Last week I went to Atlanta and met up with 11 other bloggers, where we talked about the challenges we faced as bloggers, as women and as moms. In many ways we are so different: we come from all different parts of the country, we have different jobs, different family situations, different interests, different priorities. However, the single biggest common challenge we all faced was the lack of time. This must be a universal need, especially for busy moms! I don't think I could find a mom out there who couldn't use some extra time.
Since you can't get more than 24 hours out of the day, it's up to us moms to share each other's tips and tricks for making the most of the time we've got. Here are my ten time-saving tips and techniques to make life as a busy mom a little bit easier:
1) Get a good night's sleep. This might sound counterintuitive -- why waste your time sleeping when you could be getting things done? -- but if you're tired, groggy and cranky, you're not as productive. You don't make good decisions. You can't plan your day properly. Take care of yourself so you can be the most productive mom you can be!
2) Shop for groceries and clothes online. I love the internet! They've brought home delivery back into our daily lives, so we don't have to spend as much time driving to and from stores.
3) If you must do your shopping in actual stores, DO NOT shop on a weekend. That's when stores are the most crowded, and you'll spend way too much time waiting in line. I'd rather do grocery shopping at 9:00 PM on a weekday anytime!
4) Get your children into the habit of doing things for themselves. I can't tell you how much easier my life became once my children learned how to dress themselves and get their own breakfasts. My husband was somewhat aghast that they were picking out their own clothing and pouring out their cereal at the tender young age of 5 (hey, it's not that young!!), but it gave me more time to prepare and pack lunches for 4 people for the day. It might take a little extra time in the beginning, but it's worth it.
5) Make double portions of every meal, and freeze the extra portions so you have a ready-to-eat meal for later in the week.
6) Take advantage of pre-chopped, pre-washed produce -- you'll save time preparing onions, carrots, celery, lettuce, etc... and save time washing up!
7) Make one-pot meals, so you don't have to waste time washing all those extra pots and pans.
8) Create a to-do list.
9) Consolidate your car errands.
10) Take advantage of your smartphone -- there are so many apps nowadays that can help make your life easier. You can search for cheap gasoline, download coupons, even make payments straight from your phone! Busy moms will really appreciate one of the latest and greatest of these apps: the Starbucks Card Mobile App, which allows you to check your Starbucks Rewards balance, find Starbucks locations, reload your Starbucks cards and pay for your Starbucks purchases. This new app makes morning coffee runs even more convenient, giving you more time to get on with your busy day! The new app is available for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and iPod Touch.
Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.