Like most moms, I feel like there is never enough time in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Over the past year, I took a closer look at my family’s schedule to see where I could make up some of that time, or at least use it better. While I wish I could say I have it all figured out, I don’t. But I did come up with a few of my favorite time-saving tips for moms on the go.
Time-Saving Tip #1: Nightly Photo Edit
As a twenty-first century mom, I use my iPhone to take a lot of photos of my kids. I know I’m not alone in this. And as any good parent knows, you have to take at least 12 photos to get one decent photo of your child. But what do you do with the other 11? For a long time, I just let those photos pile up. Then, when I needed to find a picture, I was stuck sifting through a huge number of worthless photos to find the one that I actually needed. But not anymore!
Now, I sit down each night after I put my kids to bed and perform a nightly photo edit of my photo roll. I open the photo app on my phone, and scroll through the pictures I took that day, keeping only the ones I need and deleting the ones I don’t. In addition to being a huge time-saver later, it gives me a chance to reflect on the day and be grateful for the memories we made.
Time-Saving Tip #2: Meal Plan with Leftovers in Mind
As the primary cook for a family of five with multiple extracurricular activities, meal planning with leftovers in mind has been a game-changer. Every Sunday, I sit down with our calendar and I meal plan for the week before placing my online grocery pick-up order. Thanks to this tip, I now only plan for three or four nights that I have to make a complete meal. The other nights have a leftover component, which makes meal prep on those days a breeze!
Whether it’s our favorite Instant Pot Black Bean Soup turned into refried beans for tostadas, brisket that later becomes a topping for delicious nachos or baked potatoes, or grilled chicken that finishes a salad, it’s not difficult to reimagine some of your dinner proteins for another meal.
Time-Saving Tip #3: Shared Shopping List with Spouse/Partner
I have to credit my husband with this time-saving hack. About a year ago, he created a shared note with me in his iPhone to make a grocery list. And honestly, at first, I rolled my eyes. It felt like he just wanted me to type out the list of items I had just asked him to pick up from the store. Was this really necessary? But I quickly realized that a shared list does make life much easier, and saves us multiple trips to the store, and thus time.
We keep this note updated throughout the week with any items we might need. We are each notified of the updates, and whoever is at the store can pick up the items without making a special trip after the fact.
Time-Saving Tip #4: Clean-as-You-Go Cooking
This is another tip that took me a bit to warm up to. I love cooking, and I wanted to enjoy the process and not worry with the mess until I was done. But, alas, motherhood shifted that. As I started juggling dinner prep and dishes with kids’ bath time and bedtime, I found myself in the kitchen later and later, and I quickly realized something had to change.
Now, I find pockets of time during my cooking process to clean up and clear the sink as I go. Rather than just watching and waiting for meat to cook or water to boil, I sneak in a few dishes. It’s actually become a bit of a personal challenge. How much can I get done before I need to flip the burgers or pork chops?
I’ve found that if I leave the sink clear or mostly clear before I sit down to eat, I’m able to relax and better enjoy dinner with my family. It also drastically cuts down on my clean-up time after the meal, meaning I’m more present for our bedtime routines.
Sometimes saving time looks like doing something different, sometimes it just looks like using your time differently. These time-saving tips have helped me gain a bit more margin in my day-to-day life, and I hope they can do the same for you.