I know back-to-school season can be a busy time of year for most parents. Over the years, I’ve learned that if I’m not protective of my time, I wind up burned out and regretting whatever activity or thing I said yes to. Now that my oldest has moved out of the home, I know that our time together as a family is extremely limited so I’m even more protective of what I allow to chip away at my time.
I also know that having routines in place has helped me get through the busy seasons. So today I’m sharing some of my go-to time-saving tips that have allowed me to reclaim my time and focus on what truly matters.
Simplify your routine
I know it’s easy to feel like we have to keep up with the super organized moms that color code their calendars like it’s their business. I envy them. But I also know that I wasn’t gifted with that skill.
So instead of creating more work for yourself by trying to manage home binders, calendars, menu plans, etc., narrow it down to the things that are important to you and that will truly help make your life easier. For me, meal planning and keeping up with my laundry routine is a must.
Everything else gets spread out throughout the week. These are my non-negotiables. As long as laundry is handled and dinner is made, I feel somewhat sane.
So I just told you to simplify, but now I’m telling you to plan meals? Yes, I am. But trust me, it will be worth it. How you plan your meals will depend on your family’s needs, budget and how much time you have available.
During the summer season, when things are a bit more relaxed in our home, I rotate a few of our favorite meals. When things get busier, I plan more carefully and try to stick with simple meals. If you own a crockpot, this is the time to start using it. Putting dinner together first thing in the morning will alleviate a ton of stress when dinner time rolls around.
If your child is already involved in a fall sport or activity, don’t add more to their plate or yours. In our home, we only allow the kids to take on one activity at a time. I want my kids to enjoy their childhood and not grow up thinking that being busy is the norm.
I also don’t volunteer or take on more work than necessary during my children’s sports season. Another rule we have is limited family outings. I enjoy getting out and exploring with my family, but when life gets busy we keep it low key. That means we say no to a lot of invitations and don’t fill up our schedule.
During our busy seasons, we try to juggle it all in hopes that we will survive long enough before burning out. We fall into a vicious cycle that consists of going into survival mode with a short break in-between.
But what we fail to do when things get chaotic, is accept help from others. I know it’s not easy, and sometimes it feels easier to simply do it yourself. Personally, my biggest hurdle was my need to control ALL the things. I felt like I had to do it all, plus I had an issue with wanting things to be done my way.
I found myself getting upset and frustrated with my family when they didn’t help out, yet they had no way of knowing that I wanted help because I wasn’t giving them the opportunity to help. Now I allow my kids to help out with the household chores and my husband cooks (more than I do!) plus helps out wherever I need him to chip in.
If your kids are too small to help, don’t be afraid to allow extended family members to help you. Even friends can help alleviate the burden by providing car rides or childcare. Giving up a small task can make a huge difference.
What are your favorite time-saving tips? Sharing is caring. 😉