Parenting Work Life

Time saving tips for working parents

October 30, 2017

As a working parent, one of the things you will feel most is that there aren’t enough hours in the day. I certainly felt that way when I went back to work after our first daughter.

Suddenly I was working four days a week with a hour’s commute each way and the time I was at home I wanted to spend with my family. Of course there are other things that need to be done when at home so I had to try and find ways to manage my time effectively to make life easier, for us all.

One of the biggest secrets of being a successful working parent, whether that’s working in an office, from home, part time or full time is to be honest with yourself and about your limits. It is impossible to do it all, so at some points you may need to accept help or push back on certain things.

Here are the things I have learnt in my new role as a working parent.

8 time saving tips for working parents

Plan, plan, plan

It sounds obvious but plan everything. As a couple we always try and sit down on a Sunday evening and plan out our week. Who is out when, who has a work commitment, who has a big deadline. We could then work out any problems with childcare or who might need to do more that week. This made life so much easier, we could schedule in help from family if needed and it saved us time worrying about things as they came up.

We also meal plan, religiously. I plan out meals for the girls every week, we use Hello Fresh and we have a slow cooker. It really has saved us so much time. We spend less time thinking about meals on a daily basis and less time doing top up shops, which has also saved us money.

I also try and batch cook when I make certain meals. Having a meal for the children in the freezer can be so handy and doesn’t take lots more effort.

Check out my youtube video for more on our meal preparation…

Do your preparation

We get everything ready the night before. Bags are laid out, lunch boxes are packed as much as they can be and we check clothes for everyone so there are no last minute panics in the morning when we can’t find shoes or nursery clothes.

Try to also work out when your little ones rise and get up a few minutes before. This will allow you to get ready without a child climbing on you and will speed everything up once they are awake.

A little extra tip… Get ready and then throw on a light dressing gown. If sticky hands, runny noses or breakfasts get close to you it just means you can whip off the dirty dressing gown and your clothes are work ready. This has saved me many times!

Say no

Time is precious full stop, but time is even more precious as a working parent. Think before you accept something, do you really need to do this task? How much time will it take? I said yes to far too many things before having children and often regretted some of them. Being a working parent has made me much stricter on my time.

Use your ‘free time’ to get stuff done

Commutes (if on a train) and lunch breaks are valuable ‘free time’. Use this time to get meal plans done, online shopping ordered, pay bills and life admin organised. This means that when you get home you can spend time with your family instead of worrying about getting all your admin done.

Get your house working whilst you’re away

Put on a wash just before you leave the house, then put it in the tumble drier when home. Buy a slow cooker and have meals ready. Hire a cleaner to do the big jobs like cleaning floors and bathrooms. All of these things will save you time in the long run as you won’t be waiting for a wash to finish at 9pm and dinner can be ready.

Don’t save everything for the weekend

It’s so easy to leave jobs for the weekend if you’re tired after a full day at work, but once the weekend arrives it can feel overwhelming if you have left everything for those two days (when you also have a child/ren to amuse). Split the jobs out over the week and it will leave precious time for the weekend.

Divide and conquer

It may sound awful to have a rota but splitting jobs and having roles in the house can save so much time. If one person always empties the dishwasher and the other always takes out bins it means it’s not all left to one person and things can be sorted quickly in the morning.


For us routine has been key. We had a schedule for who was dropping up or picking up, we had set bedtimes for everyone and we tried to always get up at the same time. This avoided any last minute rushed mornings, made sure everyone had sleep and we had no ‘who is getting the baby from nursery tonight’ panics.

With preparation, communication and accepting help being a working parent doesn’t have to be stressful and can work really well.

How do you manage working with children? Do you have any other good tips?

Sarah x

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  • Reply Tanita October 30, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Great tips Sarah I really think routine and planning makes for an easier life, although its never easy to juggle it all it doe make it more manageable having a routine you stick by for meal plans and for cleaning. xx

    • Reply Sarah November 2, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      No it’s definitely not easy but I’ve found these things really do help make it a hit more manageable xx

  • Reply Rabbit Ideas November 1, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Great tips here- I am a recent slow cooker convert and LOVE it! Also agree with putting on a wash/dishwasher before leaving in the morning. Thank you for sharing #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Reply Sarah November 2, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      Oh gosh yes he last two are the best, makes such a difference! X

  • Reply Kelly | and Jacob makes three November 1, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Great tips. The dressing gown one is definitely one I need to try! I also need to work on meal planning. I just struggle to get motivated #fortheloveofblog

    • Reply Sarah November 2, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      I was the same, but the weeks I forget I am so stressed and spend so much more! Maybe set aside a Sunday evening for 10 mins and you’ll soon get into the swing of it xx

  • Reply laura stevens November 2, 2017 at 9:13 am

    I really needed this post, some great tips. I’m feeling so over whelmed at the moment, there isn’t enough hours in the day! #thursdayteam

    • Reply Sarah November 2, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      I always feel a tiny bit overwhelmed but this definitely does help me, especially the meal planning x

  • Reply mummyhereandthere November 2, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Yes agree with time management and having a plan always helps keep me focused and in control X #thursdayteam

    • Reply Sarah November 2, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Yes a plan helps massively! Thanks for reading x

  • Reply Nicole - Tales from Mamaville November 2, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Brilliant post! Such practical tips… just the motivation I needed. Especially where meal planning is concerned. Sharing x

    • Reply Sarah November 2, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Thank you. Yes meal planning has changed my life, sounds dramatic but it really has helped! X

  • Reply Aleena November 2, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    So many good tips Sarah! We use most of these handy tips too, and it makes life just that little bit easier. x #ThursdayTeam

  • Reply Ali Duke November 3, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I agree that planning is key. I must look at meal planning, I am sure that would help me out a bit.

  • Reply Tim November 3, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Good tips. We divide and conquer with our kids at weekends – we do some stuff together as a family but often one of us will take Kara to gym class, say, while the other does something with the boys and so on. That way we ensure that each of them gets a little one-to-one time with one of us at some point. It’s important to give them that as well as ‘family time’. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Reply Cardiff Mummy Says - Cathryn November 3, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Such good tips here. We also sit down on a Sunday night and plan for the week – who needs to be where and when and what we are all eating. Meal planning makes life so much easier as well as batch cooking. I feel like life is such a juggle sometimes but being prepared and organised makes life so much easier. X

  • Reply The Mummy Bubble November 5, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Great tips Sarah, divide and conquer is a very important one. For me it’s been accepting my limits and knowing I cannot do it all and give everything to my job, my kids and my house. Something has to give sometimes and it’s best to not criticise myself when I’ve not done everything I wanted to achieve. X #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Reply Kelly Edwards November 6, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Yes yes yes! Such fab tips and some that I already use so thank you! I WISH I could have a cleaner though. Or a live in maid! Thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofblog x

  • Reply Helen Francis April 12, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Great tips! I have also found that showering the night before was a godsend when I went back to work, saving a panic in the morning that I wouldn’t have time to do it or setting my alarm even earlier in order to fit it in!

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