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Eight Time Management Tips to Smooth the Home Groove

ATLANTA—Despite all of the efforts women have made to pave the way for equal opportunities, 72 percent of women still feel like they work a ‘second shift’ when it comes to taking care of their homes – according to a recent survey conducted by Maid Brigade and Mom Corps.

To further explore the challenges faced by working moms, Maid Brigade – a leading green house cleaning services company – recently hosted a live Facebook chat featuring a panel of nationally recognized work/life balance experts that was attended by more than 75 women looking for tips to enhance their lives. Go to YouTube to view the Women’s Equality Day video highlights of the event.

Recognizing every woman’s desire to carve out equal time to enjoy family, friends, and self, Maid Brigade’s Consumer Health Advocate Marie Stegner recaps some of the discussion points offered during the chat and adds a few of her own. Check out the eight tips below to help ease your daily routine.

1. Set goals and delegate—It’s done at work, why not at home? Setting simple goals like getting breakfast items in order or having the kids pack their book bags the night before can drastically ease the morning scramble. Get the rest of the family involved in daily tasks like preparing meals, doing laundry, picking up the house, grocery shopping, and yard work. Rewards can be as simple as a family ice cream night but will be much more than that as each family member feels they are appreciated for their age-appropriate contributions to family success.

2. Create an online family organizer—Keep a family calendar of appointments, shopping lists, and daily responsibilities online where everyone in the family can have easy access and update their information. Set it up so each family member gets a weekly email and daily reminders. Working Mother Family Organizer is one resource you can tap.

3. Plan meals ahead—As part of the family organizer, note the nights that everyone (or nearly everyone) will be home for dinner and plan out menus for those nights each week to reduce grocery runs (this will also save money). Or, even better, sign up for a grocery delivery service likePeapod and really streamline grocery shopping by putting in the order online. Services like these also provide tons of options including generating a list of frequently purchased items based on past purchases and offer many options for dates and times to have the groceries delivered.

4. Shop when the time is right—No need to worry about making it to the mall during precious evening or weekend hours if shopping online. Nowadays the mall is available at your fingertips 24/7. And, lots of retailers now offer free returns so seek those out and minimize the risk and add to the convenience even more.

5. Take time for you—Setting aside time each week just for you will make you better at everything you do at home and at work. Decide what is most special to you and schedule a time to make sure you don’t miss doing it. This could be as simple as getting a mani/pedi, reading a book for an hour on a Saturday afternoon, riding a bike, or having tea with a friend. Whatever it is, do it! And don’t feel guilty about it. The rest of the family will enjoy some bonding time and respect you more for it.

6. Set up a family charging station—With the host of electronic devices that surely every member of the family has, the house can turn into uncontrolled cord chaos. Set up a power strip near the door where everyone can easily drop their phone or computer for a charge when they come into the house.

7. Green your cleaning routine—Cleaning the smart and healthy way doesn’t take more time and choosing the right daily cleaning strategy including healthy and natural cleaning products will keep the house in tip top shape and prevent unwanted toxins to impact families’ health. Make homemade cleaning solutions using vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and water. Focus on critical areas of the home such as the kitchen and the bathroom more frequently.

8. Get help—Women are notorious for trying to do it all. To set time aside to spend with family and friends and maybe even carve out a few minutes for “me time,” get help from outside services such as a house cleaning service, lawn service, or personal assistant.