We’re all short of time, aren’t we? I lose count of how many times each day I panic that I don’t have enough time to do something. I’ve been compiling this list of time saving hacks for busy mums and dads that will help maximise the time you do have.
All the chores and boring bits of parenthood can make our quality family time-limited. So, here are a few ways we can try and change that and make more time for the fun stuff!
I’m not promising these tips/hacks are going to make you fall off your chair in amazement – but there might be a couple of gems for you for how to make life easier.
Time Saving Tips for Mums and Dads:
1. Meal Plan
Planning your family meals for the full week ahead means you’re not scrambling at dinner time each day. You’ll likely end up making healthier choices, waste less food that gets lost in the fridge and save money by not resorting to fast food options.
I’ve started using this meal planner to plan out all of our weekly meals. I also can create a shopping list at the same time as I’m planning so I know exactly what I need. No more last-minute trips to the supermarket saves so much time!
2. Double Up
While we’re on the subject of meal planning and prepping – try to prep ahead. When you’re cooking dinner one night, could you use the leftovers for dinner the following night?
Bolognese can be whipped into Chilli in minutes. A cooked chicken can be used for Stir Fry, Curries, Salads and so much more.
While you’re chopping vegetables, can you chop the next night’s allocation at the same time?
3. Freeze ahead
From batch booked dinners to the kids’ school lunch sandwiches – freeze a big batch ahead to save time each day!
We love to freeze leftovers too so always have a meal when we have no time to cook dinner.
4. Chop ahead!
From fruits and veggies to single-serve portions, if you’re spending time preparing ingredients for one meal, see if you can do it for the whole week ahead.
5. Have a ‘go-to” dinners list
Have a list of your families favourite meals that are easy and quick to cook – especially ones that have ingredients in the pantry or freezer.
When you’re short of time, you can use this list for quick inspo, as well as use it to create a meal plan and shopping list for the following week.
6. Shop online
Forget spending hours strolling up and down the aisles and getting stuck in queues! Shop online for groceries (use this grocery shopping list) and save time and money by only ordering what you need quickly, delivered to your door.
7. Set up ‘favourites lists’
When you’re shopping for groceries online, set up a list of your most-purchased favourite items so next time you shop, you can pick directly from this list to save time.
8. Create an ongoing shopping list
Get a To-Do list with a magnet and stick it to your fridge – or another prominent place that’s central in the house. When you spot yourself running low on something, add it to the list throughout the week to make shopping quicker – and so you don’t forget anything!
9. Click and collect
If you want to collect your online shopping in person, or if the delivery charges are extortionate, click and collect! Save time by still shopping online but save money on postage.
10. Forward plan – and pack!
Does packing the school bags or making lunches in the morning stress you out? Pack what you can the night before. Then in the morning, simply pop in anything from the fridge and you’ll be out the door in no time.
11. Back up the bin bags
Before you put a new bin bag in your rubbish bin, chuck in some spares to the bottom. Next time you need to change the bin bag, a new one is within easy reach. Might save you a few seconds at least!
12. Recycle – but not everything
If you have kids at school or those that love to craft, keep a box in the garage with a few recyclable things for future use. Perhaps a few clean bottles or cereal packets might come in handy next time they’re creating a masterpiece!
13. But declutter everything else!
A tidy home means a tidy mind – but it also saves you time! With less clutter to work through, you’ll find it easy to find things and put things away when everything has its allocated home.
14. Tidy on-the-go
Never leave a room empty-handed! When you’re moving from room to room, see what you can pick up to take with you. You’ll keep on top of the tidying much easier if you do it as you go.
15. Sort the Toys
Find a toy storage system that is tidy but also easy for your kids to master – that way, from a young age they can be responsible for putting away their own toys. (I know, I know, with some coaxing).
We have a drawer unit in the lounge where different toys go in each drawer and a big box to store all legos. They’re easy for the kids to open and close for getting toys out and packing away.
16. Get the Kids to Help
On the subject of getting the kids to lend a hand, why not get them to help set the table, empty the dishwasher or sort the laundry. Depending on their age, they might be able to help out with these.
17. And with the laundry!
This deserves it’s own point! Get the kids to turn their clothes around the right way before putting in the laundry basket – to save you time when you’re hanging it out to dry as you won’t need to turn it round when it’s soaking wet. #petpeeve
18. Set up a donation box
Have a bucket or box in the house to chuck in old clothes, textiles, books and more that you can donate to charity. Then, every few months, take it along to your local donation place.
19. Help out the Kids
When your kids are old enough to help themselves to drinks or snacks, make it easier for them. It will save you time having to fetch and carry every two minutes.
We have bottles and snacks in a cupboard they can reach – with nothing potentially hazardous in there. It means they can help themselves safely.
20. Plan the Kids Outfits
My daughter particularly can take ages to get ready in the morning – now she’s in a school uniform it’s a little better! She would go back and forth for ages on what to wear.
I started having a couple of different outfit options for her to choose from hung outside of her wardrobe to lessen the choice. She still felt in control and the (very serious) outfit selection process reduced in time and stress quickly.
21. Reduce Laundry Time
How many loads of laundry do you do a week? One a day? It’s never-ending! Here are some laundry tips for kids.
One thing that frustrates me is how much longer it takes when all of the clothes are turned inside out. Teach your kids to turn them the right way, before they throw them in the laundry basket. It’s one of my best laundry hacks that makes a big difference to my time.
22. Find a planner that’s perfect for you
Using a planner – whether it’s a paper or online one – will transform your life when it comes to being organised and saving time. You can find the best planner for you here.
23. Set up a planning routine
Now you have your planner, make sure you use it! Find the right place to keep it and time to use it. For inspo, this is how I plan my week.
24. Learn to habit stack
James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits” inspired me to start habit stacking. Essentially, it’s adding a new habit you want to do more of to a chain of habits that is already working well for you.
This is great for saving time! E.g. if you’re great at packing the dishwasher each night before bed, perhaps you could add to that habit chain to get out your breakfast bowl, mug and utensils ready for the following morning.
25. Automate bill paying
Most bills can be automated now with monthly payments and direct debits. Set them up at times that work for your budget and save time in paying them manually or individually.
26. Blitz the Life Admin
On the subject of bills, set aside one day a month, or even one hour a month, to work through all outstanding admin or appointments that need to be done.
27. Greet ahead!
If you’re always racing to the shops to buy birthday cards throughout the year, consider buying them all in bulk in January and keeping them in a place you won’t forget about them! If you’re feeling flush, you could pick up some spare cards for emergencies too.
28. Save the cents
Unexpected school trips, lunch orders and gold coin day can catch you unawares. Keep a little ‘piggy bank’ in the kitchen for your leftover change so you can dip into it in emergencies.
29. Carpool to school
If possible, share the drop-offs and pickups with others – not always doable but if car seats are available, it’s a great way to swap favours and save some time.
30. Be Prepared for Car Journeys
Sometimes a long car journey, or having nothing planned at the destination, can make little kids lose the plot. Put together a quick “busy bag” of some of their toys and activities to keep them busy on car journeys, at stops along the way and at the destination. It will save you time having to frantically find ways to entertain them otherwise.
31. Clean before you Clean
This is just a tip for in the shower really – but it’s worth having a squeegee in the shower to give it a quick wipe down after each one. Less of the scum will stick (noice) so your big clean will be easier and quicker to do.
32. Another boring Cleaning Tip
I’m tidy but I hate cleaning, so it feels weird for me to dish out “cleaning tips”. Anyway, here’s another one!
When I’m on the phone, I try and do something productive at the same time – like general tidying up stuff. Yes, it isn’t particularly mindful but it gets the job done.
33. Oh and another Cleaning Tip
I’m on a roll! When you’re going from room to room, take something with you that needs to go there too. E.g. folded clothes from the laundry to the bedroom. Kids’ toys from the hallway to the lounge. You don’t need me to spell this out.
34. Don’t be too Social
Social media is a RABBIT HOLE – one minute you’re sending someone a quick Happy Birthday message and before you know it an hour has gone by and you’ve just taken a quiz about which Game of Thrones character you should marry.
If, like me, you lack in discipline then set yourself a timer before you open up your social media account. As soon as that alarm sounds, log off and get back to what you’re supposed to be doing.
Speaking of rabbit holes – see what emails you can unsubscribe from throughout the week too. Save time opening – or just deleting – ones that don’t interest you any longer but unsubscribing from them. Not mine though, ok? :)
36. Cut down on washing your hair time
Dry shampoo is a busy mum’s best friend – embrace that stuff! Wash your hair less to lessen the amount of time getting ready in the morning. Microfibre towels are also brilliant for reducing drying time so you can wash-and-go quicker – one of my all-time fave time saving products.
37. Get help
If your budget permits it, consider help with some of the tasks you don’t like or don’t have time for.
38. Start saying no
Whether it’s at work or at home, you probably don’t need to agree to every request that’s made of you. Before you say yes, consider the impact that will have on your time and stress levels.
39. Stop multitasking (sometimes)
Multi-tasking is all well and good for us juggling mums, but sometimes it’s better to take a more considered approach to getting tasks done. Is it better to complete the task you’ve started or leave multiple tasks unfinished? The latter is a risk for multi-taskers.
40. Get enough sleep
How can getting more sleep save you time? Well, when we’re well-rested, we’re more productive!
41. Ditch perfection
Aiming for perfection can be stressful, time-consuming and totally unnecessary. Sometimes (most of the time!), ‘done’ is better than ‘perfect’.
Also let me know if this kind of post is helpful for you – I definitely have more parenting hacks and time management tips for moms to share if so!
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Calling all busy moms – get your life, home and family organized with these printable planners, trackers and templates! Collate them into one bundle or pick and choose which you use.
This packed bundle has 25 printable planners, trackers and planning templates including:
★ Daily Planner
★ Hourly Planner
★ Weekly Planner
★ Monthly Planner
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★ Daily Habit Tracker
★ Monthly Habit Tracker
★ Monthly Checklist
★ Daily Routines Tracker
★ Action Plan
★ Gratitude List
★ Debt Tracker
★ Household Budget Planner
★ Birthday List
★ Reading List
★ Weekly Meal Planner
★ Recipes List
★ Chores List
★ Weekly Cleaning Schedule
★ Home Projects Tracker
★ Appointment Tracker
★ Upcoming Events
★ To Do List
★ Notes Page
★ Front cover
★ Name page
- Get a FREE Meal Planning Starter Kit here!
- Why Mums Need a Time Blocking Schedule + FREE Hourly Planner
- Be an Organised Mum and get stuff done!
- Are you Disorganised or Doing Too Much?
- Self-Care Activities For Busy Mums When You Only Have 5 Minutes!
- What is the Best Day of the Week to Plan + Free Weekly Planner
- Free Weekly Meal Planner and Shopping List!
Do you have any time saving hacks for busy mums/dads or easy life hacks that you swear by?
I would also your suggestions for great time or money saving blogs for moms!
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Originally published on Feb 15th 2018 and updated on Dec 16th 2019.
Do you have any time saving hacks for busy mums to share? Let me know if you try any of my time saving tips for mothers and working moms!