Helpful Tips for the Busy Family

Has the new year got you in a tailspin? Second half of the school year can be stressful and completely zap you. Here’s some tips I found that might be helpful for you. If you’d like to add to this list just email me and we’ll compile our own motherlode list. Hope you’re having a great start to 2011!  jflores@mlode.com

1)      Create a messenger center on the refrigerator.

Post messages for the family on the refrigerator. That way everyone knows where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing. There is nothing like missing the dentist appointment a soccer game. The message center can be made using pieces of paper and magnets or you can take a step up and use corkboard next to the refrigerator. This can save you five minutes or more a day.

2) Create your grocery shopping list arranged by grocery store aisles.

Instead of walking around the grocery store like a chicken with your head cut off, arrange your shopping list according to the aisles in the store. When you get there, you will be able to get everything you need aisle by aisle. This should save you at least 10 minutes depending on how much time you spend walking around the store looking for something. TIP: if you aren’t sure where things are located, pick up a store directory from customer service next time you are there and use it to organize your shopping list.

3) Create a central place in the house for car/house keys, gloves purses, and briefcases.

When it is time to go in the morning, you will know where everything is at and you won’t spend time looking for the items you need most. This saves you at least 5 mintues.

4) When opening your incoming e-mail, apply The FAT System™ (File-Act-Toss).

When you are finished, you can toss and shred what you don’t need, file what you do need, and act on the rest. Organization is the key to time saving!

5) Layout clothing and accessories the night before.

When you and your family wake up the next morning, your clothes will be all ready for you. This will save you upwards of 10 minutes a day.

6) Pack lunches the night before. Depending on the number of children you have, this saves you upwards of 5 mintues.

7) Limit the amount of time you spend on non essential phone calls.

Use a time or watch the clock and give yourself a set time limit. Time will pass by quickly when you are chatting it up on the telephone. Politely say you need to go and take care of other business.

8) Say No!! It is easy to always say yes and want to help everybody, but let’s be honest.

You can’t do that! Don’t be afraid to say no and pass up helping someone if you really can’t. Ways to say NO without saying NO: “I’ll have to check my schedule” (Be sure not to bring your calendar if you use this one) “I’ll get back to you after I confer with …” “I’d be happy to if someone will take _____ off my plate so I can have time to work on this project.”

9) Delegate responsibilities to other members of the family.

As soon as the children are old enough to help, delegate some of the family tasks to them and let them help out. Have your husband or significant other help with the dishes or whatever chore may be too much for you to handle.

10) Take time for yourself.

The only way you will be able to run a successful household is if you take some time for yourself. Find a place in the house that is all yours and do breathing exercises, read a book, or just clear your mind. You will feel better and be able to do more for your family.

Extra Time Savers for you:

– Layer Activities – Read or talk on the phone while you exercise.
– Let go – don¹t be perfect. Do things just enough.
– Stock up – with a well stocked pantry and school supply drawer, last minute runs to the store will be eliminated.
– Limit interruptions – Ha ha. Well you can try. Kids need moms. But moms need a moment to themselves. Lock a door, hire a sitter, do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

– Use computers for routine, repeating lists: Grocery, Christmas Gifts, Baby-sitter Info, directions.
– Use a computer to store information that is constantly updating: Address/Phone, Passwords, Family Information, etc.
– Systemize shopping – keep coupons and list in the order of the store aisles.
– Record your favorite TV shows and watch without commercials.
– Eliminate clutter. It takes an incredible amount of time to clean it, move it around, decide where to store it, etc.
– Use checklists to keep from forgetting things at the door.
– Use your answering machine to screen calls.
– Leave time for traffic, changing diapers at the last minute, etc.

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