a chipper multitasking spider mom – image from Shutterstock.
As all the moms out there will know, with motherhood comes an endless stream of to-do lists, and with that new challenge – the ability to become a jedi master of multi-tasking. Nobody knows how to multi-task like the mother of young kids, and in that spirit of sharing the mom-wisdom, Inhabitots is partnering with Clorox in a project to help moms share their time-saving tips with one another. Clorox is working with author Karen Kauffman Orloff, writer of the children’s book If Mom Had Three Arms, to compile an e-book of moms’ time-saving tips. If you have any great multi-tasking tips, send ’em on over here for your chance to be included in the book (you’ll also score a 50¢ Clorox coupon). Simply visit the Clorox Facebook fan page to share your mom-wisdom on the If Mom Had Three Minutes tab.
Since this project got me started thinking on my own multi-tasking tips, I thought I would share with you my tricks for staying sane and getting sh*t done when all I have is three minutes.
Making every moment count
Now that I’m a mom of two young children, I often think back to my pre-kiddo days and wonder in amazement at what I possibly did with all of that free time I had. These days it seems that there’s just never enough time to accomplish everything – but therein the problem lies the key to my sanity – I have changed my view of what “enough” means. If I were to wake up thinking about everything I have to achieve in any given day, I’d just as soon pull the covers over my head and hide! Instead, I tackle all of my obligations in bite-sized increments… and you’d be surprised what you can do in as little as three minutes. Since I am a work from home mom, each day consists of meeting writing deadlines, caring for my children, and of course, loads and loads of housework. Juggling these three duties means that this is one of the most challenging times in my life, but I am learning every day that it’s not just about seeing how much I can accomplish in a short amount of time, it’s about making every moment count.
Here are my tips & tricks for making the most of limited time – all can be accomplished in 3 minutes or less
Mama and baby watering from Shutterstock.
1) Turn household chores into bonding times with kids
Whenever I need to water my plants, I enlist the help of my daughter Olivia, age 4, who loves to play gardener and attend to the plants. We also like to make fruit smoothies together, or do an alphabet puzzle with my son, Ashton, 18 months.
2) Turn clean-up time into fun with music
Jack Johnson’s song “3 R’s” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) runs 2 minutes and 54 seconds. When I see our front room flooded with toys, I crank up this tune and tell my kids to dance and sing around the room while picking up toys… and hurry! “Everything has to be in a toy bin before the song ends!” The power of music should never be underestimated when it comes to completely changing the mood of a home.
3) Enlist little helpers for laundry duty
My laundry basket breeds dirty clothing, and let’s not even talk about the bottomless cloth diaper pail. There’s always laundry to be washed and folded, so I partner up with my daughter Olivia who likes to be in charge of folding washcloths, towels and underwear, and her personal favorite: “marrying” the socks to each other.
4) Organize Misson Control
Mission Control is also known as our dining room table. Try as I may to keep it free and clear, it always turns into catch all for bills, receipts, magazines, (heck, I’m going to look at it right now and tell you what’s on it at the moment): markers, a headband, my son’s favorite stuffed animal, remote controls, and roughly 7.2 million bits of paper that my daughter has done “art” on. In three minutes, I can file all of the loose paperwork into the labeled accordion file I keep at one end of the table, I can wrangle my daughter’s artwork together and put it in her art box, and I can put all of the stray clutter back in its place, and give it a quick wipe-down at the end. Whenever this table is clutter-free and clean, I feel like I can breathe a little easier.
5) Capture and Immortalize the Chaos
In three minutes, I can take several snapshots of my kids, because at any given moment, they’re doing something noteworthy in my book. My daughter refuses to walk around in anything other than formal attire from dawn to dusk, from the dress and the white gloves, to the tiara and glitter shoes, she literally glides through life with a grace I can only imagine. And my son is at that stage where everything is a momentous discovery -and photographing his enthusiasm (he actually ran up to a parking meter, threw his arms around it and hugged it as though it was a long-lost friend yesterday) reminds me of what really matters: gratitude for everything. If my camera isn’t handy, I actually send myself quick email reminders on my iPhone of funny things they’ve said or done, with their name in the subject line. So one day, when they’re off living their lives, I can search for their names and write all about our memories in the baby journals I am glad I don’t have time to fill out now.
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Handshake photo from Shutterstock.