Time saving hacks for working parents and writers

While my weekly schedule may not be exactly the same every week, there are certain things that help no matter what. While these may not be super original hacks, the more I see them mentioned by others, the more I feel like I am doing something "right."

First, a huge help to our sanity is doing food prep on the weekends. This means that dinner during the week is just heating something up. Any parents out there who haven't done this yet, um, seriously, do it! It's life changing. Less fun than the fancy sexy dinners from pre-baby days, but priorities, people! Even just chopping veggies can save previous minutes during a hectic weeknight.

Also, there is always a frozen pizza or two around for those nights that all I can manage is turning on the oven. (Shhh, don't tell my French mother-in-law I'm feeding her grandson pizza!)

I recently discovered all the great writing/self-publishing podcasts out there. We moved a few months ago, and I am in the car more than I was before, so I listen to at least 3 hours of podcasts per week. (I'll do a full list of what I listen to soon.) This is a great way to maximize down time, so that the few hours I have in the evenings can be more focused on writing.

Another great use of my phone has been Evernote. I see it mentioned by nearly everyone, because it really is great. I know I'm not using it to its full potential, since I mainly use it to jot down ideas and make huge lists. But even that is super helpful. No matter where I am, as long as I have my phone, I can save ideas and links as soon as they come to me.

My phone in general is just an awesome tool. Like yesterday when my computer charger broke (panic!!), I was able to research, do Facebook stuff, write a blog post draft in Evernote...Basically everything I do on the computer, except actually write. Though I know lots of writers have the Scrivener app on their phone and do use it to write, maximizing downtime even more, like when they're waiting in line somewhere or on their lunch break.

Scheduling as much as possible in advance is key to this writing/parenting thing. Facebook posts, blog posts, everything can be done far in advance. In June, for instance, I had every single blog post (except this one, funnily enough) drafted and nearly complete by the beginning of the month. So all I had to do was double check links and spelling, and hit "schedule." A few hours one weekend = more hours during the rest of the month for writing.

None of this is really new stuff, and the main theme is "plan/schedule" as much as possible, which parents tend to be pretty good at anyway. I have a great planner I bought at the beginning of June, which I'll do a full post on soon. It really helped me get a handle on what I want to do, and when I need to be doing it. So while I might not be able to plan when my charger breaks or my son is sick, at least I can quickly look at my week and know that there is time to move stuff around and get back on track!

What are your hacks? Do you use a planner?