5 time management tips that work for me

It’s my own fault. Being a stay at home mum wasn’t necessarily on my list of things to achieve in life so as a result, I tend to go out looking for things to do to make my days slightly more taxing to the brain. I knew this would happen. It always does and I never learn. All of a sudden I have a list of out of the home commitments and obligations with real deadlines that I have to meet. In addition to keeping us and the house, all clean, watered and fed.

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I’ve had to work really hard to keep everything going smoothly and efficiently but I’ve just got myself to the point where I feel kind of on top of things (for today) and that’s because I think I’ve worked out how to hack my life to get 27 hours out of the 24 that the sun allows us each day.

Here are my top tips and they don’t include meal planning or the shower moisturiser that Amy blogged about yesterday but you should add those too!

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.59.07 PMWrite everything down. I work with a daily to-do list, weekly to-do list, monthly blog planner and family calendar. Lots of people swear by apps or syncing iphones with ipads with laptops blah blah. They always seem to break for me so I use the old fashioned paper version. This has the added bonus that everyone of reading age in the house (James obvs) can see what we’re doing each day.

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Whenever I add anything to the calendar I work out what’s needed for that event. e.g. biscuits for a playdate, or tap and ballet shoes for dance and make sure I’m on top of that too.

Every Sunday evening I plan so I know what needs to be bought at the supermarket and I make up the bags for swimming/dance/playschool. I either throw them in the car then or keep them ready to go so in the mornings I just have to pick them up whilst willing Emmie to get herself out of the door.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.59.13 PMStart early and develop a routine. I’ve always been a morning person but still running on newborn-esque sleep patterns has really killed my AM mojo. I give myself an 8am deadline to get myself ready, all of us breakfasted and a quick read of the internet.

Then I work down. We have 4 floors in the house. Who chose it? Not me I can tell you. The children are dressed (outfits are planned the night before) and all beds are made. I give the bathroom a quick once over when we clean our teeth and pick up the washing for that day’s load. Lastly I do a quick clear up and clean of the kitchen and put the washing machine on. Shoes go on early in the morning so that we’re good to go as soon as I realise I’ve it’s 8:40am and we need to be in the car. Now.

If we’re not leaving the house then that’s the day that I give one of the floors a good vacuum/dust/tidy/sort. If it’s my bath time that night then I clean the sinks and loo again just for good measure.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.59.17 PMOrganise. I try to never go upstairs without something in my hand. I have baskets at the foot of both staircases to chuck stuff in during the day then I can pick them up as I make my ascent.

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Find a home for everything and put everything of the same nature in the same place. Life is so much easier now that I have a bag in the car with everyone’s scarves, hats and gloves. When we were living in a hotel the amount of time I spent looking for everyone else’s winter gear nigh on killed me.

My best thing is my hallway shelf with a tray for keys and phones, a jar for change and for pens. I’ve wasted about half of my life looking for a solitary pen or my keys (because someone else picked them up and didn’t put them back).

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Get a filing cabinet. I haven’t got one but this move has convinced me I need one. Living between the UK and US but in Germany means we have an extortionate amount of paperwork and important documents. I nearly had a heart attack last week when I couldn’t find the file housing all of our birth certificates. They were in a box somewhere else full of completely non-related things. Of course they were.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.59.22 PMEating. Double up on meals so that you can either have a week a month of eating from the freezer (thus saving a week’s worth of shopping ££££). Or if in the event of the dinner going well and truly wrong like mine did last night (falafel – bicarb not baking powder + chick peas = minging fizzy mush in the mouth) you can easily replace it in the time it takes to open the freezer and set the microwave timer.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.59.27 PMLastly prioritise and avoid multi-tasking. You know what I mean, when you walk into a room doing one thing, but leave it doing another. The key to organisation is knowing what’s a priority and what can wait. You and your family may disagree on what has to be done NOW but it gives you a starting point.

I really try not to waste nap times and my evenings on Facebook and the internet. Every morning I work out what work commitments need to be done that day and I’ve learnt to turn off FB/Instagram/Twitter/BBC News (who am I kidding? – the Daily Mail) in my precious alone time. It’s hard because I am well and truly addicted.

I hope one or two of these help you. I cannot profess to being an Organisational Queen but I’m trying and it’s sort of working this week.

Lucy

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