Time is a precious commodity. The more ways we find to optimize our efforts, the more we will get to enjoy every minute of it. Here are a few ways to swap your productivity time for quality time with your family.
1. Swap Driving Duties–better known as “Carpool”
This has the obvious benefit of less time in the car driving to and from school and activities. This past spring I was able to take it a bit further though. I picked up my daughter’s friend on our way to dance class, but in exchange, I dropped off my two little ones. This allowed me to take the girls together to their dance class, while my toddler boys were able to play at a friend’s house instead of waiting for big sister to finish her class. Meanwhile, my friend never had to leave the house. I think it was a win for both of us. I’ve heard conflicting opinions about carpooling, but the key to it being worth your time is that it’s mutually beneficial and fair.
2. Swap Meals–also called a Meal Swap
It is always easier to make a double batch of something rather than making something twice. Why not multiply the benefit? I personally haven’t done this yet, but I’ve had a few friends that have done this with freezer meals and love it. Just as an example, have 6 participants, then assign each person 2 different meal types. Then each person prepares 6 batches of their two meals. Then swap. You’ll walk away with 12 frozen meals that are ready to go. Together the group can decide the guidelines, portion size, types of meals, how often, and food aversions. If you don’t want to coordinate with friends, there are several businesses like Super Suppers or Switchin’ Kitchens that make meal preparation easy. Another timesaver in this category is to use a meal planning website. It will plan your meals and give you the shopping list to go with it.
3. Swap your Food—Use Co-ops and CSA
Let’s face it. We are all wanting to eat healthier. If I took into account everything I should be doing, I could quickly convince myself that the only way to by-pass all the bad foods out there would be to grow our food myself. Since farm life isn’t for me, then the next best thing is to support my local farmers. Swap the time you would usually use shopping and order things through CSA’s (You can find CSA’s at this site) Even if you don’t want to commit to an entire season of CSA produce, then consider buying in bulk. Even shopping at Costco or Sam’s can save you a ton of time. A friend of mine connected me to a meat co-op. I was able to pre-order grass fed beef for $4/lb. Now I have a freezer stocked with good meat at a fraction of the cost if I would have bought it at the grocery store.
4. Swap Babysitting for Date Nights and Appointments
Dates can be expensive, but especially when you factor in the cost of babysitting. Find a friend that you trust and swap babysitting on date nights. Every month an amazing friend of mine and I get the privilege of either taking care of each other’s kids or get a kidless date night without the cost of a babysitter. It’s also helpful to find a friend that is available during the day. Between doctor’s appointments and random things that may come up, it’s nice to have a friend that you can call to help and know that the feeling is mutual.
5. Swap Crafts and Educational Activities
Craft time at my house is a favorite, but I find that it goes a lot better with a little planning. I have great intentions to look at Pinterest and actually pull together everything needed, but the reality usually ends up looking a little more spontaneous. Some girls in my neighborhood started a craft swap. I thought this was one of the best ideas ever. Each participant chose a preschool craft, then collected all the supplies needed, minus the basics and put it in a ziploc bag. We assumed that everyone had the basics- glue, scissors, and crayons. Then we swapped. I walked away with 18 ready-to-go crafts for the season. Now craft time can still be spontaneous, but it is much easier when I can just pull out a pre-made kit that is ready to go. You could also use this for educational activities for older children.
Time is precious especially when our kids are growing up so fast. The less time we can spend organizing, cooking, and planning, means that we will have more time actually living the life we are wanting.
What other time saving tips have you found to be helpful?