You waited months for your little miracle to appear, but since baby arrived, days fly by at warp speed. While sleep deprivation plays a part in our perception, there is also much more to do within the same 24 hours. Regain lost time with these simple ways to add anywhere from five minutes to five hours back to your day.

photo: iStock

Track Items with Apps
If the average person spends 15 minutes a day searching for misplaced items like their keys, shoes or wallet, according to a recent survey, we’re pretty sure those suffering from mom brain (it’s real; it exists!) spend at least twice that. There are simple life hacks to avoid these daily pitfalls, like keeping a spare set of keys pinned to your diaper bag, but a more modern approach uses clever tracking devices like Tile, TrackR or Chipolo. These chips let you attach bluetooth technology to sneakers, keys, wallets and more so your phone can help you find them.

photo: Donnie Ray Jones via Flickr

Put Down Your Cell Phone
The internet is like a bag of chips…a box of cookies…and a tub of ice cream. We consume it in small chunks, most of us not realizing how many little bites we’ve taken until we’ve lost hours of our day, according to a Nielsen study. In fact, studies show that most of us now spend more time on the internet than we spend watching TV. While the average American is on their mobile device about 4 hours every day, a small study suggests that new parents spend considerably more time than the average person on social media. If you’re spending your child’s nap time posting baby pics to Instagram and Facebook, you may want to consider a social media break so you can use baby’s nap time for your own naps! More on why sleep is important below.

photo: Donnie Ray Jones via Flickr

Catch Some Zzzz’s
If you feel like simple tasks take twice as long since you had a baby, you’re probably not wrong. Fatigue causes brain function to slow down, which means you are thinking and acting slower. The first three months postpartum are the toughest: Studies show you’ll get less sleep during this period than at any other point in your life. And a new, small study demonstrated that sleep deprivation can last up to six years post-birth. The old adage “sleep when the baby sleeps” not only helps you stay rested but will help you tackle your daily must-do list with efficiency.

photo: Donnie Ray Jones via Flickr

Become a Better Jetsetter
Pre-bambino, getting out of the house meant grabbing your keys, wallet and possibly a pair of shades. Now, just running to the grocery store means packing a pint-size suitcase with diapers, wipes, bottles, snacks, a back-up outfit for blowouts and more. If you’ve gone from being punctual to perpetually late, try pre-packing your car (or stroller or diaper bag) with all your baby essentials. Turn your car into a mobile nursery unit by stocking multiple-compartment trunk organizers. Think beyond the diaper bag: Fill your organizer with the same must-have products you keep on hand in the house.

photo: iStock

Go Kondo on Your Clothing
Seventeen minutes. That’s how long it takes the average woman to pick out an outfit. Take the guesswork out of your morning routine by adopting a mom uniform and reclaim over a quarter of an hour every single day.  Thanks to Marie Kondo, it’s hip to wear the same clothes on repeat. Think Homer Simpson, but cooler. A capsule wardrobe—first made popular in the 1970s—is a curated collection of clothing staples that work for your everyday life. These could be pieces that mix and match well or a collection of the same types of clothes you like to wear (think go-to t-shirts, yoga pants and sneakers). Everything goes together, so there’s no thinking or planning. Or 17 wasted minutes. Create your collection with these 10 capsule wardrobe ideas for a new mom.

photo: iStock

Smarten Up Your House
Life is filled with interruptions: If you’re preparing dinner, the baby will inevitably cry for you. Feeding your little loves? Yup, someone is going to knock on the door soliciting for something you don’t want. The problem with all of these daily little hiccups is that it’s hard to get back to the task we were originally focused on. And the worst interrupter in your day is not your recent family addition, it’s you! A recent study found that we “self-interrupt” every three minutes. Most of us call this multitasking, but switching from activity to activity while we are still, um, mid-activity can cause us to lose minutes or even hours each day. You can remove some of these distractions by putting them on autopilot through the magic of technology! Let the door answer itself with a video doorbell; get a robot vacuum to handle the dust and dirt; and invest in a programmable coffee maker that lets you schedule when your next cup is ready.

Cut Haircare in Half
They say, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. (Who says that, by the way?) But, seriously, don’t toss out your beauty routine after baby. Self-care is important for new moms, but it can also be time-consuming. The average woman spends around 15 minutes blowdrying her hair. For a full wash, dry and style, it’s a whopping 40 minutes. Save almost an hour by skipping the shower and spraying on dry shampoo. If “dirty hair, don’t care” isn’t your thing, choose a hair dryer marketed as ionic or ceramic and invest in a blow dry accelerator spray, like Not Your Mothers’ In A Heart Beat Blow Dry Accelerator, both of which reduce the amount of time it takes to dry your mane.

Meghan Meyers

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