Over the last year, I’ve decided that 60-hour work weeks aren’t particularly conducive to family life, so I’ve been exploring various time management books, articles, and APPS. Time is a precious commodity, so I want to make sure that I spend it wisely. Not surprisingly, as I become more adept at managing my working hours, I’ve found that many of the same principles of time management apply equally well at home – and in the kitchen. Here are a few favourites.
- Set Goals! In business and in life, it’s hard to get where you want to be if you don’t know where you’re going. Want to spend more time together and eat better? Write it down! Examples of September goals might be: “Eat a sit-down family dinner 4 times per week” or “eat 2 servings of vegetables at each meal.”
- Just Say No! If you and your family are constantly on the run, cranky, and out of touch with each other, it’s time to start saying “NO” to some outside commitments. The goal of enjoying a family dinner 4 nights per week CAN become a reality! Decide what is truly meaningful or enjoyable to you and start letting the rest go. Even one “NO” can make a big difference.
- Establish Routines! Make grocery lists so that shopping is as quick and efficient as possible. Prepare lunches the night before (with the kids’ help, of course). Cook double batches and freeze the leftovers. Find a few easy recipes and have them be your “go to” meals on busy days. Spaghetti Sundays and Tuna Casserole Tuesdays? Go For It!
- Delegate! “Everybody eats, so everybody helps.” Get the family involved in meal preparation – everything from deciding on menus to putting away groceries. Even the youngest kids can set the table or unload the dishwasher. For families with older kids, consider assigning one meal per week to each family member; this may take some patience in the beginning, but it will pay off in the long run.
- Get Outside Help! Enjoy takeout together every now and then. Bagged salads and pre-washed, chopped veggies are some of the greatest inventions EVER! Another option is to get help from a service like SupperWorks to do the time-consuming shopping, meal prep and cleanup so you can stock up on hand-made, oven- ready, freezeable meals.
When you apply these simple rules of time-management to home-life and meal-making, your kids will learn invaluable life skills AND you can carve out time to make the family meal a priority. The most important goal, of course, is to create a consistent, safe place to share the experiences, challenges and triumphs of the day, while relaxing and staying close.
Visit www.supperworks.com to see how SupperWorks helps busy people eat well, with delivery, pick-up, and in-store meal assembly sessions.
Joni Lien (B.A, MSW) is the proud co-founder of SupperWorks and has been helping busy people eat well since 2005.