We’re still waiting on someone to figure out a way to add an extra hour to each day, but until then we’re trying to make the most of the minutes we’ve got. Here are a few of our favorite time-saving tips while still takin’ care of business.
1. Let’s start with the good ol’ morning routine. We’re going to go ahead and shake things up by telling you to skip that early a.m. shower. As a mother, you may have already come to terms with the fact that daily showering is optional (not by your choice, so much as by necessity). If you’re ever in a crunch for more time, opting out of your morning shower is a smart bet. Just grab some dry shampoo and go.
2. Although it can be tempting to skip breakfast — especially when you’re in a rush — going without that morning meal can hinder your productivity for the rest of the day. Here’s a trick that’s both quick and healthy: Use your Keurig machine to make a cup of oatmeal that you can take with you.
3. Oatmeal not your thing? Maybe you’re more of a smoothie gal. If that’s the case, toss your favorite smoothie fixin’s into your blender the night before. Don’t blend it yet — it might freeze and you’d have to thaw it the following morning. Rather, simply store the ingredients inside of the blender pitcher in the fridge and fire up the blender for a fresh smoothie the next morning.
4. Create a playlist on your iPod or MP3 player that is exactly the amount of time you have to get ready in the morning. Order it in a way that will clue you into your approaching time limit — either up-tempo to chill or vice versa. It’ll help you maximize your time and cut back on unnecessary dawdling.
5. If the blouse or dress you’re intent on wearing has a few wrinkles, don’t head back to your closet. Before you hop in the shower, just hang the wrinkly item of clothing in the bathroom. The steam will make the wrinkles fall out, and you won’t have to waste time ironing. Alternatively, you could toss the offending garment into the dryer to get rid of wrinkles sans ironing.
6. Pick products that do double duty. You may not think you’re spending a ton of time rifling through your makeup to find each product you put on your face, but those little increments add up. Edit your everyday makeup kit to include products like a pretty stain that serves as a blush and a lipstick, and a tinted moisturizer with built-in SPF.
7. When it comes to meal planning, work smarter… not harder. Before you hit the grocery store, hit up Lozo.com, where you can put in every item on your shopping list and it’ll churn out coupons for everything. Once you’ve got your groceries, work in bulk. Need to cut a bunch of cherry tomatoes or grapes for your kids’ lunches? Put them in between two Tupperware lids and slide your knife through the opening. Planning to make mashed potatoes or baked potatoes? Instead of scrubbing a bunch of potatoes, put them through the dishwasher.
8. At work, stop multitasking. Although it sounds counterintuitive, multitasking can actually kill your focus. If you have five things to do, do them in chapters. You’re more likely to actually be able to check items off at the end of the day. And don’t be afraid to assign projects out when appropriate. “If something can be done 80 percent as well by someone else, delegate,” stresses author John C. Maxwell.
9. Invest in a set of Bridgestone tires for your car. Doing so can mean the difference between being in and out of a Bridgestone in a short hour with good-as-new treads, and having to spend hours upon hours (not to mention tons of money) to get lesser replacements somewhere without the benefit of Bridgestone’s stellar warranty and customer service.
10. When you’re juggling kids, a career and all those two entail, it can seem impossible to carve out enough time to hit the gym. To make going feel more convenient, always keep a workout bag in the trunk of your car — you never know when a window of time might open up. But don’t worry, we all have days when the gym isn’t on the radar. Fifteen minutes of laughter reportedly has the same health benefits as a half-hour of sit-ups, though, so indulge in some girl talk on your gymless days.