Sometimes, when we’re juggling work, family, dating, studying, housekeeping, hobbies, etc, it can be hard to find time for something specific. You may get up, go to work, get home, clean the house, study, spend some family time together and later find that you haven’t done the laundry, the shopping or found time alone with your partner.
It’s so easy to do, you just find yourself looking at the clock and asking “When did it get so late?”
So let’s work on a few ways to carve a little extra time into your day.
1: Clip out nonessentials.
First make sure there is nothing you are doing that takes up time unnecessarily. I’d say something is unnecessary when you don’t want to or have to do it.
So, for example, putting the kids’ toys away after they’ve gone to bed is essential, because you need to keep some order. But putting the kids’ toys away whenever they’re done with them is not essential, because they’re bound to drag them out again and should probably learn to put back what they move.
Or planning outfits a week in advance is unessential, unless you enjoy it, in which case it isn’t really doing much harm.
Have a proper look at jobs you can do that should be done by someone else, that you do repeatedly and could afford to do just once, or that just plain don’t need doing.
2: Tasks of a feather flock together.
Being crazily organized helps here, but you can do this in chaos too.
When you are doing the dishes, whip round the house and look for any dishes, cups or mugs that may need washing. Follow by drying and putting away.
When you are hoovering a room, make an effort to return things to their places and respective rooms as you do it. Perhaps even make a pile of things to return to the kitchen, to return to the bedroom, to return to the bathroom, etc.
When you are cleaning windows, bring a duster and dust the sills and ornaments at the same time. Maybe clean, wipe, dry, polish and dust.
Basically, make sure you do a task in full, do all the tasks around the sides and clean whole rooms at a time. That way you run around a lot less and get more done in record time.
3: Schedule in anything time-consuming.
Whether it’s a task, an activity, a date or a piece of work, if it takes over half an hour, schedule it in.
This way you don’t have to stress much about it until it’s time to do it, can do everything else beforehand and know when it will be happening.
4: No Free Hands.
This is an approach described in the book I’m working on “On A Budget: The good housekeeper’s guide to economizing.” The basic principle is this: as long as everyone had done their duty, all free hands at home are working hands.
Now, let’s first remember that the main housekeeper/s should first pull their weight. You don’t just sit around drinking coffee whilst you’re home alone and the second your partner or the kids walk through the door shout “No Free Hands!” and give them your tasks. You should prioritize your own work and schedule it properly, if you stay at home you should make the effort to actually keep house whilst you’re on your own.
But at the end of the day when the kids are back from school, both you and your partner have finished work and there are four jobs left? Fair game.
No Free Hands basically means that if you’re overwhelmed and everyone else is being lazy, you should at least be able to request them to help you a little.
When your children unload the dishwasher and feed the dog and your partner packs the lunches so you can put the laundry away, the extra hour you would have spent on the jobs can be reduced to 10-25 minutes, leaving you extra time together.
5: Pockets of time and tiny tasks to fill them.
And finally we all have pockets of free time in the day. Little gaps where we’re doing nothing, not even relaxing.
To make the most of these times, have a look at what jobs you have that take 0-10 minutes and see when you can do them. For example, when you’re waiting for bacon to fry for breakfast you can wash up any utensils or cups from last night, when you’re at work and waiting to start you can answer your personal emails, when the kids are getting dressed you can lay out their shoes, coats, bags and lunches. Basically look at the things you can do quickly and easily as you wait to do the next task. It frees up far more time than you could imagine.
To be honest, although I recommend them all, I’m pretty sure I’m quite bad at scheduling anything and at NFH. I’m naturally skittish and hop from task to task and I prefer to take on everything and revel in the pressure and responsibility even when the stress is killing me. I should work on that!
How do you free up time in your day? Do you already do any of these things? Which do you find most helpful? Which do you find most difficult? What else do you do to free up some time? I’d love to hear from it in the comments.
TTFN and Happy Hunting!