Parenting Win of the Week: What Saves You Time?

Save time and stay organized with these tips for busy parents.

Woman with son making notes in personal organizer.

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Woman with son making notes in personal organizer.

Photo by: Halfpoint Images

Halfpoint Images

I don’t know about you, but daylight savings time has me wiped out beyond belief. It literally starts to get dark around four in the afternoon here, which seems to be very abrupt. Things have also picked up in terms of kids' activities, and sometimes, I don’t know which way to look. So, I am starting to take stock of the shortcuts in my life that can save me time. When it comes to the kitchen, I am pretty good, but in other areas in my life, I can be kind of a hot mess. Thankfully, a few organized friends helped me come up with a few suggestions to save time during the busy school week. I’d love to hear yours too!

Meal Planning on Sundays: This has helped me tremendously to stop wasting food, avoid the "what's for dinner?" question, and even save money. I usually sit down with the calendar and see what we have going on during the week. Simpler meals are on nights where someone has an activity and I try to see where I can use overlapping ingredients. Breakfast for dinner is always a fan favorite and it allows me to use up whatever produce is left from other meals.

Meal Prep: So many of my friends spend time cutting up all of the fruit and vegetables they need for the week over the weekend. I have done this in the past and if you put the time in, it can really cut down on prep during the week (and it may just make you eat more fruit and vegetables).

Online Grocery Shopping/Curbside Pickup: One of the wins that came out of the pandemic? The ease of online ordering and curbside pickup. I try to make it a rule to not step into a grocery store during the week if I don't have to because I know myself, and I will start wandering and looking for other things. It makes it so much easier to order any gifts I need to pick up curbside. A friend uses the time in her car to catch up on any emails and phone calls.

Organizing Technology: That notes function on the phone is a savior for making lists. My husband and I use the shared function, so if one of us is at the store, we can add to the list in real-time. A friend of mine has a list for each store she frequents (Target, Costco, etc.), so she never forgets what she needs for that. Another friend uses the Cozi app to organize her three kids.

Keep Returns in the Car: Anyone who drives carpool knows that there are times where you pass a store and wish you had something with you to return. My friend always keeps a bag of returns in her front seat, so if she passes a store, she can quickly run in and return.

Review Your Calendar: An old boss of mine used to put everything in her calendar — work meetings, carpool, soccer practices — and in my 20s, I thought it was funny to see all of that. Now, I realize it's a genius way to organize. Putting everything on one calendar allows me to review at the beginning of the week and see who has to be where when, and enlist my husband. It also allows me to plan out carpools where needed.

What are some things you do to stay organized? I need all of the tips I can get!

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