Systems aren’t exciting by themselves, but when you use these Mom tips and tricks to make your life easier rather than harder, that is exciting! Being able to cross things off your to-do list at the end of the day is the holy grail for many busy Moms. So, how do you get from here (no systems or none that are working for you) to there (systems that actually make your life easier)?
Begin by thinking about what takes the most amount of your time around the house. For me and most Moms, it seems that meals take the most time. That makes sense when you think about all the work that goes into putting dinner on the table.
You have to plan the meals, shop for the meals, put the items away after shopping, come up with a plan to use it all so you aren’t being wasteful, and then at the busiest time of the day (dinner time) – somehow assemble all the ingredients into a meal your family will actually eat and then clean up after it. It is enough to make you tired just looking at all of the things you need to do.
Therefore, the first of our “Mom Tips and Tricks” is going to be how you can create a plan for getting those meals on the table. At the end of this article, you will see other time saving tips and ideas for other systems to make your life easier (like laundry, cleaning, etc.). But, we will start with the biggest time suck of all – meals.
The First Mom Tips and Tricks – Figure Out Your Obligations for the Week
Begin by surveying the things you know are going to occur in the coming week. You can write down all the obligations you have for the week by day in your preferred planning tool (written, planner or online). Just make sure you reference any other calendars like Google, Outlook, school and work calendars, to note any meetings, appointments, practices, games, outings, etc. that you might forget to include otherwise.
Once you have all of the information on hand, you are ready to create your plan. In this example, it may sound really dull to pre-plan your meals for the week, but it will save you time and money in the long run. (And being able to know what is for dinner will make your life less stressful too.)
Second – Break Your Plan Down Into Steps
Choose one day out of the week to plan for the whole week, like Sunday for Meal Planning. Break the week down by day and specify what you want to have each day of the week – definitely plan your dinners, and don’t forget to add meal ideas for lunch and breakfast.
Take the list of meals you will need and break it down further into the ingredients you will need. Compare this list of ingredients with what you have on hand already in your pantry, fridge, and freezer
You can then use this list of ingredients needed to shop online with an app for Walmart or Kroger (or whatever you use). Then, you need to decide to either have the items delivered or pick them up at the store. You can also go old school and actually go to the store and shop for them (but, this takes more time).
Once you have the items back home, you now have a week’s work of meals preplanned and pre-bought. Congrats! You have eliminated the hardest work of figuring out what to eat each day, which saves you time, energy and stress. Because hearing “What’s for dinner?” when you have no idea is very stressful.
When all eyes are on you for dinner at the end of a long day, it can make the best day go bad quickly. In addition, eating out every day is not healthy for you, your family, or your wallet. You have also saved yourself the time and money of going to purchase the food daily if you went the fast food route. All you need to do now is cook it.
Third – Combine the Dates and Steps Into Your Schedule
For our meal plan example, you would take the list of meals you have for the week and write them in your weekly calendar as one big list of meals you will pick from for each day below. You are going to reference the appointments and obligations you wrote down in step one, so you know what makes sense or not.
For example, you don’t want to plan an elaborate meal for the evening you have a swim meet or ball game you have to be at because you won’t have the time to make it. You would be better off to pick something that can be made ahead or comes together really quickly.
Fourth – Lay Out Your Plan
Using the meal plan as our example again, slot the meals into the best time slot – trying to alternate so you don’t have the same thing back to back.
For example, you could lay your meal ideas like this:
- Monday – Chili
- Tuesday – Chicken Enchiladas
- Wednesday – Stir Fry
- Thursday – Cheese Tortellini
- Friday – Out
- Saturday – Meatloaf
- Sunday – Leftovers.
You can plan one evening to be take out or something fast and easy on the weekend. I like to have Friday as my evening to grab pizza or whatever, so I know I don’t have to cook that day. Remember, you can also have a leftovers night or even a leftover buffet!
Fifth – Post the Plan for Anyone Who Needs It
If your family only cares that they get to eat, then you don’t need to post if for them. If you have someone else helping you make the dinners, then you can share it with them.
Sixth – Implement Your Plan
Of course, try to make it easy on yourself wherever you can. If you are going to cook every night, you have the food, you have the plan, now you just need to implement.
Using our meal plan example, let’s assume you chose some easy 30 minute meals. Look at your calendar for the day and book time prior to when you want to eat to prep the meal and let it cook.
Seventh – Set Your Environment Up for Success
You need to have the items and ingredients you need out and available. Also, make sure the dishes you need are clean.
If you can get in the habit now of doing your dishes every night, you will thank yourself later when you have a clean slate the next day. As you cook, also go ahead and put things away you are done with and rinse/pre-load the dishwasher.
Your goal when you are done is to just have the items on the stove/oven. When everyone is done eating, dishes go in the dishwasher or get washed.
In this way, you are ready for the next day. You can then put away and package any leftovers for another meal or lunches.
Eighth – Make This Plan Even More Satisfying
Use a habit tracker or calendar to keep track of what you made/cross it off. Any meals you have made, you can check off and circle the ones you didn’t use.
If you previously ate out all the time, estimate how much you would have spent versus what you actually spent on meals this way. Any money saved can be saved or you can also spend some and save some – whatever feels the most like a reward to you. Some people are motivated by money saved in the bank, some people want new shoes – it is totally up to you.
Finally – The Best Mom Tips and Tricks – Include the Family
Also, know you can also take some of the drudgery out of cooking by (a) enlisting help – family, teens, spouse, etc. (b) adding something you like to do – listen to music, podcasts, watch TV, talk on the phone, etc. while cooking – to make the time fly by.
After you do this for a while, you will now have a system of meal planning for your family that will virtually be on autopilot taking the majority of this work off your shoulders. Make it even easier by using a meal planning service (like Emeals) if you desire. Realize there will be days your plan/system may not work, just try again the next day.
Now -Apply these Mom Tips and Tricks to Any Tasks in Your House
You can apply this same process to any system you want to implement to make your life easier. To get your ideas flowing on where else you can implement systems in your house, think about takes the second most amount of time after meals. Is it laundry or cleaning? Something else?
In general, you want to think of your home as a separate entity. What are the systems and routines you could use to help you run your household with ease? You want to make sure you create a system that is easy and something you enjoy by building in the rewards in the last step.
And, you want to create a system that has a daily schedule that won’t ruin your day. Seriously, choose routines and habits that support you and your household – not one that you won’t use or doesn’t work for you.
Here are some ideas for where systems can be applied to make your life easier:
- Projects for the house
- Clothing for the family using capsule wardrobes
Are you interested in learning more Mom Tips and Tricks for your home? Here are some articles to check out to incorporate even more systems into your life to make your life easier.
Because at the end of the day being able to save yourself time, means more time you can spend doing the things you love – whatever that may be. Whether you want to spend quality time with your family and friends or devote time to some well deserved self-care, just know you are worth it. Enjoy!
More Time Saving Mom Tips and Tricks You Can Use:
Flylady.net – If you haven’t heard of the FlyLady, you need to check out her site. She has a treasure trove of great information for you!
What are your favorite Mom Tips and Tricks for getting more done around the house so you can relax? Share in the comments below!