In our crazy schedule of what we call life every minute matters. Between my husband and I both working full time, meetings before and after work, and dance/soccer/archery/whatever the sport of the month is for our two daughters, every minute we actually get to spend together is precious and valuable. We tend to be a family that relies heavily on routine (and also on loads of help from my retired parents!). Getting these routines down didn’t happen overnight. Learning them was something that took myself awhile, as well as a lot of trial and error. Isn’t that what motherhood is though- trial and error? We all know what happens to work for our kids today probably won’t end up working tomorrow or heck even in the next hour.
Here is my top 5 list of routines that we have established that save us a few minutes and make our life run so much more smoothly- especially in the mornings (and who doesn’t want to start off their morning on a positive note with a few extra minutes!).
1. Pick clothes out for the week on Sunday night
Come the dreaded Sunday night, I whip out my phone and check the weather for the week ahead (we live in Michigan- you never know what to expect- last week it was 70 degrees one day and 39 the next!) Then I head to the closets and grab clothes according to the temperatures, hang them together and grab a stack of underwear and socks for the week- that way everything is in one spot ready to go. This creates so much less stress than worrying about picking out an outfit every morning and avoids dealing with the inevitable “there’s nothing to weaaaaar” whine. There’s your stack of outfits for the week. Pick one.
- Make lunches the night before
Ideally we try to make enough dinner so that we have leftovers and can just package them up while we clean up dinner (if we have LOTS of extra leftovers, we’ll freeze them in individual containers so we can just pop one in the fridge the night before to thaw for lunch the next day). Leftovers don’t always happen though- as a matter of fact they are happening less and less as my 1st grader seems to be going through a never ending growth spurt! When leftovers don’t happen I try to pack our lunches as hubs cleans up dinner, or just after. I know that once I leave that kitchen, I don’t want to go back anytime soon- so packing them right away is important or it won’t get done!
- Use a programmable coffee maker
Lord knows we need to start our day with caffeine in order to get going, much less survive. Every night once the dinner dishes are put away, we fill our old school Mr. Coffee maker with grounds and water and hit “program”. And just like that, every morning at 7:15 the blissful sound of coffee brewing and that sweet, sweet aroma fills the air. And *bonus* we haven’t even left our bed yet. If we don’t make our coffee the night before, it doesn’t get done. And then I have to rush around to leave an extra 10 minutes early to stop at our favorite coffee joint- and although I love to see the chipper baristas to help start my day off on a cheerful note- let’s be real- who has time for that every morning!
- The infamous snack container
When my daughter started attending the school I teach at last year as a kindergartener, I realized very quickly how annoying it was to scrounge around for a healthy snack for her every morning when we were already rushed. And then along came the infamous snack container and made my life a million times easier. I took a random plastic dish that was laying around in our pantry (you know-one of those 50 dishes that has a missing lid?) and packed it full with applesauce pouches, cheese and crackers, kids protein bars, etc. She stores it in the top of her locker and come snack time she has a slew of choices- and I didn’t have to do anything, it’s just sitting there waiting for her. When it’s running low she brings it home, we fill it up, and repeat.
- Bags are packed, we’re ready to go
As soon as I get home from work, I make it a point to go through each of my daughter’s backpack and folder. I glance over any work, take out anything like notes or requests that need to be returned and put my first grader’s homework at her spot at the dining room table as her reminder to complete it. Then I return the folders to the backpacks and hang them up in an easy to reach spot for the girls so come the next morning, we can grab and go. Knowing that we won’t be rushing around searching for things that are supposed to be in their backpacks helps us keep our sanity- at least for a little bit longer!
Do you have a favorite time saver tip for the work week? I’d love to hear it, share it in a comment!
~Mama in the Mitten