I am amazed by you! I see so many of you managing such busy lives so well. One of the areas that I coach women on is life balance. Which we all struggle more or less with at one time or another. It’s an area where life coaching can be a powerful tool, one that I have used coaching for myself. This mom thing is hard. You’ve seen those statistics about what the job that a mom does is worth. There are so many aspects to the job, so many pressures, and things to do both for our homes and our families.
I was reading a blog post this morning from Crystal Paine, the Money Saving Mom. In her post, she was listing the tools that she uses to help with her productivity. Her post inspired me to start that conversation here. One of the things I have seen emphasized on business blogs that I follow has been to “outsource” whatever I can to make life smooth and run well. Looking at what tasks, can be done by someone else, done a different way, or not done at all can be a revolutionary way to free up time for the things that are most important to us whether we are talking about work or home life. So here are some of the things that I have been using lately to free up time for other things.
Pinterest: I am sure some of you are saying, What?! For some, I know, Pinterest can be a big time suck. But to be honest, while I enjoy plenty of websites that quickly suck my time, Pinterest is not one of them. I go to Pinterest when I am on a mission because it makes me more productive as a mom. It offers personal testimonials and easily searchable blog posts, articles, etc. on so many topics that can then be filed easily in Pinterest for me to access whenever I want. For example, last week, we had a birthday party for my middle daughter. We weren’t sure what theme we wanted for the party or what to do for the cake. We found a theme with pictures, activity ideas, and cake ideas that other families had done before. We were able to use those ideas and adapt them to meet our needs and desires. And we saved so much time!
Smart Phone: I think I was one of the last people on the planet to get one of these. But now, I LOVE MY SMART PHONE. And it saves me so much time. No more printing off maps, car directions, coupons, groupons,…. And if we are out and about and want to add an extra errand. I can find the information on the web that I need for the best place to go or the list of what I need to buy from my email. I function so much more efficiently with it.
Evernote: This is a computer and smart phone app that I am trying to learn more about. I think as I learn more about it, I will love and use it even more. But for now, I have been using it for my menu planning and grocery shopping for each week. I have a note with my menu ideas and grocery lists in it. I put my Costco and grocery store lists in it. Then I go back to it each week and edit it when I am ready to make my menus and do my shopping for the week. It doesn’t take me long to edit the list and then I have it right with me in the grocery store without having to remember a paper list. For more information on other note taking apps check out this article.
Amazon: I do so much of my specialty item shopping on Amazon. A couple of years ago we invested in a Prime Membership. So now we have free two-day shipping when we buy Prime items and we have Amazon Prime television that we can watch too. Now, if I don’t know where to get something, or don’t have time to go to the store, I search for the item on Amazon. Often it is cheaper and will come faster then it would have if I had to make the time to go to the store. I used to spend lots of time searching multiple stores for a specific item. What’s the point?! I am sure I can get it on Amazon.
Grocery Pick-up/Delivery: This has been amazing for me in busy times or in times where I don’t want to have to drag all of my kids to the grocery store. I have used Walmart Grocery Pick-up, where I order and pay for my groceries online and then all I have to do is park in a special spot at the store and they will bring the groceries out to me and load my car. In my experience, both the ordering and pick up are faster than the list making and shopping. Other grocery options in Arizona are: Fry’s pick-up, Safeway delivery, and Amazon Pantry delivery. In other areas of the country there is: pick-up programs through: Harris Teeter and Kroger and grocery delivery programs: Amazon Fresh, Fresh Direct, Instacart, Peapod, and more.
Kiddo chores: This is where the real outsourcing begins. But seriously, as my girls get older, this gets to be a more and more valuable tool for them and for me. It is important to my husband and I that our three girls have chores that they do whether on their chart or spur of the moment that they have to do as part of being a member of our household. It takes persistence for me to remember to remind them to do them, but we make sure it happens about 4 times a week. And now with summer we are doing even more, so they each have an extra chore. There is so much they can help with. It is so valuable to me, saves me time, and makes we feel mentally better too, when I feel like it is not all up to me.
Husband help: Sometimes I wonder at myself, even after 14 years of marriage, I want my husband to read my mind about what I need and when I need help. But I think I am finally catching on. When I need his help, I ask him to help with a specific task and sometimes a specific time frame. He is a busy guy but often very happy to help me out when he knows specifically what I need.
So what resources do you use to make your life run more smoothly and to free up your time for other things? Or what could you implement?