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Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life

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mother packing lunch for kids

If you’re like most parents, life can feel a little on the hectic side from the time you open your eyes in the morning to the moment you turn off your light at the end of the day. There are lunches to pack, kids to get out the door, bosses to please, friends to see, bills to stay on top of, partners to connect with, and homes to tidy. But while your overly full plate might not be changing any time soon, there are some little strategies you can adopt that will can bring some much-needed simplicity to your schedule.

Fill your kid’s closet with color-coordinated clothes. The last thing you need to worry about is whether your child’s pants go with their top and sweater. Mostly buy things in a few colors—like neutrals plus red or green—and getting them dressed in the morning can go a lot faster.

Practice the power of a thoughtful no. It’s hard to turn down an invitation, but it’s okay to try tweaking the plans a little so they work better with your schedule. For example, when your old coworker suggests lunch but you don’t have two hours for a leisurely meal, ask if she’d be up for grabbing a coffee instead. You’ll still get to see her, but won’t feel as stressed. And while you’re at it, be purposeful with the things you volunteer to do. It might be more rewarding to chaperone your child on a single field trip than it is to be part of the PTA (and less time-consuming too!).

Get a jump-start on school lunches. The perfect time to pack lunch for your kids is right after dinner—you have a lot of food out and the kitchen is already a mess. Take a few minutes then to pack up some leftovers and your mornings will feel instantly smoother.

Take a multivitamin. Sure, in a perfect world, you’d get all the nutrients you need for a healthy, balanced diet. But in the real world, one where breakfast consists of whatever your kid didn’t finish, you may have added some supplements into your diet. Instead of creating a whole regimen of single-ingredient tablets, take a multivitamin like Centrum, and work with your doctor to choose one that has the nutrients you need.

Give up certain errands. Technology has made it so you don’t have to spend all weekend going from store to store. Instead of running to the pharmacy and supermarket, switch to mail-order prescriptions and use an online grocery shopping app.

Automate everything. From paying your credit card to deliveries of dog food and diapers every month, the more things you can automate, the better.

Double every single recipe you make. It will take the same amount of time to cook eight servings of chili versus four, so why not make enough for leftovers for the week? Even better, pop some of the dish in the freezer for a meal down the road.

Switch to a shared online calendar. Nothing inspires panic more than forgetting your partner had a work function and realizing you need to be the one to go pick up the kids from soccer practice when they text you at 5pm. Avoid last-minute surprises (or wasting time checking in to see what people are up to) by using a shared online calendar that automatically syncs.

Get more great health and wellness stories at Parents.com/Strive.