Parents are superstars, but we all know being a parent is hard. From the moment you wake up until you finally fall back in bed at the end of the day, every second is jam-packed with errands, work, taking the kids to practice, household chores and the million other things on your to-do list. It always feels like there just isn’t enough time to get everything done when you have kids. Let’s face it — does any mom or dad really have time to prepare separate meals to suit each kid’s preferences or spend 20 minutes searching for matching socks? We don’t think so.
While you can’t add more hours to your day so you can get everything done, there are lots of life hacks to help you develop better time management skills and squeeze the most out of every precious second. Check out these life hacks for busy parents to discover a few easy ways to boost productivity and make every day go a bit more smoothly.
Simplify Your Laundry Process
Do you feel like you’re always buried under mountains of clothes that need to be washed, folded and put away? Are you concerned about the environmental impact of washing and drying several loads of laundry every week? Do you get tired of having to carry heavy bottles of detergent inside every time you go shopping? If any of these questions made you nod your head in agreement, consider switching to eco-friendly laundry products. In doing so, you’ll make the entire process easier and lower your carbon footprint.
Ditch your old liquid or powder laundry detergent and swap them for laundry detergent sheets. They’re completely dry and come in lightweight cardboard packaging, so they are more manageable than those huge plastic jugs of detergent. They take up less space in your laundry room, too. They dissolve quickly in water and provide powerful cleaning without any parabens, phthalates, phosphates or even bleach, making them a more sustainable laundry detergent option. Plus, you don’t need to worry about measuring. And since they’re hypoallergenic, they eliminate the need to use different detergents for family members with sensitive skin. Laundry sheets are convenient, easy to use and have much less of an environmental impact than traditional laundry products. Once you try them, you’ll never want to go back to regular detergent!
Assigning a laundry day for each person simplifies the process, too. Rather than washing everyone’s clothes together, set aside a specific day for each member of your household. This prevents mixups and eliminates sorting from your hectic schedule. If you have older kids, you can even have them do their own laundry on their specified day to give you a much-needed break.
Order Your Groceries Online
Why spend a few hours in the grocery store every week when you can order everything you need from home? Online grocery shopping is easy, and it can even help you make the most of your budget by preventing impulse purchases. What’s not to love about saving money and time?
Depending on where you live and what stores you have access to, you can pick up your order curbside or inside the store. It costs a bit more, but you might even have the option of having your groceries delivered directly to your doorstep.
- Cut Down on Sock Sorting
Kids are notorious for losing socks. Sure, colorful socks featuring their favorite characters are fun, but how many times do your kids actually get to wear them before one goes missing? Plus, if you’re like most busy parents, the last thing you want to do is spend an entire evening sorting socks.
Give everyone’s sock drawer a makeover by replacing their current socks with ones that are all identical to each other. Black or white socks that are all the same brand, style and length take very little time to sort, and it’s not as big of a deal when one goes missing. If you have a large family, you can make the process even easier by assigning a certain type of sock to each person. For example, your teen’s socks may be white crew socks, while you might choose black ankle socks for your toddler. When everyone has their own set of identical socks, mornings and laundry days become more efficient and less stressful.
Can’t replace your entire family’s socks? No problem! Give each person a mesh laundry bag for their socks. This keeps all of the socks together but separate from other laundry.
- Save Breakfast for Last
Mornings are the most hectic part of the day for many families. Getting everyone up, dressed, fed and out the door on time is tricky, but making one simple change could help you save precious time on even the busiest morning.
Instead of serving breakfast as soon as your kids get out of bed, leave their morning meal for last. Once they are up, have them wash their faces, get dressed, brush their teeth, gather whatever they need to take with them for the day and get their shoes on. Then serve breakfast. That way, you won’t have to worry about trying to find a missing shoe or backpack when you were due to be out the door five minutes ago. Leaving breakfast for last also means you can always give your kids something to eat in the car if you’re running late.
- Make Rest Part of Your Routine
Rest often seems like a far-off dream to parents. In reality, though, it should be a part of your weekly routine. Parenthood is a lot of hard work, and if you don’t take time to rest and recharge, you’ll get burnt out. With careful planning, you can set aside time for your family to relax all day — no laundry, no cleaning, no work, etc. You deserve it.
Being a parent is a full-time job, and it may seem like getting everything done is impossible. However, with the life hacks above, you can make your days more efficient and make your busy life more manageable.