Like every busy working mum, I’m constantly juggling work and family. So I’m always on the lookout for tools to save time so that I can spend more quality time and have more fun with my family.
Here are 5 of the best tools for busy mums to save time for a better work-life balance
Trello to organise your family
Now let’s review each time-saving tool in more detail.
1. Trello online tool
I’ll start with my personal favourite.
One of the best time-saving tools that keeps me and my family organised is Trello, an online visual collaboration tool.
I use Trello for my business. For example I keep a track of what I’m doing for specific clients. I use it to manage my weekly podcast show to keep track of which guests have replied and which shows have gone live.
I also use Trello to organise my family. I keep a To Do list as well as a project list. We have a family Wishlist board which comes into its own at Christmas. Every family member has a list on the Wishlist board and add to it through the year. We recently created a Food board to share favourite foods and recipes.
You get a sneak preview of how I use it here.
2. Slow cooker
OK hands up who has a slow cooker? I don’t. BUT ….. when I started to ask other busy mums, what’s your best time-saving tool, a slow cooker was the item that came up time and time again. You can even cook macaroni cheese in a slow cooker. Who knew.
What other mums love about a slow cooker:
- The cooker works while you’re at work so the family meal is waiting when you get home.
- Although it doesn’t save on preparation time, it does mean you can put the ingredients in the pot and not worry about getting distracted.
- You come home to a house full of wonderful cooking smells.
One mum let me into a neat trick about slow cookers. The more expensive ones have in-built timers. As a single mum, she wanted a cheaper option. She bought a cheaper slow cooker, then built and timer plug. Hey presto, she now has a slow cooker with a timer but paid a lot less for it!
Other ‘cooking’ tools that mums rave about: food processor, rice cooker, pressure cooker or a Thermomix.
3. Meal planner
The meal planner in my house is an absolute essential. It means we’re never stuck trying to figure out what to cook. We know what needs to go on the weekly shopping list. We are better at planning quick meals for those evenings when my girls have dance rehearsals, or I’m running an evening workshop.
We use the monthly meal planner as a way of trying out new dishes so we don’t stuck eating the same meals week in, week out.
My girls feel like they have more say in what we eat as a family. Right now they’re keen on us eating more vegetarian food hence the Food board on Trello.
I loved the Action Sheets from Kelly Pietrangeli at Project Me. She offers a weekly meal planner but I also love her 21 Meal Ideas list. Visit her website here to download her free action sheets.
4. Recipe kits
Online shopping is an absolute blessing for many of us.
But here’s another time-saving tool that I really think you should try. And yes I know it’s about cooking again but family mealtime is really important. Family meals are more enjoyable when you can sit down together feeling less stress and frazzled from food preparation. The caveat here is that my husband does about 95% of the food shopping and cooking in our house.
Cooking kits or recipe kits are growing in popularity. Mums love them because they bring back the joy of cooking. It cuts out the mundane boring parts such as figuring out what to cook, finding the recipe and doing the shopping.
I’m tempted to give this a try. One mum told me it saves her money because she wastes less food. Check out this review in The Independent on the best recipe box delivery services.
5. Meditation for inner peace
When you are trying to juggle work and family, sometimes it’s not about ‘saving’ time but about making the most of the time you have.
Neuroscience tells us that long term meditation and mindfulness practice is good for us. Meditation practice has been shown to help with stress relief, improve your memory, focus more and sleep better. But many of us struggle to find the time to do this.
That’s why I love the idea of an app such as Headspace for meditation made simple. Headspace offers a free Basics pack to guide you through the essentials of meditation and mindfulness.
Using an online app helps you make the time to meditate so that you feel less stressed and able to better juggle work and life.
What tools do you recommend to help busy mums save time?
Now that I have shared five of my favourite time-saving tools to help busy mums juggle the demands of work and family, I’d love to hear from you. Do share in the comments which of these tools you’re already using and what you like about them. Or perhaps you have a brilliant tool that’s not on the list and you’d love to share with other mums.