With two kids running around all evening & weekend, and one of them climbing everything all day long. It’s challenging for a Dad at Home to find time for the necessary prep work and chores, to say nothing of finding some time for yourself.

Finding that time is extremely important, especially as it is going to be very difficult to have an adult conversation without suddenly having to change a diaper or retrieve a kid from atop the bookshelf.

Although this does require the cooperation of those around you, there are a number of ways that you can carve out a little extra time.

Here are 5 “suggestions” and how they worked for me:

1. Create a “stoplight” schedule.

A stoplight schedule is a 3-category schedule:

  • Red: Stop everything else, this must be done at this exact time on this exact date.
  • Yellow: Get this done today. When, isn’t important. But it needs to be finished today.
  • Green: Would be nice to do, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

This is definitely my go most important trick for keeping to task. I’ve modified it over the years, and I’ll get into the fully nitty gritty in a future article, but you get the basics.

If it’s a doctor’s appointment, school drop off, kid’s soccer practice, that’s clearly a Red category item. Also a Red category item? The once weekly or bi-weekly time that’s just for you and your spouse, and the hour or two that are all for you (maybe to hang out with your friends).

Yellow tends to be most chores, like dishes, sweep & mop, etc. Groceries are a Red category in my house, because of another time-saving option I’ll get to a little later. Yellow may also include stuff like look over homework, review school communication book, and that sort of thing. As I said, things that need to be done “sometime” today.

Green, as I said, is stuff that would be nice. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. Generally, this is for “fun stuff,” like watching sports & TV, going to a museum or science centre, or calling up a friend for a leisurely chat. Over time, you may find that most of what ends up in this category doesn’t happen, and you’ll begin to adjust what you put in your calendar.

You don’t need to account for every minute of the day. Blank space is a good thing, especially with kids, because you’ll quickly find everything takes longer than expected.

2. Save Time by Creating a Menu Board

Whether it’s a 7-day, 3-meals a day calendar, a list of options, or some mix of the two, a menu board can be a huge time (and money) saver.

We plan out suppers for a month in advance. This is the best route for our house, with 3 or 4 “quick” options to sub in when plans or palate’s go awry.

As mentioned, this saves in two ways:

  1. Since you know what you’re making, you avoid the “what’s for dinner” debate that never seems to end. You look up at the menu, take out what needs to be thawed in the morning, prep & cook it in time for people to eat.
  2. Whether you do your groceries weekly, bi-weekly, or COVID-monthly, you know exactly what you need for the meals you have on the menu board. Buy only what you need for the upcoming meals, and any of your emergency options, and you’ll be able to get your grocery spending under control.

On the Dad at Home Pinterest account, I’ve put together a bunch of pins with examples of menu boards. Ultimately, it’s up to you how you want to make yours. I’ll get into Menu Boards and Creating a Menu in more detail in future article(s).

3. “Free” Time? Don’t Nap

This is a hard one.

While your kid(s) still nap, it can be very, very tempting just to rest your eyes for a few minutes.

Don’t do it.

Yes, it’s tempting. You are, no doubt, tired. And yes, that pillow on the couch does look super comfortable. Honestly, throwing on some home reno or cooking show may be tempting (just for a minute). But you must resist.

Even if you plan on “just 5 minutes,” that’ll quickly turn into your kid(s) whole nap.

Guess what you could have finished during that time?

  • Dishes
  • Sweeping & Mopping (a daily activity)
  • Meal Prep
  • Laundry
  • Taking out Garbage, Compost, and Recycling
  • Updating menu board
  • Preparations for activities
  • A blissful cup of coffee (or tea) in silence

Don’t expect to get all of that done. Aim for 2 or 3 for a nap, and change which ones you do from one day to the next. Keep the last one though.

Everyday, during the nap, take 10 minutes for a cup of coffee (or tea) in silence. Trust me, you’ve earned it, and if your kids are anything like mine, you desperately need it.

4. Order Groceries in Advance to Save Time & Money

This may not be available everywhere, but if my small city in Northern Ontario has a few options, chances are, yours does too.

Remember that menu board we made up? We can use that to figure out what groceries are needed, and what week we need them. This is great because now we can actually plan (and budget) ahead.

There are a fair number of places that you can go to order your groceries in advance. Unless you’re in a big city, or have a membership-requiring warehouse (you all know who I’m talking about) in your small city, you’re generally going to have to go and pick them up. But even that can save you time & money.

First, shop to your list. You can pick out what items you need from your grocery store’s website. Get your grand total and book a pick-up time. Use your credit card, and that’s it. Everything is ordered, collected & ready for you at the designated time & day.

Not all grocery stores do personal shopping, and those that do aren’t really created equal. There are some pretty significant issues with some places that other places have somehow avoided. I’ll compare online grocery shopping options with which I’ve experimented in a future article.

5. Leverage Evenings

Yes, you’re tired.

Your spouse is tired.

Absolutely, laying back and watching something brainless all evening is very, very tempting.

But evenings are your best time to handle some of the bigger projects.

Looking to re-tile the bathroom? That’s 1 evening.

New flooring in the entryway? That’s another.

Need to mow the front & back yard? Get out there as soon as the kids are down, because the sun sets quick.

Although you could do “one big thing” every evening, it’s not sustainable. Especially if you also have to prep the kids’ lunches, clean up or prepare for “art projects,” or one/several of the many chores you didn’t get around to doing during the kid’s nap.

Aim for 3-4 nights a week. After you clear the “smaller” day-to-day tasks, relax the other 3-4 evenings. It’s important to get things done, but it’s also important to find time to relax.

Maybe even read a book, although I’ve a few tips about reading books that I’ll share a little later on.

error: Content is protected !!