Family Life


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How I create time despite being judged

Dear lady who looked at me accusingly as I walked into the library carrying my sweater-wearing kids, even though it was -5 outside. You can cut that out right now.

My children did not catch pneumonia in the 67 steps it took us to get us from the car to the front door. Nor did they have to be treated for frostbite, hypothermia or rickets.

Putting coats on kids for a three minute car ride is beyond ridiculous. I saved myself six minutes of putting stuff on, taking it off – and I don’t have to tote coats and hats around my library’s local book sale.

I’ve got six kids. To me, efficiency isn’t just some obscure goal – it’s how I do everything. By building smarter systems, I shave time off of just about every part of my day. Time is the most important thing I’ve got. It’s why…

…I make tomorrow’s lunches while I’m making tonight’s dinner.

…I meal plan for the week and shop once. I’m even getting better at chopping veggies at the same time for the ensuing days.

…I taught the kids the word “Checklist.” Before they transition to or from anywhere (house to car, car to school), I say “Checklist.” Each child recites what they need and what they need to do next. In theory, nobody should forget anything. Yes, in theory.

…I put all the lunch stuff in three places. I grab a basket from a drawer and two from the fridge. Three+ nutritious lunches in two minutes flat.

…We set up a locker room for the kids. Everything goes in the same place. Homework hits the backpacks as soon as it’s done.

…We cleaned out the garage and put the cars in there. They’re warmer in winter and I can give the kids an extra few minutes of sleep instead of putting on coats

…I keep a digital To Do list on my phone and the expected amount of time it’ll take to complete each task. The list (I use an app called Notational Velocity) syncs with my computer and my tablet. That means I can visually organize what happens when. Huge time savings for running errands and the small gaps between pick ups and drop offs.

…I bring my tablet with me and use it for good, not evil. Arrive for school four minutes early? Bam! I just paid the bills. Sitting on a bus heading into the city? Pick off this week’s Family Sized Blender. (Also why I use transit over driving – even if transit takes more time).

So yeah, judgey judgerson, my kids’ coats are sitting in the back of the car. It’s by design because I’m awesome, have already gotten 15 things done this morning and really don’t care what you think.

(But thanks for the blog post idea).

a man carrying two children

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