Time Saving Tips for Today’s Busy Parents

Reclaim your “ME” time…iStock-woman-juggling-life-balance1

We’ve all experienced it. For busy moms and dads on the go, life can get a little chaotic at times. All parents – especially those with full-time jobs – face the challenge of prioritizing how they spend their time between their job, career and family. Finding as little as 15-30 minutes a day of uninterrupted, relaxing “me” time is challenging at best.

For everyone in such situations, it’s crucial to streamline and simplify pretty much every imaginable area of life. So make your life a little less hectic and ‘reclaim’ some of your time with these useful time-saving tips.

Leverage online tools to plan your week and keep things on schedule.

Every household is different, and every parent you meet will have different standards and sentiments about how to handle the never-ending obligation of keeping the household running. If you’re not using a few of the great online tools and apps available for today’s busy parents, you’re missing out on the planning and organizational benefits they can provide! Here are just a few of our favorites that will help you save time:

  • Google Calendar. While most people are aware of Google calendar, not everyone is taking full advantage of its features. For example, have you tried color-coding your calendar entries to keep track of personal and family events, school activities, and some of your work related meetings? You can also share your calendar with different people so that everyone you want to know is always aware of your plans and schedule for the week. The great thing about Google is that it interfaces with other calendaring systems like Cozi.com, a free online app and website that not only has smart scheduling functionality but which conveniently allows you to share your grocery and to-do lists in real-time.
  • Intuition: Mom’s personal Assistant. It’s a free app that organizes your to-do lists and tasks, simplifies your grocery lists, and schedules appointments by syncing up all your calendars. The location assistance feature also finds out if you are near any places where you can complete your errands. We love that your grocery list items are automatically sorted into the appropriate category: vegetables, grains, household products, etc. It makes things a lot easier and saves your time from sorting the list yourself.
  • Home Routines. Those familiar with the housekeeping philosophies of the FlyLady will love how Home Routines organizes those little daily and weekly tasks and allows you to check them off as they’re accomplished. You can even access tips and tricks from housekeeping gurus to make your work easier. It’s also a great way to keep track of chores the kids can help with!

Outsource some of your every day tasks and errands.

Spending time playing, talking, reading, snuggling, walking and laughing with your kids trumps any errand, e-mail message or chore in importance. So why not outsource some of these tedious everyday tasks while you spend time doing what you actually enjoy? In an era where people rent beds, cars, boats and other assets directly from each other, we’ve also seen the rise of online marketplaces that connect busy people with individuals in their local community to get their chores, errands and odd jobs done.

While business models and service offerings vary, the principle is similar: You post your job online, pay an hourly rate or accept bids from registered users, pick someone for the job, and then you just pay them on completion of the job. Some sites will just pre-assign users without giving you much of a choice, so you want to look for those offering you the flexibility to select the person you like to complete the job based on their ‘price’, their experience level and prior reviews.

Understandably, safety and security is also often a concern, especially if you are a mom or parent, but many of these sites have their users go through a thorough background check. Here are some of our favorites:

  • HomeJoy. Specializing in cleaning services, HomeJoy is represented in 31 markets in the US and Canada. Based on your specific needs, they will help match you with someone to clean your house or apartment. HomeJoy’s focus has been on making cleaning services affordable to everyone by charging a fairly low hourly flat rate for basic services. You can also add additional services such as laundry or cleaning your fridge; just be aware that it will cost you extra.
  • KitchenSurfing. If you are ever in a ‘pickle’ to prepare a healthy meal for your family or just want to enjoy a romantic dinner date with your husband, then try KitchenSurfing. You can enjoy chef-made dinners in your home without having to worry about shopping for groceries or cleaning up afterwards and you won’t even break the bank. KitchenSurfing offers a broad range of cuisines – from African, Indian, Spanish to American food.
  • Rover.com. It connects dog owners with a nationwide network of dog lovers for hire. Founded on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the unconditional love of a dog, Rover makes it easy for dog owners throughout the U.S. to reach sitters who offer in-home boarding, pet sitting, dog walking, and day care. You’ll never need to worry about the beloved family dog again; you know it’s taken care of.

No matter what we do, there are only 24 hours in a day, so you can’t create more time. But you can clear some time by reevaluating priorities and leveraging the tools and resources available to you. Don’t forget that while trying to be the perfect mom or dad and the perfect partner to your spouse, you need to also make some time for yourself.

“Me” time is not something you should ever feel guilty about. If everyone else around you is worthy of care and attention, then so are you. You not only deserve this time, but you need it for your own well-being. It’s nothing more than taking some time to put aside your everyday business and treating yourself to an activity that you enjoy. It gives you an opportunity to relax, refocus and recharge. And when you do that, you can come back to your responsibilities with greater focus, commitment and enjoyment.

For some inspiration, we have listed a few of our favorite “Me Time” activities:

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Martina & LauraLaura Woodroof and Martina Segerer are the co-founders of JobRunners, an online marketplace connecting busy New Yorkers looking to outsource their errands, odd jobs and small projects with people in their local community. Laundry, apartment cleaning, shopping for groceries, party planning and much more – no problem, they’ve got you covered! Both have worked in management consulting for many years and know first hand how difficult it is to juggle a busy work life while trying to keep things afloat at home.

JobRunners’ mission is to make your life easier while at the same time creating flexible employment opportunities and supporting local communities. With every job completed via the website, you’ll also contribute to the company’s charity efforts. JobRunners currently offers a $15 discount on your first job posting. For more information on JobRunners, please visit job-runners.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with our latest offers and charity efforts.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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