We’ve all been there, rushing from one thing to the next, inevitably turning up late because something happens last minute that we didn’t plan for. It might be the early morning rush out the door to work and school or the afternoon hustle to practices, second jobs, appointments, or other commitments. Whatever it is demanding our time and schedules, there are ways to make it easier!
In a nutshell-planning ahead is the secret to being ahead. Children and life in general are unpredictable. Things will go wrong. Socks will be lost. Cars won’t start. But when we plan ahead for the things we can, we make margin for the things we can’t plan for. Here are some practical tips for making each step of your days smoother and a little more peaceful.
- Bath time at night. This helps children sleep better, establishes a routine, and saves a ton of time in the morning.
- Plan breakfast ahead of time and have it ready to go in the morning.
- Take a look at all paperwork from school the night before, sign any necessary forms, get permission slips ready, etc. and have it ready and packed in bookbags by the door.
- For infants in child care, get those bottles and diaper bags ready the night before. Having them packed and ready to go is a huge time saver.
- Lay out clothes for the entire week on Sunday. This may feel like a big task at first but before long it will be second nature and make the weekday mornings less stressful. On Sunday afternoon I look at the weather for each day of the coming week and choose outfits accordingly. Each of our children has their own little bucket from the Dollar Tree that we fold and stack all of their outfits and socks in for the week. Every morning they choose the outfit on top and get dressed for the day. It’s been a lifesaver! If your little ones are too small to dress themselves it can still be a major time saver for you to plan what they’ll wear each day.
- Find shoes in the evening and make sure they are by the door ready to go. I can’t tell you how many times we were late to school because we were searching for a missing shoe! Well, no more. This simple step takes just a few seconds but makes a big difference.
Mom tip: For a little extra oomph to your day, try setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier than you need to and preferably, before your children wake up. This gives you a small amount of time to get your thoughts together for the day, have a cup of coffee, prayer time, or whatever it is that might help you be a better you.
Evenings never seem long enough, especially during the Winter months when the days are shorter already. Between getting home from work, getting everyone fed, and where they need to be, there’s hardly time to enjoy each others company much less stay ahead of all the things that need to be done. These are a few tips that help me-
- Weekly Meal Planning- I plan all our meals on Thursday of each week and shop for our groceries online. I pick up our groceries on Friday (if you’re not doing the FREE Grocery Pickup at Walmart, you’re missing out!). I then prep anything that I’ll need for the week as I put groceries away. At least knowing what you’re having for dinner each night allows you the freedom to take something out of the freezer to thaw or get a crock pot meal going in the morning. Think ahead too- For example, my daughter has dance on Wednesday nights so those are usually our crock-pot dinner days. Dinner is already done when we get home and it’s a no fuss solution.
- Establish afternoon routines and stick to them. Plan for extra curricular activities, homework time if you have school age children, and even screen time if you allow it. Shoot for a target time where everything is done, everyone is home, and you can wind down for the night.
- Clear your calendar! It’s okay to say no to things. Pick a healthy level of commitments for your family (maybe it’s only 1-2 social things per week or 1-2 per month, you get to decide!) and stick to it. Having margin in your month equals more down time for you and your family and there’s nothing more precious than that!
Give these simple tips a try and reap the benefits of a more peaceful home and a more focused you.