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As moms, we are so busy. You are the manager of your home. You make sure everything gets done.
You do everything from filling out massive amounts of paperwork for school or a medical office to cleaning the house and buying groceries.
There are always endless things on your to-do list.
You often feel like at the end of the day you knocked off 10 things on your to-do list and added 15.
It seems like life can be an endless cycle of marking things off your to-do list and replacing them with even more things.
It can seem like there is never enough time. What if I told you that you have enough time, you’re just not using what you have to your advantage?
These time-wasters can really cause you to get off track and waste time. These are things that apply to mothers specifically and how you spend your time.
29 Time Wasters for Mothers
1. Not teaching your kids independence
Teaching your child to be independent sounds like a great idea on paper. I mean you do want to raise them to be a grown adults and move out on their own one day, right? But as mothers, we don’t always teach them to be independent. It can come up in sneaky ways too.
You don’t always let kids do something themselves because they’ll do it wrong, you don’t have time, or they’re not ready yet.
This is a huge time waster. Yeah, your child may not make the bed perfectly the first time or might spill their snack when opening the package, but who cares? It takes them time to learn to do it effectively on their own.
Teaching your kids a new skill is a time investment. You take time to teach them now so that in the future, they won’t need your help and can do the task independently.
2. Not letting your family do things for themselves
Let your family help you and do things themselves.
Who cares if they put the cup on the right side of the dishwasher tray instead of the left?
Who cares if they put a little too much laundry soap in the washing machine?
Who cares if they don’t fold the towels the “right” way?
You have to let go of your control-freak tendencies and let other people help you. Just because someone does something different than you doesn’t make their way wrong.
3. Not planning
Planning sounds like something just for stuffy and uptight people. Or maybe when you hear planning, you think you don’t have time to sit down and plan.
But guess what, 1 minute spent planning saves you 10 minutes in execution. That’s a 10x on your investment. It sounds like a win-win to me!
The best way to start planning for beginners is time blocking. Time blocking is assigning chunks of time (known as blocks) a theme and doing all of the like tasks in that block.
For example, if you have a lot of phone calls to make in a week, (show me a special needs mom who doesn’t, right?), you put them all together and knock them out at one time instead of doing 1 call a day.
It’s quicker and more efficient to knock them all out at one time than to do 1 call a day.
Time blocking can save you so much time and is a super simple way to start planning.
Multitasking does not equal productivity. Multitasking makes your productivity drop by 40%. That’s a huge drop.
Multitasking makes you think you’re getting a lot done because you’re doing a lot of things at once, but that’s just a myth.
The only time multitasking that is okay is when you match up one menial task (like folding laundry or driving) and listening to a podcast. That is the only time multitasking doesn’t kill your productivity.
Procrastination is a big time waster. Think about something you think you need to do, but haven’t done yet. How many times a day do you catch yourself thinking about it? All the time, right?
Procrastination stems from perfectionism. If you can’t do it perfectly, you just won’t do it. Seems logical, but it’s not.
Just remember that done is better than perfect and move on. Rip off the bandaid and get it done.
6. Not having routines
Routines are so important because they help automate your home. When you get used to doing things automatically, you don’t have to think about them.
It doesn’t take any extra brain power to do. You just do it subconsciously. Think about when you come home from work and take off your shoes right when you walk in the door.
You don’t have to remind yourself to take off your shoes, it just happens. You have conditioned your brain to think that you’re supposed to take off your shoes the moment you get inside your home.
Routines help save your mental energy for other things. They help you get the things done that you want to get done every day.
7. Not having an evening routine
Evening routines are the best routine to start. Everyone’s always talking about morning routines and how they’re so golden, but hear me out. Evening routines will really help you set up your mornings for success.
You can try this super quick and simple evening routine to shave tons of time off your morning routine.
8. Not having a Sunday planning meeting
Planning your week every Sunday (LINK TO NEW POST HERE) is a game-changer. This is step 2 after getting your evening routine nailed down if you’re new to routines.
It’s amazing for your productivity. You’re able to see everything you’re doing for the week and it’s so much easier to say no to things. Because when you plan your week and someone asks you to do something, you realize you literally have to move some things around to say yes to them.
You don’t live in the moment. You plan from your future focused brain without all of the drama of deciding in the moment.
9. Social media
The average person spends 2 hours and 3 minutes on social media every single day. What on earth could you do with that time? That’s 14 hours a week!! You have a part-time job scrolling through social media.
10. Comparing yourself to others
This mostly stems from what happens after you spend 2 hours a day on social media. You’re busy seeing everyone’s highlight reel and it makes you question if you’re life is good enough. You’re left daydreaming of a “better life” like your friend.
This one is a hard one for moms. We worry like it’s our job, especially when you have a child with complex medical needs. Worry is your middle name.
One of my favorite quotes about worry is “Worry pretends to be necessary” by Byron Katie. It took me a minute to get what she was really saying at first and then I had an ah-ha moment.
It seems like you’re doing the right thing when you’re worrying in the moment, but it doesn’t change the outcome. This fact is true 100% of the time.
It can, however, get you all worked up with emotion and make you focus on it the rest of the day.
One way to stop worrying if your a big worrier is to set aside time each day to worry. Schedule in 20 minutes (maybe in your car ride home), to worry. Just worry the heck out of something.
After your worry session, and you catch yourself worrying, just remind yourself to wait until the next worry session to worry about it. This will really help you not worry as much because you know there is time to worry later.
12. Scrolling your phone
How many times do you catch yourself mindless scrolling your phone each day? A ton I bet. Just look on your phone and you can see how much time a day you spend on it. The reality might scare you.
One quick way to stop being so attached to your phone is to put it across the room. If you want to scroll social media (or whatever else), you’ll have to stop what your doing and walk across the room to get your phone.
This is right up there with worry. Complaining is useless, but we still do it. We do it because it makes us feel better. Again, if you just wish to complain, set aside time to do so.
Take 15 minutes a day or whatever else and get all of your complaining out of your system at one time.
Just realize that life is 50/50. 50% bad and 50% good. There will always be that contrast.
There will always be things that make us want to complain, but it won’t help you, instead, it will just waste your time.
14. Watching TV
On average, we spend 4 hours a day watching TV. You don’t have to cut it all the way out, you can just decrease it a little at a time. Just cut back 25% a week until you get to the level you’re comfortable with.
15. Going to the grocery store
Going to the grocery store takes so much time. I used to spend at least 2 hours or so going to the store, checking out, and just pulling up in the driveway. That’s not even counting making the list and putting the things away.
You can save hours by doing pickup or delivery. Pickup is okay, but it still takes more time. Delivery is the best way to go if you’re looking to save time.
Instacart is an amazing grocery delivery app that works with several grocery store chains. I use it to get groceries every other week.
It’s amazing. I don’t have to sit in the Walmart parking lot for 45 minutes on my order because they’re behind. I order my groceries and they deliver them to my house within a few hours. It’s amazing! It’s well worth my time.
16. Paying your bills manually
Paying your bills manually is a huge time waster. Auto debit is the way to go. You can sign up for auto-debit on all of your bills and you don’t have to take time paying them every single month. Some companies even offer a discount for people who pay this way. So it can even save you money too!
17. Not meal planning
Meal planning can seriously save you hours a week. If you’re not meal planning, you can learn all of my pro tips here and get started today. If you think meal planning takes a lot of time, listen up.
You can get better at meal planning. The first time might take longer, but the more you do it, the better you get.
It takes me no more than 10 minutes to meal plan for 2 weeks’ worth of meals now. Not kidding! Do yourself a favor and head on over and read this post to get started now.
18. Not keeping a running shopping list on your phone
Keep a running shopping list on your phone will save you time when you go to make your grocery list. I personally use Cozi for my family calendar and it has a built-in shopping list that I use.
My phone is always with me. So when I think of something, I plug it into the Cozi app right away. I don’t have to keep remembering throughout the day and thinking “Oh I’ve got to remember to put milk on the grocery list”.
I do it right away and then my mind is clear to focus on something else.
19. You’re still using paper EVERYTHING
Using paper for everything wastes tons of time and money. I do use paper to organize my child’s medical information (grab your free medical binder printable below) because it’s easier to use and take to appointments.
I also use paper for my favorite recipes and my budget binder.
That’s it. That’s literally the only paper I keep (besides momentos and important docs like social security cards, etc). I don’t have piles of paper all over my house. You don’t have to live in a sea of paper either.
To read more about my low-maintenance paper system, click here.
20. Cooking complex meals
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. You’re family just wants to eat. They aren’t expecting Wolfgang Puck or another top chef. They just want to eat. Stop cooking complex meals.
You can find a ton of simple and delicious recipes on Pinterest. You don’t have to cook elaborate meals. If cooking’s your jam, try saving the complex meals on a day when you have more time, like on the weekend.
21. Not using your phone to its advantage
Use your smartphone to your advantage. There are so many apps that will help make your life easier. Instead of thinking you have to remember something, use the notes app. Instead of remembering to have to do something, use your reminder app. Here are my top apps to manage my home.
Clutter is such a huge time waster! “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions”. I love this quote by Barbara Hemphill. Clutter takes up so much mental energy. Slowly work your way through the problem areas in your home and declutter.
One quick question that helps me decide if I want to get rid of an item or not is to ask myself “Would I rebuy this?”. I just love this question. If it’s not a fast yes, it gets tossed. Some people keep clutter because they keep thinking “What if I need this one day?”.
I have a few things to say about that. 1. If it’s so amazing and life-changing, you’d be using it now. 2. If you just have to have it in two years, there will be a way for you to get it then. Stop getting attached to clutter.
23. Cooking dinner every night
You don’t have to cook dinner every night. In fact, you shouldn’t unless you just absolutely want to.
You can do a few things to avoid going out to dinner:
- get takeout
- double or triple a recipe and eat it for a few days
- eat something super quick like frozen pizza or sub sandwiches
You don’t have to cook elaborate meals each night. You can do simple. Your family just wants to eat.
24. Too many notifications on your phone
When you have all of the notifications turned on for your phone, you keep looking at it. Every time you have to look at your phone you get distracted and waste time.
Google how to manage the notifications on your specific phone. Most of them are located under settings and then by clicking on notifications. You can select not to receive any notifications at all or just for specific apps only.
You don’t need to be notified every time a family member posts on Facebook or Target’s weekly ad comes out. These are not things that are worth your immediate attention and cause a big distraction and waste time.
25. Not being smarter with your time
When you don’t optimize your time, you’re wasting time. Optimizing your time looks like this….. I have to really concentrate when I write my monthly budget.
I have the best concentration right after breakfast, so I’ll do it then. Or I need to do therapy with my child and they are very alert and active right after school, so I’ll do it then.
Thinking about the things that need a lot of willpower or brainpower and then schedule them when it works best for you.
26. Not taking breaks
So, taking a break sounds like a waste of time when you have about 5 million things on your to-do list, but hear me out.
You need to take a break. Taking a break helps you relax and focus. Taking a break reduces stress and improves brain function.
The world will not fall apart if you take a break every now and then. Here is something important for you to hear, so listen up…….You’re not lazy because you want to or need to take a break.
27. Not prioritizing
When you don’t prioritize you lose productivity and waste time. When you prioritize, you do the most important things first.
When you have a to-do list that isn’t in order of priority, you tend to do the easiest and quickest thing first.
This in turn makes you feel like you didn’t do anything at the end of the day because you only worked on small menial tasks instead of what you really wanted to work on that will help you achieve your goals.
I have a workbook that will walk you through prioritizing your to-do list and get the right things done first. You can sign-up for your free workbook below.
28. Not delegating
I know, I know. You don’t want to delegate because you’re afraid people won’t do it right, but you have to learn how to do it.
You need to delegate. When you don’t delegate and let your family help you out around the house, you end up doing everything and turn resentful towards your family.
Your family needs to help out too. They can help out and most of the time want to help you. But you’re too much of a control freak to let them.
I’ve told you before and I’m gonna tell you again. There’s no right way to fold a towel or make a bed. Who cares if they don’t do it perfectly? Would you rather let them do it and have it be not perfect or just sit around and gripe about not ever getting any help?
29. Being a people pleaser
Being a people pleaser wastes so much time! When you’re a people pleaser, you say yes to so many opportunities that you don’t’ really want to say yes to and waste your time. It’s okay to say no. You don’t have to be on every committee at the church and school. It doesn’t make you a bad mom or Christian. It’s okay to say no.
You waste so much time without even realizing it. If you’re ready to take back your time and figure out how to get your to-do list done faster, you need to fill out the form below and grab the Prioritize your To-Do List workbook.
I will walk with you step by step as we look through your to-do list and help you start to focus on completing the RIGHT tasks to get more done. I can’t give you more time, but I can help you work smarter to get more done faster.