3 Tips for Time-Starved Families

By ABC News

Jul 29, 2013 2:19pm

ABC News’ Amy Robach reports:

Natasha Eldridge’s day starts at 4:45 a.m. and ends with her collapsing into bed a little after midnight.

Despite getting barely four hours of sleep a night, Eldridge maintains a schedule that includes running an educational services firm, raising her two daughters with her husband and handling the housework.

“It’s my life,” she told ABC News.

Eldridge, unfortunately, is not alone. According to a survey by Working Mother magazine, nearly 52 percent of their readers said there were never enough hours in the day for all they had to do, leading to late nights and early mornings.

Less than 3 percent of women felt they had enough hours in the day to do what they had to do and 97 percent of responders said they felt stressed. About 52 percent said they were extremely stressed.

“Sleep was a major issue in our survey,” said Carol Evans of Working Mother Media. “They were willing to trade sex for just one hour of sleep.”

Elizabeth Grace Saunders, a time-management coach and the author of “The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment,” met with the Eldridge family to help them better manage their time.

Saunders said time was like finances in that it could be spent in a certain way.

“It’s OK not to be perfect,” she said. “None of us can do everything.”

She first met with each family member separately to find out what was most important to each one. Then she gave the family a makeover — and in the end, scored the Eldridges two hours of hidden time.

Below are the time-saving tips Saunders shared with the Eldridges. For more, check her site.

1. Think of Time Like a Credit Card. Saunders gave Eldridge a time-saving chart — a blueprint to help her find hidden time in her stressed-out life. She suggested the girls make their own breakfast in the morning so that Eldridge could get ready and be at work an hour earlier at 8:30 a.m.

2. Find Hidden Resources. Take walks as a family while quizzing children on spelling and math. The bonus: Fitting in some exercise while bonding as a family.

3. Simplify.  Saunders found that Eldridge was doing too many loads of laundry. If the girls wore some outfits twice, Eldridge could find 30 minutes of extra free time.

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