How to Beat Back-to-School Overwhelm: 7 Time Saving Tips for Moms Meraki Lane Brought to you by Interac Association and TheCo With back-to-school upon us, I find myself feeling both excited and stressed. I look forward to getting back into a predictable routine and watching my daughter grow, learn and make new friends, but the chaos of packing school lunches, supervising homework, and juggling extracurricular activities makes me want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head until June. Of course, we all know that’s not going to happen, and like many moms I know, I’m convinced this is going to be THE YEAR that I figure out how to keep up with it all. I made a commitment back in January to find ways to have more balance in 2017, and while I still have days where I fear for my sanity, I’ve adopted some pretty genius time saving tips for moms that have made all the difference. I can’t wait to share them with you. And don’t worry! I’m not going start preaching to you about how you should make sleep a priority, set your alarm an hour earlier, eat clean, and get more exercise. We all know those things are important, but they aren’t always practical, so I’m teaming up with Interac Flashâ to share 7 of my best time saving tips for moms to keep you focused and productive so you can concentrate on what matters most: your family. PREPARE We all know prepping everything and anything the night before can make a huge difference in simplifying the chaos of trying to get yourself and your kids out the door in the morning, but carving out a chunk of time each Sunday to prepare for the week ahead can make an even bigger difference. Do one big grocery shop, prep and freeze a week’s worth of meals, wash and fold all of your laundry, select and lay out a week’s worth of outfits for you and your kids, make sure the gas tank of your car is full, pack your gym bag, and make a list of daily goals for each day of the week to keep yourself on track. Which leads me to another one of my favorite time saving tips for moms… CREATE A FAMILY CALENDAR If you struggle to stay on top of the activities, appointments, and social commitments for everyone in your family, create ONE master family calendar. There are so many different ways you can do this – you can go old school and buy a calendar to hang on your kitchen wall, or you can download a fancy app that allows multiple users to make updates and changes – but the point is to have ONE place where everything is recorded to ensure you don’t double book or miss something important. CUT OUT TIME WASTERS We’re all guilty of wasting time on unimportant things that do nothing other than distract us from the things we’re supposed to be doing each day, and while it can be therapeutic to get lost in our Facebook feeds every now and then, we tend to underestimate just how much those kinds of distractions take us away from the things that matter most. Shut down your mail program, log out of your social media accounts, turn the TV off, and FOCUS on the task(s) at hand, and then designate your low-energy times (i.e. after the dinner dishes are done) for the less important, mindless stuff. STOP OVER-COMMITTING If you have a tendency to say ‘yes’ to every social commitment, request for help at your kids’ school, and family gathering, it’s time to stop. I’m serious! Ask your kids to pick one or two extracurricular activities to focus on throughout the year, and learn how to say ‘no’ to everything else. Remember to do it quickly – and honestly – and to stop feeling guilty about it. It might feel a little weird at first, but I promise you the short-term discomfort will be worth the long-term gain! WORK IN BATCHES ‘Batching’ involves grouping relevant tasks together and tackling them in one go, rather than splitting them up over the course of a few days. Many people do this in work settings, but what few people realize is how effective it can be in our personal lives as well. Set aside an afternoon or evening each week to take care of mindless tasks – cleaning, laundry, doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping – so you aren’t constantly borrowing time needed for more important tasks several times throughout the week. DELEGATE As moms, we have a tendency to try and do everything ourselves. It’s just in our nature to do this, and as much as we love having control over every facet of our lives – and the lives of our children – learning how to let go and allow others to take care of the little things is essential in helping us see the bigger picture and focus on the things that really matter. Assign age-appropriate chores to your kids, outsource the things you don’t have time for, and stop sweating the small stuff. EMBRACE CHANGE Oh boy. Change is stressful, isn’t it? Once you have your routine down pat, the idea of switching things up and trying something new can leave you feeling vulnerable and, quite frankly, scared. I find this especially true when it comes to adopting the latest advancements in technology, but have you ever noticed how, once you finally take the plunge, you wonder why it took you so long? It’s both frustrating and exhilarating, isn’t it? I recently had an experience like this while I was scrambling to buy groceries with my daughter after summer camp. We were both tired and irritable, and I still had to make dinner, give her a bath, convince her she was tired enough to go to bed, and take care of all the household chores I had been neglecting all day. I was juggling my purse and a cart full of food, my daughter was complaining she was hungry and desperate for my attention, the check-out lines were a mile long, and I chose the slowest cashier in the entire store. My blood pressure was rising and I could hear the seconds tick-tick-ticking away in my ears. When our groceries were (finally) bagged and loaded into our cart and my daughter was happily playing with a toy I’d found in the bottom of my purse while I was searching for my wallet, the cashier looked at my overwhelmed face, pointed to the pay terminal in front of me, and said, “You can just tap your debit card.” Annoyed, I explained I didn’t have Interac Flash. Up until that point in my life, it seemed like one of those technological trends reserved for the hipster summer students that work in my husband’s office. So, I plugged my debit card into the terminal and entered my pin while simultaneously trying to keep an eye on my daughter. And do you know what happened next? I forgot to remove my debit card. I’m not kidding. My daughter and I left the store, loaded our car, drove home, made dinner, argued over whether-or-not she was tired enough to go to sleep (spoiler alert: she was), and it wasn’t until I went to buy something the following afternoon that I realized my debit card was missing. Thankfully, I was very close to our bank, and when the teller handed over my shiny new debit card and told me it had Interac Flash on it, I decided it was time I embraced change. And I’m so glad I did! CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT INTERAC FLASH! I’ve been using my Interac Flash enabled debit card for about a month now, and it really is a fast, easy, and secure way to pay. It makes trips to the grocery store so much easier when my daughter is with me as all I have to do is hover and hold my debit card above the payment terminal, and I can do that without removing my eyes from my daughter. John Wooden once said, ‘Little things make big things happen’, and while Interac Flash may not magically organize my home and make me a more patient mom, it’s one of many time saving tips for moms I have adopted to make life feel less overwhelming so I have time for the things that really matter. My daughter, my husband, and me. Click here to try Interac Flash today and remember: If you change nothing, nothing will change. -Tony Robbins Interac and Interac Flash are registered trademarks of Interac Inc. Use0d under license. The Contactless Indicator mark, consisting of four graduating arcs, is a trademark owned by and used with permission of EMVCo, LLC. This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Interac Association/Acxsys Corporation. All opinions are my own.