Timesavers for the Busy Parent

Multi-task chores (not your kids).
Get a hands-free phone so you can talk on the phone while dusting or clipping coupons. Record your favorite TV show so you can fold laundry or ride an exercise bike while watching (and skip commercials). Listen to podcasts of news shows while cooking dinner. Pack school lunches while cooking dinner or cleaning up. Time saved: 4 hours

Plan meals.
Create a detailed grocery list and make only one trip to the grocery store a week. Time saved: 3 hours

Reduce the mail pile.
Get rid of unwanted catalogs by unsubscribing at www.catalogchoice.org. You not only save trees, you also free-up time spent sorting and recycling unwanted mail. Time saved: .5 hours

Make soup.
Once a week, toss ingredients in a pot with chicken or vegetable stock and walk away. (Try celery, carrots, whole grain pasta and shelled edamame.) Time saved: 1 hour

Do you really need to wash windows or clean gutters? Consider whether a professional service or hired help could do it faster and, perhaps, less expensively considering the costs of equipment and your time. Time saved: 3.5 hours

Work during working hours.
Turn off your cell phone, PDA, laptop or other electronic gadget that connects you to work. Put in the time you need while at the office; everything else can wait until tomorrow. Time saved: 4 hours

Replace TV time.
Recent studies show the more TV you watch, the greater your chances of developing obesity and diseases associated with obesity. These statistics are even worse among children. Turn TV time into family time by substituting games, crafts, family walks or reading. Time saved: 5 hours

Reduce drive time.
Carpool, take the bus or coordinate transportation. Look for ways to combine trips or share rides. See if your child can take the bus to or from school or, if you must drive, share transportation between home and school or activities with neighbors. It not only saves gas, it also buys time. Time saved: 2 hours

Simplify your beauty routine.
A tinted moisturizer, lip gloss and mascara go a long way on a well-rested face. Time saved: 1 hour