Time-Saving Hacks for Busy Moms


When it comes to time-saving hacks, I have a bit of expertise. I have two young children, work full-time, am in graduate school, and manage a of lot “extracurricular” activities. For me, saving time is not a nice-to-do. It is a must. Given that we only have so many hours in a day, the way we spend them matters. I believe in cutting down time on the things we do not care about so that we can spend more time on the things that do.

With that, here are my best time-saving hacks for busy moms that have worked for me:

Leverage Your Calendar System

There is a saying that one should “measure twice, cut once”. When it comes to planning our days, this feels applicable. While I spend more time up front mapping out my calendar thoughtfully, it always saves me an immense amount of time in the end. Here are a few specific things I do:

  • Sunday Night Meeting: Before the week starts, my husband and I sit down for 20 minutes to talk through the week ahead. We look through the calendar, determine childcare duties, and align on our most important tasks.
  • Monday Morning Planning: I spend 60 minutes on Monday morning mapping out the week in as much detail as possible. I choose three priorities for each day (usually three for work and three for life). I get clear on my task list and make it realistic. An hour seems like a lot of time, but it saves countless hours over the week.
  • Weekly Wrap-Up: On Thursday morning, I spend 90 minutes re-calibrating. I look back to make sure I have completed everything I wanted to. I spend time looking at my calendar for the next week. I organize my task list and make sure everything feels important. I check my texts to see how many I have missed that week (I am notoriously a slow texter). I get everything squared away and still have 1.5 weekdays to accomplish work after this reset.

Meal Time Hacks

I am not an expert at meal prep, but I am good at making quick and easy meals for my family. Here are three things that make mealtime faster for us:

  • Dinner List: I keep a list on my notes app of about 15 easy dinners. I pull it up before I go food shopping to decide what I will make the following week, so I can shop accordingly.
  • Kid Lunches: When I am packing lunch for my kids, I pack for 2-3 days. While I used to make fairly elaborate lunches for them, I now keep it simple and sustainable. My go-to is a sunflower butter and jelly sandwich, fruit/veggies, Annie’s snack mix, and an organic cheese stick.
  • Sunday Night: While I have to keep things easy and quick during the week, I carve out space to cook creatively over the weekend. I love to cook, so taking the pressure off during the week, knowing I can make a feast on Sunday saves me time from attempting more elaborate cooks during the week.

My House System

To keep things running smoothly – and quickly – around the house, there are several things I do to stay on top of everything. I am someone who thrives in a clean and organized house and struggles when things aren’t tidy. Here is how I do it:

  • Living Space: Each morning and evening, I set a timer for 10 minutes and tidy up the kitchen and family room. These are our most high-use areas. Setting a timer encourages me to move quickly and get everything put away. Sometimes it takes more time, but the timer trick saves a lot.
  • Laundry: I do laundry at least every other day since I prefer to put away fewer things more often. I throw in a load before I sit down to work, and then put it away just after dinner while I am getting my kids ready for bed.
  • Projects: If you are like me, you probably have a list of projects around the house that you want to get done. It is tempting to focus on the easiest ones first, but the most important thing to do is to rank them. I look at feasibility (would I love a kitchen remodel? Yes. Can I afford it right now? Nope.), timing (is it really important that I organize my shed in January, or can that wait until May?), and importance. My husband and I choose 2-3 per month. This saves time by not making small bits of progress on things that aren’t going to be completed and instead creating more space to work on the most important projects.

In the end, my most important priority is to create as much time and space to spend how I want. I will leave you with this – try not to care about the things you don’t care about. Consider where you can spend less time, and what you will gain because of it.


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