This is a guest blog by Cressida Martin. I've asked her to introduce herself here:…
I met Callie at a recent online networking event. Once we got to chat 121 it was clear to see that she could be a great resource to my mum clients, so I invited her to write a guest blog. Hope you enjoy her 6 simple ways to help reduce overwhelm at this busy time.
Please introduce yourself Callie
I’m a busy Mum of two, boy of 10 and a girl of 13, I live with them and my husband in north Oxfordshire. I decided to create ACED VA, a Virtual Assistance business, at the beginning of 2020.
My focus is helping busy Mums (& Dads) who just don’t have time for everything. I deliver home and business admin, whether it be diary and/or email management, creating templates, decluttering electronic files, researching new utility providers or finding ways of streamlining tasks to save time and brainpower. I love finding ways to become more organised and decluttering the home.
I’ve worked in admin throughout different business sectors and due to my husband having a demanding job I have always done the majority of the home admin and childcare, so I know how much there is to juggle as a parent. So, if you need more hours in the day and would like some help with your admin, please get in touch so we can arrange a free no obligation 20 minute consultation to find out how I can assist you. www.aced-va.co.uk Email firstname.lastname@example.org
6 simple ways to help reduce overwhelm as a busy mum – guest blog
I should warn you now that some of the following will take some time in the short term, but will save so much more time and energy as time progresses, so please stick with me.
Firstly, let’s look at meals, there is the planning, purchasing and making of food into meals.
Creating a meal plan can really help save time and brainpower for what food to buy and cook.
The timeframe of your plan is quite personal. Some people are happy to eat the same lunch and evening meal several days running, which makes buying ingredients and planning super easy. However, most of us like a little variety, so a weekly, fortnightly or even a monthly plan may be better. To start, write a list of all your family favourites, some meals you might like to have every week and others once every couple of weeks. Then consider which evenings have time constraints when a quick meal is needed. Try having one day for eating leftovers or for trying a new recipe or getting a takeaway.
You don’t have to religiously stick to the plan, swap days around if it makes things easier that week. The idea of meal planning is that it gives you something less to have to decide that day, also everyone knows what it is (anyone with children knows you constantly get asked “what’s for dinner?”). It also helps with the food shop as you know what ingredients you’ll need for that week’s meals.
The weekly food shop
This brings us to buying food. I love having my weekly food shop delivered. I sit down with a cuppa and place my online order whist I’ve got my food plan and shopping list in front of me. The shopping list I use is on my Amazon Alexa app on my phone. I’ve encouraged my family to tell Alexa when we need to buy more of something and they do, because they can just say it out loud without having to find a pen and write it down. Items may still be forgotten, but there is an opportunity to login and add those items later.
Now compare this to going to the supermarket. You need to travel there, traipse around the shop looking for everything, you spend more money buying impulse items, you then have to go through the checkout, travel home and unpack. Having it delivered to the door is far more pleasant.
To make this even easier some supermarkets will allow you to set up the same weekly delivery slot and even keep the same basic shopping list. This means you can just go in and add any additional items rather than starting from scratch
Which brings us onto cooking meals. By batch cooking, i.e. making a meal in bigger volumes, you are saving time on preparing, cooking and washing up. You can either eat the same meal several nights running or use reused takeaway containers to put portions in the freezer. Meals I like to batch cook and freeze are curries, soups, chilli, bolognaise and tomato pasta sauce.
Doing all of the above gives you microwavable ‘ready meals’ that just as quick to cook as a bought one and normally a lot healthier for you.
Buying greeting cards in bulk can save so much time. Just think, you have to travel to the shop, spend time choosing a card, travel home, write the card and typically post it at a later date. What if you had a box of cards at home, which you can just take a card, write it and post it the same day, so much quicker. Just make sure you have a book of stamps handy too.
You can bulk buy at shops or, as I prefer, order online and have delivered to my home, Flamingo Paperie is an online company which sells cards that are blank inside so you can write your own message. Ensure you have a stash of birthdays cards for male/female/ kids, as well as a new baby, congratulations, wedding, moving home card and sympathy cards to cover all eventualities.
Try to reduce multiple trips for different family members to similar appointments such as routine dentist and optician appointments. Benefits are less travelling, fewer appointments to remember and the opportunity to have a family treat afterwards.
Another idea is to get a hairdresser to come to the house to cut everyone in the family’s hair.
To reduce overwhelm try figuring out what repetitive tasks you do and how they could become automated, so they just happen, its not another thing to remember or forget!
This can be simple as setting up recurring subscriptions so that items you buy regularly get delivered straight to your home. There are now lots of subscription companies, many of which are eco-friendly and competitively priced where items can be delivered at a set time interval that suits your needs. Examples of items you can get on subscription are: toilet rolls, razor replacements, deodorant, dishwasher and washing machine tablets and there’s so many more!
All the above is much easier to implement if other members of the household have some input, especially the meal plan. They will feel like they helped create the plan, rather than it being something they have been told to do. For example, children could choose their favourite meal to go on the meal plan, decide which greeting cards that they could give to their friends and could even help with batch cooking.
Try to share the tasks as this will reduce overwhelm and make life more fun.
So, if you need more hours in the day and would like some help with your admin, please get in touch so we can arrange a free no obligation 20 minute consultation to find out how I can assist you. www.aced-va.co.uk Email email@example.com