After slowly, lovingly settling my toddler and baby down for their after-lunch naps, I morph into an Olympic sprinter. I dump in a load of laundry, check my e-mail, clean up the kitchen, make some phone calls. The clock is running, and I'm determined not to waste a minute! With two kids under 3, every second counts. Sound familiar? Below are some strategies I've learned to make the most of my day. One of these afternoons, when I get everything done with five minutes to spare, I'll be kicking back with a cup of tea to celebrate!
- The number one way to keep your mornings sane: Prepare the night before. Choose an outfit for you and for every child. Pack lunches. Stock the diaper bag and your work bag so you can just grab and go in the morning.
- Designate an area on your to-do list, calendar, or PDA specifically for the morning, says organizing expert Jamie Novak, author of 1,000 Best Quick and Easy Time-Saving Strategies (Sourcebooks). Outline musts such as giving baby her medicine or baking cupcakes for your toddler's playgroup.
- Wear your keys on a stretch coil bracelet so your hands are free to carry your child or whatever gear you need as you head out the door.
- Hang a mirror outside your bathroom, Novak suggests. Instead of competing for time in front of the sink, you can do a quick check as you dash by. (No baby-food bananas smeared on my shirt? Yay!)