Work has gotten a lot busier for me recently, so I’ve had to turn up the level of organisation at home. Along with the level of organisation, the levels of craziness kind of increase too.
There used to be extra non-work days during the week to run errands and generally get stuff done, as well as being able to spend extra time with our toddler, leaving the weekend for family time and trying to relax a bit before the madness of the next week starts. Not any more.
My one “free” day during the week is spent grabbing those bits from the grocery store I need – we somehow run out of bananas for the boys before I go food shopping again. You’d think three kilos of bananas would be enough to see us through, right? I try to fit in a bit of writing time for me to keep me sane. Maybe a gloriously long walk with the toddler in his pram. But that’s about it. The day is gone before I know it and we’re back to running around like headless chooks.
So to find the extra time to get this stuff done, I need to streamline other tasks to save myself a half hour here and there. To reduce the amount of frazzleness (yep, I’m saying that’s a word), and reduce the stress. There will always be the same amount of things to juggle, its just about how to juggle them all, without everything coming crashing down on your head and not getting stressed about it.
Ok, I’ll be honest. Sometimes I still occasionally drop one, or even three balls, I’m human after all, but it is less likely that they will all come tumbling down if I follow these tips.
Here are some of my tips of how I make things easier.
Meal plan, like a boss.
Write out all the dinners for the week. I go through the freezer, fridge and pantry and see what stuff I have and what I need to buy. Makes writing your shopping list easier too. This way, I know what I need to have prepared ahead of time and saves walking in the door from work and realising I haven’t taken out any meat to defrost and I forgot to buy sweet potato… Occasionally the meal plan works against me, as our seven year old has a whole week to tell me he isn’t going to eat the meal I’m planning on cooking on Thursday night. I then tell him that he has a whole week to prepare himself to not eat dinner that night!
Cook extra. If you’re going to cook a curry, double the amount you would originally cook. Put the spare portion in the fridge or freezer for another night. Cook once, clean up once, enjoy a night off from cooking
Get your groceries home delivered. This is a massive time saver. For the sake of about $8 for it all to be delivered to my front door, I save about two hours, and my sanity. Instead of battling in the car park for a spot, racing through the store with the toddler in the trolley and trying to stop him from grabbing the glass jars off the shelves, and getting home before nap time, the delivery guy brings all the groceries to the front door. I just need to remember to order more bananas!
I want to avoid this!
Switch on the dishwasher after dinner, and unstack it before you go to bed. Saves having to unstack it in the morning to fit the breakfast dishes in, or leave the breakfast dishes on the bench to come home to after work. Personally, I hate walking in to the kitchen in the morning when I’m already running around like a headless chook, and seeing dishes and mess that needs to be cleaned up before I can do anything else. I also don’t want to have to face it when I walk in the door at witching hour…
Don’t let the laundry pile get too big. Unless you want to spend what feels like an entire day loading and unloading the washing machine and kiss goodbye a precious day on your weekend, get some washing done during the week.
Chuck a load of washing on before you go to work, hang the clothes out when you get home. I’d prefer to get the washing hung out straight away, but our front loader takes two hours for a regular load. I’m not getting up at 5am to put on a load of washing in order to be able to hang it out before I leave for work in the morning. I’ve got more pressing priorities, like coffee.
Use a calender or diary. Whether its a calendar on your phone, or one on the wall, use it! That way you can see what appointments have been booked, when bills are due, when the school excursion is. Plus, you’ve freed up a bit of valuable space in your brain to use for something else. Like trying to figure out what the next plot twist could be in How to Get Away With Murder. I figure I have enough to try and remember as it is, and my memory isn’t as good as what it was pre-kids, why make things harder if I can avoid it?
Pack bags the night before. If you have to get kids’ bags packed for school / childcare, have them packed before you go to bed. Its just one less thing to be rushing to try and get done in the morning. Some people also prefer to pack lunch boxes the night before.
Lay out clothes the night before. Have the kids’ school uniforms or outfits for childcare already selected and out. Have your clothes for work laid out, along with accessories. I have an over-the-door hook that I hang my work clothes on so they don’t get kicked off the end of the bed in the middle of the night.
Lastly, try and schedule in some time for you. Easier said than done, I know. Whether it is a half hour after the kids have been bathed so you can go for a walk; taking time for a proper lunch break at work, instead of just inhaling a sandwich at your desk and working through; getting on board with the colouring book movement, or having a long bath. Whatever makes you feel relaxed, rejuvenated, more like ‘you’.
I hope some of these tips help make things a bit easier for you.
What are some other tips that make things easier for you and your family?
Make sure you’re following Life, kids and a glass of red on Facebook for extra giggles and snippets of silliness!