on the go

When I was growing up, my mom was always on the go. As a single mom and flight attendant, she really had her hands full. I didn't fully understand as a kid, but I can now appreciate the way she constantly multi-tasked and scheduled and planned to make it so that her days out of the home were as productive as possible. That way, her days with the family were relaxing, fun, and filled with memorable bonding activities. Here are ten tips I learned from my mom to help manage life on the go.

Ten Tips for Life on the Go

1. Write stuff down. Whether you use Post-it notes, a dayplanner, a desk calendar, or lipstick on the mirror…jot down the things you need to remember! No one can possibly keep all the important dates and tasks in their head. Lists are your friend.

2. Plan ahead. Going to the beach? Think through the trip – really visualize it – so you can gather all of the things you may need before you get there. For example, if you're going to the ocean where there's a reef, you may need water socks. These are things that may not occur to you unless you really take a moment to plan out the day.

3. Bring travel-friendly food. Have you ever found yourself scurrying through your kid's school hallway, balancing a mug of hot coffee in one hand and their latest show-and-tell project in the other? It usually doesn't end well. Try to pack drinks and snacks that travel well, like a can of iced latte from Seattle's Best. I like to drink them when I go on trips up the coast to see family.

4. Bring first aid supplies. Not only for emergencies, but also for the little bumps and bruises, first aid kits come in handy. No one likes to be trying to hunt down a band aid at the park!

5. Consider your daily duties. If you're traveling or have a particularly busy day planned, make sure to line up friends and family to take care of the home stuff. Have a meeting-filled afternoon and won't have time to make dinner? Think through what you'll pick up on the way home so you don't end up getting fast food too often. If you're going out of town, get a trusted friend or neighbor to take care of pets, plants and mail.

6. Take advantage of every spare minute. Whether you're waiting for your kid to get out of school or sitting in a chair in the appointment room at the doctor's office, you can be getting stuff done. Organize your meal plan, respond to emails or return phone calls in your downtime.

7. Automate whatever you can. Schedule emails to send whenever you need them to. Get a coffee maker that starts automatically in the morning. And for goodness sake, invest in a slow-cooker!

8. Hire help when you need it. If work is extra-busy lately and you simply can't get through it all, consider hiring someone to help out with the more menial tasks. A cleaning lady can free up your hands for a few hours so you can tackle that high-paying project that just landed on your desk. Childcare can give you some time to catch up on your sleep so you can approach life just a little more clearly. While I'm a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, even I can appreciate the payoff potential of having some extra help now and then.

9. Put your health first. Always make sure to drink enough water and pencil in time for exercise. After all, if you aren't in top condition, everything will just take that much longer.

10. Streamline. Don't cart around things you don't need. While you may think you're being prepared by packing a hairbrush, hair spray, extra shirt and extra pair of shoes everywhere you go…you're probably just slowing yourself down. Be ready for the occasional mishap, but don't get in your own way.

Now that I'm a mom myself, I truly appreciate the juggling act that my own mom managed while still leaving time for us to have fun. It's important to be on top of the little things so that you can take time and enjoy life. Do you have a busy, jam-packed schedule? What are your best on-the-go tips? And most importantly, what do you do to maximize time with your family?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seattle’s Best Coffee blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.