead – Remember when you were little and your mom laid out your clothes the night before? This same practice can be a lifesaver when you are juggling working from home and taking care of the kids. Do as much as you can the night before. Get the kid's assignment ready (if possible), make lunches for the next day and even try showering in the evenings instead of morning. Anything you can do the night before shaves precious minutes off the morning bustle.
- Track Your Time – What are you doing each day? There are some great time-tracking mobile apps such as Tyme 2 where you can use timers to track your entire day’s worth of events. Try it for a full week to see where you can regain some free time. Perhaps you have a habit of reading the online news before work or checking FaceBook during lunch. You may find that freeing up these short bits of time and using them for other tasks can be the difference between having a stressful or non-stressful workday.
- Prioritize Your Time– Juggling family and working from home is hard enough, but when faced with an invitation to do something extra, it can quickly reach overload. Take a minute to determine whether or not it is worth your time and the stress. Does the lawn need to be raked or can it wait a week or so? Prioritize what is most important and cancel any extra tasks to help free up time and relax your schedule.
- Use Your Lunch Hour Wisely– This golden nugget of time is perfect for many tasks that are hard to accomplish at any other time of day. Use the internet to pay bills online or order products for home delivery. Just spending half of your lunch hour crossing things off your to-do list will ease the stress of the rest of your day. Use your lunch break efficiently every day and watch your whole week improve.
- Assign a Time Limit to Each Task and Stick to It – A fantastic way to manage time, especially if you never have enough of it, is to assign a time limit to each task and when the time is up, move onto the next item. Limiting your time may seem counter-productive, but it helps on a subconscious level. Your brain knows you only have a specific amount of time to complete your task and therefore works more efficiently to accomplish it on time. It also gives you a relief valve knowing that the job will end at a particular time, and you will reward yourself with a forced break.
- Double Up on Recipes for Lots of Leftovers (Easy Reheat) – When making dinner consider doubling the recipe, so you always have a quick reheat meal ready to go for those nights when the time is dwindling quickly. Don’t worry about being the perfect parent and serving up a freshly cooked meal every night; your sanity is worth more than your reputation, and the kids won’t care, especially if the double recipe you made was their favorite dish!
- Organize Everything– Keep everything in your home organized. There are dozens of great resources for keeping kids’ toys, clothes and office items in their proper place. Stick to routines and habits so that you don’t waste precious time hunting around for things. For example, always put your wallet or car keys in the same place every night when coming home. This way you will never lose them and frantically search when you need to be in the car. And if you always seem to misplace your wallet, you can get a wireless “wallet tracker” on Amazon for less than $20 that you can attach to your wallet, purse, remote or whatever you wish.
It can be stressful living with a backdrop of COVID-19, social distancing, a slowing economy, and all the rest. Every bit of timesaving helps ease our stress. These tips can add minutes or even hours to your busy week and help put a smile on your previously stressed face.