You know those memes that say things like, “you have as many hours in your day as Beyonce” Well, they can straight up go to hell. I may have 24 hours but I only have two hands so yeah. There’s that.
Here is my actual real-life guide to finding more time, no outsourcing, no big spends, no glamour. Just a regular human who wants to show my kids that life is for living, you know? So let’s get to it.
Get up earlier
This may seem blatantly obvious but bear with me. Getting up an hour earlier will usually gain you more than an hour in productivity. In that magic early morning there are no distractions and your brain is firing on all cylinders. You can answer emails, read a book, prepare food for the day, work out or just sit and drink a cup of tea. Even if it means you have to go to bed an hour earlier, you will gain more than you lose.
Nipping out to the shops, for one thing, is a freakin’ huge waste of time. I can’t tell you the number of times my husband heads to Bunnings to get screws per year. It drives me mental; just buy a 500 pack already. But I’m the same, every time I go to the shops to get milk it costs me $40 and a half an hour of my day. If you have a bunch of birthday parties coming up, head out and buy all the presents in one go, hell, buy a few spares while you’re there. My new rule is; just grab the thing you are considering. Basically, everything can be either frozen, returned or chucked in the present box. And then you can spend the morning before each birthday party at the beach, or in bed, or eating french toast. And surprisingly this tip has actually saved me money because fewer trips to the shops mean fewer rando purchases.
Pair certain activities
If you love watching trash TV but can’t find time to exercise, only let yourself watch it when you’re on the treadmill. If you have a friend that you regularly catch up with, go for a walk together rather than just meeting at the park. Watch a TV show on your laptop while you’re making dinner, read an awesome book when you’re waiting at dance classes, mix up frozen margaritas during a mid-week play date. Basically just pair the things you want to do with the things you already are doing.
Do things at home
When you do things at home that you would usually do somewhere else you save both travel and prep time. Hairdressers, gyms, beauticians, banks, they can all go to hell in my opinion. Obviously, if these places bring you joy and are your thing then go for it, but swapping some out-of-the-house stuff for DIY stuff means more time for you. Anyone else dye their own hair in the morning while their kids sleep? No, just me?
Delete social media off your phone
This may not be something you need or want to do but for me, mindlessly scrolling Facebook was taking up way too much time and bringing me little joy. There are also all sorts of apps for the computer that help you limit this stuff too. I am dabbling with this one right now.
Clear some stuff and get organised
The less stuff you have to deal with, the less time it takes up. Maybe you don’t actually want to Marie Kondo your whole house, that’s cool but think about putting half of your kids’ toys on a high shelf so they can’t end up everywhere every day. Also, clear containers are just about the coolest invention ever, if you store all your fiddly stuff in them you won’t have to rummage ever.
Stop double handling
If you are holding something in your brain or hand, it is the best time to deal with it. Preschool notes, bills, a beautifully creative idea. Now is the best time. If your laundry is making three stops between the line and the drawers then you may want to think about streamlining your processes.
Do things separately from your partner
When you do things separately, you double your productivity. Obviously, it’s nice to spend time together as a family but when you feel like all you’re doing is existing, you’re better off dividing and conquering. One does the sport while the other does the groceries; one does the birthday party while the other hits the local market, one goes away for the weekend with friends while the other stays home. So long as the tally feels even it can be an absolute game changer.
Encourage independence in your kids
Sometimes it feels quicker to just do things for your kids, and sometimes it is but it doesn’t help them or you in the long run. Teaching your kids to put away their washing, feed the pets, even just put their own shoes on gains you so much time and is also super good for their sense of self. You can even tweak your home to make it easier for them to be independent.
Spread yourself thick
I have written about this idea here and I recommend that you read it (of course I do) but the basic gist is learn to say no, try not to multitask as much as possible, focus on what matters and cut out the rest.