One of the main questions I receive on a weekly basis is – How Do You Find The Time?

Now that I’m working in an office a few days a week, in addition to running StayStrongMummy – my routine and time management has been tested. But, I love it! I love a challenge and working out new ways to keep ‘the wheels in motion’ for a healthy and happy family.

I have listed a few of my own tips and tricks below that help me stay on top of things. Some of them have been a staple part of my routine for a few years, others I’ve enjoyed adding over the past month and make a great difference.

Here they are:

➕Kindy bags packed and put in the car the night before.

➕If doing lunch boxes, always make the night before.

➕Kids clothes and shoes (for the next day) laid out the night before

➕Three dinners cooked on a Monday (or Sunday if you work on a Monday!)

➕ Salads chopped up for lunches (in air tight containers so they are ready to grab n go). Plenty of protein cooked so I can choose what I want to add my salad that day. Ie – Boiled eggs, frittata, poached chicken breasts, tuna or whatever leftover protein I have from dinner the night before.

➕Over night oats and smoothies made up the night before for breakfasts the next day. My kids enjoy a smoothie with breakfast most mornings.

➕I’ve also been known to put the breakfast placemats, bowls, cups  etc out on the bench ready for the following morning! (This could be a little OCD, I’m still debating!)

➕In the mornings – there’s no mucking about. If I have planned a workout, I’m up early and get my 15 mins in. Then it’s breakfast for all, dressed, a little play time for the kids while I make all of the beds, clean up and get ready.

➕I lay the kids pj’s out on a bed for that evening (before I leave the house). This could also fall into my OCD category. You decide. But we bath as soon as we get home of an early evening and I love having everything ready to go in the one place. (My big girl has started doing this as a habit now. Once I make the beds, she goes and ‘chooses’ everyone’s pj’s and enjoys laying them out with her hair brush and books nicely for that night).

➕ I just love it when I can come home to dinner cooked and can just hang out with the kids rather than rushing about. It does take some effort and time in the short term, but for me – I feel like a weight is instantly lifted off my shoulders when I’m just those few steps ahead (for the bulk of the week, not all of it!). It’s still busy, but it’s more of a clam and collected busy!

➕I do my washing every day – I prefer small loads, more often.
➕It’s also about having the down time in the afternoons with the kids. They are still young – and while we are past that ‘witching hour baby phase’ that strikes at 5pm – my kids still get tired from kindy. It’s a big day of learning and exploring for them. So I like to help them unwind from the day by just being able to hang out with them, take the dog for a walk or do a little playtime workout.

➕ I don’t have ‘set times’ that I workout each week. I roughly aim for what days I know I can workout and just look for Windows of opportunity when they surface (general goal is three sessions a week). If we are enjoying a day at home and the kids are happy playing, I get stuck into a workout straight away. If I’m working, I either get up earlier or do a playtime workout when we get home, just before bath time. I also love to workout on a Saturday morning, it’s such a refreshing way to start the weekend.

➕ I don’t keep sugary, highly-processed foods in the pantry. I do a little pantry detox every month or so and have a clean out. I love having good, wholesome pantry staples readily available.

➕ I do an online food shop every week with Coles. I prefer Coles as they have have a wider variety of wholefoods and their own brand of certified organic pantry staples that are afforadable. I can browse specials each week and save my shopping list so it literally takes me less than 10 mins to do my entire shop each week. You can pay via eftpos in the comfort of your own home. I enjoy getting my food shop delivered on a Saturday morning – as I find it stops us eating out more on the weekends (it’s starting to get quite expensive to take five of us out for a meal these days!) and I’m all ready (and motivated) for my dinner prep on a Monday morning when the fridge is full.

➕ Allocate a few hours a week to just ‘getting everything’ in place for the week ahead. Write everything down that needs to be done – there’s something so refreshing about getting it ‘out of your head’. I’m old school and like proper paper notes/calendars on my fridge! In that time, organise some meals, think about what’s coming up tomorrow and what you could do now to take the pressure off tomorrow. Check in like that every few days.

➕ Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, moody or lacking patience – I know it’s a sign to workout. I get that 15 min workout in pronto and as soon as I’m finished – my mind is so much clearer and I’m reenergised.

Different things work for different families! Have confidence in yourself and make your own plan. One thing for sure is – if you want to spend a little time on your own health and fitness each week, than I do believe that having some routine and structure to your week is key.