Ask any working mom, and chances are they will embrace the idea of cloning. Yes, cloning as in creating a genetically identical copy of an existing human being. Imagine the possibilities! This means we’d get to create four to five (no make that eight!) copies of ourselves and send them to do chores around the house, spend quality time with the kids, go on movie dates with the husband, and get things done in the office.
But because it might take eons for science to catch up with our dreams, the only thing working moms can do for now is manage their time wisely. Here are some tried and tested tips and tricks to make the most of your limited time and make sure you get things done at home and in the office.
1. Be realistic and prioritize.
Stop stretching yourself too thin and expect that you can do everything—pre-motherhood tasks plus new mommy responsibilities. You have to accept that there are things you cannot do or might have to let go of for the meantime. For example, you might have to stop volunteering to head the after-office party committee when you have a new baby waiting for you at home. You have to cut down tasks on your to-do list or limit what’s on your plate based on what’s really important. Adjust your goals and make them more realistic based on the limited amount of time you have.
2. Focus on what needs to be done and avoid distractions.
Distractions a.k.a. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, gossip sites and more. When you have a bazillion things to do both at home and in the office you would, sorry to say, have to resist the urge to open your Facebook and check the latest goss on your friends until you finish them. Come to think about it, how much time have you really been wasting on social networking sites? A total of 2 or 3 hours? That’s precious time you could be spending reading to your little tots or finishing your presentation in the office so you can clock out on time. Stop procrastinating and get things done girl!
Get your kids’ butts off the couch and let them help out. Let go of tasks even when you think you’re the only person on earth who can do them properly. Train your children to accomplish things around the house. Even little toddlers can be asked to pack away their toys at night. This won’t just afford you some free time but will also teach your children values they will take with them when they grow up. Plus, if you’ve got other adults in the household, don’t forget to give them their fair share of the work.
4. Create a family calendar.
Set a family calendar in a common area where all members of the family can see and update it say the family hall or the kitchen. A big white board and some markers will do. Ask everyone to update the family calendar with their activities through out the month. This will let everyone synch their schedules and keep all members of the family updated. This way, you won’t have to waste time looking for people when you know they’re at a soccer practice or a birthday party.
5. Use the Internet to your advantage.
If you haven’t tried paying your bills online, you will be ahhhh-mazed by the amount of energy and time you will get to save with just a few clicks. No more driving through traffic and no more waiting in long queues. And don’t even get us started with online shopping! Need diaper rash cream? Order online and have it delivered at your doorstep the next day. We’re starting to sound like a TV ad but the point is, the Internet has really been a gift for busy working moms so make use of it.[crp]
6. Invest in drawers, cabinets, and other home organizers.
So many working moms waste precious time each day trying to look for things—the kids’ socks, car keys, sugar, husband’s hair gel etc—especially in the morning. Properly labeled drawers and organizers are investments that will save you and your family so much time. Make the most of unused spaces around to set up organizers say a shoe or accessories organizers at the back of doors, or floating shelves and cabinets on walls.
7. Download productivity apps
There is an app for almost anything (there’s even one for squeezing digital zits). And there are so many awesome apps to aid busy working moms in particular. There’s a shnazzy note-taking app that let’s you add voice notes, videos or pictures, and set reminders with an alarm. Or that one that helps you keep track of your family’s monthly budget with features that let you view your bank statements with a few clicks. Hit the search button and find the best app for your needs. You can also check out our top picks for mobile apps that amp up work productivity.
8. Batch cook and freeze food.
When you’re a busy mom, the freezer and microwave could be your best friend. You can start by cooking in large batches and saving the rest in little containers in the freezer (pasta sauce in ice cube containers for instance). When you won’t make it home in time to cook dinner, you can just ask the kids to take out one of the containers and reheat. Or when you need to catch the train and have no more time to cook you can pop one container in the oven and eat in the office. Check out our list of five easy batch cooking recipes to try.
9. Ask for help (from family or friends).
Remember it takes a village to raise a child, more so when the mom needs to work a 9-5 job Monday to Friday. You cannot do everything on your own, and more often than not, your family even extended family and friends, are more than willing to help—all you need to do is ask. Don’t be shy to ask a friend to help out every once in awhile. Yayaless for a week? Maybe your sister or best friend would like to watch over the kids while you’re at work. Maybe you can resolve your difference with your in-laws and ask them to help out with the kids. Lolo can drive the kids to school or Lola can cook dinner every once in awhile.
10. Take care of yourself.
When you have a whole family depending on you, you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of them. Plus, you cannot afford to waste time nursing a cold or going in and out of the doctor’s office when you have a long list of to-dos. Eating healthy, exercising, and taking your vitamins will save you a whole lot of time and energy.
Mommies wear so many hats and do so many things that it’s easy to find yourself headed straight for burnout, especially when you have to factor in your day job apart from all the other things you have to worry about. So if there are ways to make life a little easier, take them—and don’t forget to indulge in a little “me” time, whether it’s at the salon or the spa or just a long soak in the tub, now and then.