4 Ways to Get More Hours Out of Your Day

I know what you’re thinking.

There is no possible way to squeeze a single additional moment into my already jam-packed day. I’m already on my feet, from morning to night – cooking, cleaning, working, driving, snack fixing, snack re-fixing, shoe tying, butt wiping, etc. It’s scientifically impossible to fit anything else in or create more time. You must be some kind of witch.

You gotta love a good Monty Python reference. Even if I really had to stretch the beginning of this post to make it work. Something about today just felt like we all needed a good Monty Python moment.

Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks. You are already pressed for time.

Wake Up Earlier

Oh, this one is the absolute worst. It’s torture, getting up before the sun (although, I promise it gets easier with time). And I know many of you are already waking up at the crack of dawn (or before) just to have time to wipe the crust out of your eyes before your parade of children marches into your bedroom demanding sustenance and entertainment. But here’s what I’ve discovered, there is something magical about the time before the kids get up in the morning. It’s eerily quiet. There are no (new) crumbs, no requests for milk and no interruptions. Lately, my husband and I have been setting our alarm for 4:45. In my mind, that’s still technically “last night”, but I’m telling you, the combination of getting some “me” time and two cups of coffee in my system before our kids wake up, make me a more productive and happier human being for the rest of the day.

Doing homework together

I’ve done some research* with my own kiddos and have discovered a phenomenon that while initially taxing, pays major dividends on the back end. Whether it’s after school when my oldest gets home from kindergarten or in the morning with my toddler, I’ve found that if I give my kiddos 15-30 minutes of my undivided, full-on, super hero game-playing attention, they will reciprocate by leaving me the heck alone for a comparable block of time.

It’s great because when I operate this way (and believe me, there are days when it does not happen), we get some quality “mommy & me” time on the books and I don’t feel all mom guilty later when they need a referee for their indoor football game and I tell them to figure out a solution on their own.

Why, just last week, I cooked a whole dinner while listening to a podcast about the Babysitters Club and drinking a glass of wine without interruption. And my kids were in the house. It was bonkers.

*I like my research and while I realize the study I’ve conducted is flawed in that it absolutely does not follow any sort of data collection standards, I like to think that the tenants of the scientific method were upheld.

Storage Bins

I don’t like to brag, but my house is pretty tidy 90% of the time. Please note that I did not say “clean”. Clean and tidy are two very different things. By tidy, I mean at the end of the day, there are rarely toys strewn all over the place – not that there aren’t dust bunnies congregating under my couch or dried pee on the back of all my toilets (thanks MEN). How do we accomplish this black magic? Ladies and gentlemen – the storage bin.

Target has an entire aisle dedicated to these little, collapsable, non-see-through cubes that are perfect for stashing away everything from dress up clothes to match box cars. Heck, you can even store both of those things in the SAME CUBE! Nobody can see in them, so who cares if they aren’t perfectly organized? These bins have cut our cleanup times in half and while we may not be perfectly organized, we still get the satisfaction of a tidy house, without the drudgery of trying to put everything in its proper place.

Child drawing

You may not thing this is an option for you. You may think, “My kids are way too old/young/hyper/adorable/sneaky to stay in a room, all alone for an hour” and a few months ago, I was right there with you. My toddler still needed his nap, but big brother had long since discovered that this napping game was for the birds. So we devised a plan to maintain my sanity and allow everyone to get a much needed break after lunch. These days, for 60 (sometimes 90, if I get lucky) minutes, Oliver gets to choose a few “big kid” toys and a snack to bring with him into my office. During this time, he is afforded the unique opportunity to draw, build with Legos, read books, etc. without his two-year-old shadow. You may have to start with smaller increments of time and sneakily increase it as your kiddo gains more and more independence, but I’m telling you, it is worth it!

Now, even if you implement all these strategies, you still might feel like melting into a puddle of Mom Mush once dinnertime rolls around. But maybe, just maybe you will feel like a super accomplished, checked everything off her to-do list, ready to take on tomorrow puddle of Mom Mush.

Stranger things have happened!

What are your go-to strategies for making the most of every day?

4 WAYS TO GET MORE HOURS OUT OF YOUR DAY

 

Professional photo credit: Ian Thornberry Photography

26 Comments

  1. These are great tips! Especially the quiet time! I don’t really do mornings very well so maybe not that one for me lol! Thanks for sharing!

    • haha mornings aren’t for everyone! I’m no night owl, so I totally understand! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. OK first of all LOVED the Monty Python reference, you’re a girl after my own heart. Just too many good jokes… I loved these tips; they’re realistic and I could relate to all of them. Quiet time is a must in our house, and I loved your idea of spending one- on- one time with the kids first. When I’ve done this, I notice a difference, rather than when I battle them constantly while I’m trying to get something done and all they want is some attention. This was a good reminder/ kick up the butt, so thank you.

    • You rock. And like you said, As hard as it is to put in the heavy lifting first, it really does pay off on the back end. Also, I could listen to coconut clomping horses ALL DAY! 😉

  3. I really need to work on getting up earlier. The snooze button is my friend.

    • haha oh girl, me too! I find it helps if I give myself a day off every now in then. My little one had me up at 4am, so needless to say when he fell back to sleep, I was not about to get up when my 4:45 alarm went off!

  4. Buy all of the storage bins… yes! I love that one. I live for storage:)

  5. Thanks for the tips! I always try to get up before my daughter to get some of my blogging tasks complete. She still takes one nap but it’s getting shorter and shorter. I may have to start enforcing quiet time.

    • Oh the days when the nap begins to disappear are the worst! I would never get anything done without a midday break. I would also probably start losing my hair and require a caffeine IV drip 😉

  6. These are great tips! I love the idea of quiet time and really need to work on getting up earlier!

    • Thanks so much! With all the rain/head colds recently, getting up early has been tougher than usual – but it really does make a difference in how the rest of my day goes 🙂

  7. Mandatory quiet time IS THE BOMB. Seriously. We’re doing it right now 😛 😛

  8. these tips are amazing!!! I wake up before the kids – its hard to adjust to at first but so worth it.

  9. I LOVE this!! I used to wake up 15 min before my kids just to pray. I loved it and then I got pregnant again! Lol. Now that my baby is almost 2, I need to revisit waking up earlier again! Thank you for sharing!!

    • Thank you for reading! I get derailed too, usually by a super fun viral illness or something else cute like that. I also try to begin my early morning wake up time with prayer 🙂

  10. You are hilarious girl !! I LOVE that you switched up a few things and voila ! Thanks for the tips 🙂

  11. These are great tips. I think more people should take advantage of quiet time. When my daughter gets home from school I make sure she does something interactive before going straight to the tv. Makes such a difference!

    -Annie
    http://www.discoveringyourhappy.com

  12. I love ALL these tips! And I definitely feel better when I wake up early… It’s actually getting to do it consistently that I need to work on! 🙂

    • I agree. If you can get a little something accomplished before the business of the day begins, it can make all the difference!

  13. I love these tips and am going to try some of them out! As a mom who works from home I need all the help I can get!

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