Being a work-from-home mom, running her own business, and also homeschooling, I cannot stress enough how much I value reducing time and energy wherever I can. It seems like running errands somedays can take up an entire day and leave little room for anything else. That’s why instead of running around more or hustling harder I have gotten really good about working smarter, and doing less whenever possible. Here are some of my favorite strategies that have helped me stop running errands so I could get more time (and energy) back in my day!
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Prioritize your entire life!
One of the best things I did for my family and my sanity was to get crystal clear about my priorities for my entire life. Start choosing where you want to expel time and energy and what is not worth it.
Some of my top priorities are:
- Quality time with my kids
- Eating healthy foods
- Making time for myself (body and mind)
- Doing quality work that serves others
- Saving money for emergencies and vacations!
When you know what you value most and where you want to spend your time, money, and energy, it becomes a lot easier to begin seeing the parts of your life that are not aligned with these things.
Reduce cleaning time
I am not going to lie, one of the main reasons we chose to downsize our house was so that I wouldn’t have to spend so much time cleaning. It didn’t matter that we had a “toy room” designated for toys, somehow they wound up scattered throughout the entire house!
While downsizing your house might not be an option, there are things that you can do to simplify the amount of time you spend cleaning!
I know that hiring out help isn’t something that’s available to everyone. But, keep in mind this could be a local teen looking to make some extra cash or even one of your own children depending on the age. Would dishing out $20 once a month to have someone deep clean your bathroom be totally worth it to you? If so, it might be something worth considering.
Recruit your family
If you don’t live in your house alone, then you should not be bearing the burden of cleaning it all alone! Truth be told, if you start when they are young, most kids want to help clean the house! Letting my kids wipe down furniture or windows when they were little started building that work ethic and sense of accomplishment at a young age.
Yes, it takes time and energy at first to show your children how to do housework, but trust me, it pays off in the long run! Read: How to Teach Kids Money Management at Any Age
Downsize your stuff
Who says you have to downsize your entire house in order to reap the benefits of living with less? one of my biggest recommendations is to downsize your house without moving! When you work to eliminate excess clutter, you free up mental space for more things and can drastically cut back your cleaning time!
Automate whatever you can
I cannot be the only woman who dreams of a robot cleaning her floors, right? For those of you who have already taken advantage of such luxuries, my hat goes off to you!
Thankfully we are given so many machines and tools to help us make keeping a clean home a little bit easier, like dishwashers and washing machines! Just imagine living back in the day before these things were available!
Deep clean in batches
Another thing that I have found to be helpful is to stop trying to deep clean the entire house in one day. Instead, once a week I will choose an area to focus on.
This can reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning every week and prevent you from having those panic-cleaning sessions before company comes over. Read: 4 Bin Method for Cleaning and Decluttering
Keep cleaners on hand
One lesson I learned at a homeschool mom gathering was the idea to keep certain cleaners in their proper locations. For example, disinfectant wipes and multi-purpose cleaner in each bathroom. This way, if you happen to pop into a certain location and notice something like, oh, I don’t know, your son’s urine all over the toilet seat, you can pull out a disinfectant wipe, clean up the mess and carry on with your day.
Keeping products on hand in areas that get dirty fast can help you manage and maintain these areas before they get too overwhelming.
I used to be that mom that made every single meal from scratch which also meant I was that mom that was constantly doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen! Talk about major time and energy zappers!
Even though eating healthy is still one of my top priorities, I have had to find ways to simplify meal prepping and cooking in order to stick with that healthy eating priority while still saving myself some time and manpower.
Pre-plan your prep
Whenever you head to the store, one of the best things you can do for your sanity, and your budget is to pre-plan what meals you’ll be eating throughout the week.
Another top recommendation for this is to choose one breakfast and one lunch to stick with. This means:
- You’ll only need to prep each of these meals once
- You won’t be spending as much on ingredients or different products
- No one will be fighting over food or struggling with what to make
Have a mini prep-sesh
I am not someone who likes to spend all day meal prepping. Instead, I take an hour or 2 to prep breakfast and lunches while I put the groceries away. Here’s how this looks in our house:
One blender breakfast
The most common meal I make for my kids is these gluten-free oat waffles. I put all of the ingredients into our NutriBullet blender and then pour batter onto our $20 waffle iron.
While the waffles are cooking, I have time to put away groceries or start prepping lunches!
This month we have been focusing on tuna salad sandwiches. Not only can we buy tuna in bulk, but it’s easy to quickly spoon scoop onto sandwiches throughout the week and toss alongside some baby carrots and berries!
I’m also a fan of snacky lunches which might mean pre-chopping some cheese or meats and keeping quick-grab foods on hand like almonds, crackers or grapes.
Another amazing time saver is to pre-cook your meat for the week. For us this is usually popping some tilapia into the crockpot for a few hours, using a hand-blender to shred it all up (you can also use this method for chicken and turkey), seasoning it with taco seasoning, and then storing it in a Ziplock for later.
By doing this I save myself time throughout the week because I know I already have meats pre-prepped and ready to go.
Fast and healthy-ish
One thing I have had to let go of is the belief that everything I make has to be toiled over to be healthy. In order to save time and sanity I have started incorporating instant organic foods into our diet. Yup, that means things like microwave broccoli and rice and pre-made soups!
These are things I love buying in bulk from Costco so that I always have fast-grab stuff on hand.
Automate Your Money
When I first started learning how to budget, I used to spend excessive amounts of time crunching numbers, hovering over my bank statements, and filling out budget sheets over and over again. Now I am a big believer in automating your budget as much as possible.
The basics of the Automatic Budget include:
- Getting direct deposits sent to one checking account
- Automating transfers to your 401K or another retirement fund
- Having automatic transfers to savings accounts
- Setting up bills to pay automatically
- Designating fun spending onto the Cash App Debit Card or in cash!
Avoid the grocery stores
Thankfully there are more and more companies popping up that are designed to prevent us from going to the grocery store.
We have started using InstaCart this year and I could not be more thrilled. While shopping Walmart Pickup can be the more affordable option because there is no membership fees, here are some reasons we opted for the InstaCart membership:
Why we pay for InstaCart
When I heard that InstaCart was delivering from Costco to my area, I knew I wanted in! Here are the top reasons why I no longer wanted to spend my time or energy going to Costco:
- Costco is about a 40 minute round-trip drive from our house
- Navigating Costco takes an additional 40 minutes of my time
- I always, always add more to my cart than I originally planned on
I wasn’t totally sold at first because I believed this meant paying the $99 for an InstaCart membership on top of our $100+ Costco membership. However, I was informed that you didn’t even need a Costco membership to take advantage of getting Costco delivered through InstaCart!
Yes, there are still additional fees and tip charges you pay through using InstaCart, but I knew that saving about 2 hours of my time (and avoiding the additional purchases I would make) was absolutely worth the additional cost in my book. Try InstaCart free for 2 weeks!
Run errands when your time is already taken up
One thing that I have found to be incredibly helpful is to designate my errand running time with times when my time is already being occupied.
What do I mean by that?
When my kids are at their 30-minute music lessons, I may make a quick run to Target to scoop up the few odds and ends that we need.
While it isn’t necessarily running errands, my husband, Tom, and I, also take advantage of their 30-minute karate lesson to visit a local brewery or coffee shop for a quick catch-up with one another.
This might not work for everyone because a lot of parents are at work throughout the day and want to be present for things like music lessons and sports. For me, I feel comfortable and confident with the time and energy I give to my kids throughout the day and feel like running errands or having a quick date night during their sporting events still aligns with the priorities I already set in place.
Create an entire life of simple
As I stated earlier, working to create an entirely minimalist life that feels simple and aligned with my values has been one of the greatest things I have ever done for myself and my sanity (and my family).