10 time-saving tricks from organised parents

Give everyone in the household a job.
Give everyone in the household a job. Photo: Shutterstock

Time-saving tricks, hey? Has someone ever dispensed a time-saving pearl of wisdom your way that has just made you feel like you're failing at life? Sometimes time-saving advice is more trouble than it's worth. Until now.

Here we've rounded up 10 time-saving – and achievable – tricks from mums who are actually short on time. In other words, these tips are sure to reduce your stress levels and leave you with a few extra minutes to use as you please.

1. Have different emergency kits strategically placed

How often have you wasted precious time when at the office, in the car, upstairs at home or at a loved one's house without what you need for said "emergency"? By placing "emergency kits" to suit your needs (i.e. kids' birthday presents; medical kits; spare kids' clothes; make-up; a dressy top; wipes; nappies etc.) in different places like the car, office, upstairs/downstairs, your parents' homes you can save time (and your sanity) when you get caught without something you need.

2. Start Sunday planning sessions

Before you go thinking this tip sounds annoying... give it a moment. By taking a little time to plan (food, appointments, activities, make a list of who will be where when, who is picking who up when and if there are any event – like birthdays – that you need to do things for prior) on a Sunday night you are making sure that everything is thought about for the week ahead. By doing this, you are far less likely to get caught in a pickle.

3. Establish an emergency buddy system (aka share errands with a parent like you)

At the end of the day there are many people in the same situation we all find ourselves. Working parents. Busy households. Too many kids' activities. Deadlines. We've all been there. Sometimes things pop up, like work deadlines, that make it that bit harder to make school pick-up, take kids to activities or cook dinner. Why not get an emergency buddy system going with a friend or family member where you can cover each other from time to time when these things come up? This way you won't feel guilty as you've established you'll repay the favour. Just be sure to pick someone who you like and has a similar parenting style to you. Running around and trying to do it all definitely does not save time. This is usually when things fall apart or things need to be done twice because you've been trying to do too much.

5. Create a "while-you-wait" routine

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Waiting in the pick-up line a school. Waiting while your child/ren is at swimming/dancing/sports each week. Waiting to go into an appointment. We end up doing quite a lot of waiting around. To save time later, throw things into your bag that you can do while you "wait". Think "thank you" cards, permission slips, creating a "While I wait…" email folder and pop in all emails you need to reply to that week, create to-do notes on your phone of things you need to schedule in, create more to-do lists and then you'll never be without things to do while you wait and you might save on a little time later in the process.

6. Dress your kids the night before

Yes, this one is a little extreme. But why wouldn't it work? If you don't want to dress a child in the entire outfit for the next day, consider at least popping on the under layer - singlet and leggings or t-shirts and socks. And then lay out their outfits the night before to save on time in the morning.

7. Invest in appliances that work double time for you!

From washing machines that have a crease-free/steam cycle (so you don't have to iron shirts) to pyrolytic ovens (aka self-cleaning), there are many cleverly designed products that busy people can take advantage of. There are even self-cleaning windows, too. But who cleans those anyway, right? The point is don't make things harder for yourself, why you're due to replace an appliance or system at home spend a little time researching what's out there to save a whole lot of time later – there are some really smart solutions on the market.

8. Get a "Tile" alarm keyring for your keys…

… and never lose your keys again. If you've fallen victim to losing countless minutes (you'll never get back) searching for keys, you're not alone. But say goodbye to lost minutes (and minds) searching for your keys and buy yourself a Tile keyring. You can use your phone to set off the keyring alarm and voila, locate your keys in no time at all. Tip: These make great gifts for gadget-loving males.

9. Use dual-purpose beauty products to save time

From moisturisers that exfoliate your skin throughout the day to a perfumed body lotion (rather than having to think about perfume and body lotion), thanks to the number of beauty brands created by women there are more and more products on the market that will work double time for you. Through the week when time is limited, scale back your beauty regime in favour of smarter beauty products and keep the harder stuff (hello, liquid eyeliner) for the weekends when you have a little more time.

10. Give everyone a job

Whether it's sorting laundry, making lunches, feeding a pet, or picking things up, there are tasks that even the littlest of helpers can do. Not to mention it's good to get people involved in managing a house – it's a skill that will help in other areas of life for young ones. You can even introduce a reward chart. There's nothing like a little healthy competition to spring people into action.