With a busy career and family, Cyndi Lauper has a lot on her plate, just like most women. From cooking dinner and doing the laundry to working out and getting dressed, it can feel like mission impossible getting it all done. But you can—and in less time—with these easy-to-do ideas.
Plan. Effort on the front end takes stress out of searching for healthy, inexpensive options when it’s time to eat, says Stephanie Nelson, aka The Coupon Mom. “Each week, scan the front page of the grocery circulars to see which main dish ingredient is selling for 50 percent off. Chicken? Pork? Determine the deal of the week then start building meal plans for that week.”
Shop on a weeknight. “I hit the store around 9-10pm at night,” explains media personality and multi-tasker Reyne Haines. “There are few people there. You can get in and out a lot faster than on the weekends.”
Organize list by aisle. When making your list of items needed, make sure to write down similar items (things found in the same aisle) together so you are not walking back and forth, recommends Haines.
Do prep work in advance. Slicing, dicing and chopping can take up a lot of time when preparing meals, so do it all on a Sunday night. Then store your cut up veggies and such in clear containers that you can grab from the fridge during the week.
Make extra. Over the weekend, prepare some of your family’s favorite meals for the upcoming week, says health coach Karen Jaffe. “If possible, make a double batch of each, and freeze the extra. Keep the recipes to 30 minutes or less to save time! A little preparation ahead of the week can insure your family eats healthy home cooked meals all week long (and you’ll save money on take out).
Establish a cleaning schedule. “It’s nearly impossible to dedicate an entire day to house cleaning, so don’t! Clean one room or do 1 task each day, and don’t forget to delegate some cleaning jobs to your children, says Kristl Story of TheBudgetDiet.com.
Invest in a Roomba. “There is absolutely no reason anyone should be vacuuming in this day and age,” says lifestyle blogger Lori Riviere. “The Roomba has changed my life. I have it set to run every morning while working out and I come back, empty the bin and feel like I have a housekeeper!”
Routines work. Do it the same way every time, says Barbara Reich, organizational expert and author of Secrets of an Organized Mom. “If you always put your keys in the same pocket of your handbag every time you use them, you’ll never scramble for them again.” Be sure to keep your purse, laptop, keys, etc. in the same place every day so you can easily grab them and go.
Have a master calendar. Whether you do this on a computer or on paper posted on the refrigerator, you can’t run a busy household without one place where all activities and scheduled events are listed, says Reich.
Take advantage of “down” time. “Life in the mom taxi requires a lot of waiting… waiting in the carpool line, waiting for practice to end, waiting in the doctor’s office, waiting, waiting, waiting!” says Story. “Don’t waste these hidden pockets of time… always bring along some busy work like bills to pay, school forms to fill out, thank you notes to write or Christmas cards to address. You’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish while waiting!”
Stick with the basics. Have a little black dress, great black trousers, and the perfect pair of jeans. “This will get you through 95 percent of the days of your life,” says Reich.
Color coordinate your closet. If you organize your closet by sleeve length, skirt length, etc. and color you will save oodles of time getting ready in the morning, says Riviere. “Also when you discover a perfect outfit combo, snap a photo and keep it organized using an app like My Wardrobe.”
Put outfits together each night. Lay your clothes the night before, suggests Amber Kostelny-Cussen, a certified professional organizer. Iron clothes and pick jewelry to match ahead of time to save time when you’re rushing.
Choose the right makeup. Opt for makeup products that can double up, or even triple up, as a multifunctional product, says makeup artist Annie Mayo. “For example, a foundation that already contains SPF in it is a great way to get flawless skin while protecting it at the same time. Use a cream luminizer that can act as a blush and a highlighter at the same time.”
Be ready to go. Keep a gym bag stocked with everything you need and backups of things you may forget, says Kostelny-Cussen.
Do it at home. Going to the gym every day takes up a huge chunk of time, so pop in a DVD at home instead. You also get the added bonus of being able to shower after your workout at home!
Take a walk. Park in the furthest spot at the mall, take the dog for a walk (he needs it anyway) and walk the kids back and forth to school if you can. It all adds up and helps to keep you in shape.