Three weeks into pre-term orientation at Wharton and I’ve identified time management as the primary skill that I’ll need to fully master as an MBA mom. Orientation activities are scheduled in a manner that seems to be targeted towards younger students with no children or major outside responsibilities. Some days, I was required to attend activities from 8 am — 8 pm. I would leave before Nyah woke up and come home after she was sleeping. Within the first week, I quickly realized that I must make smart decisions about how to spend my time. Although I have attended some social events to start building my network and engage with my new classmates, I was intentional about opting out of some social events — like beer pong and pizza parties — so I could get home to spend that time with Nyah.
Since starting my MBA program earlier this month, I’ve made adjustments to better manage my time as I aim to be crowned Time Management Queen. Here are some of my time-saving tips!
Outsource Domestic Duties
I am outsourcing my laundry. I found an amazing fluff and fold company in Philadelphia that offers student rates. I am paying a competitive rate for the cleaning of 20 pounds of my laundry per week for the entire semester. As someone who grew up spending my Saturday mornings at the neighborhood laundromat with rolls of quarters, I am loving the convenience of this service.
I opted not to have a car in Philadelphia and I do not have washer/dryer in my apartment (I live in a brownstone). So, the process of getting my clothes 8 blocks to the laundromat with Nyah in tow was too much — especially in the 90 degree heat the East Coast is currently experiencing. I can’t even imagine attempting this during the Winter months.
The company picks up my laundry in the morning every Wednesday and promptly delivers my fresh, clean laundry every Friday afternoon. For an extra rate, I can also send my dry cleaning with the same company. This is crucial for those days when I’ll need some of my business professional attire cleaned, steamed and pressed. I’ve been using the service for two weeks and I love it!
I cook to eat healthier and save money. I have been getting help with cooking from my brother/nanny who is actually a great chef. He has been cooking 2–3 times per week which is super helpful. When I do need to prepare meals, I make quick meals that take 30 minutes or less. To be honest though, Nyah would eat kosher beef hot dogs and turkey lunchables every day if I let her, so making gourmet meals is not a top priority especially when I have so many constraints on my time.
I’ve also implemented Take-out Tuesday and I treat Nyah to dinner at least once a week. We’ve had free lunch served most days during orientation which has been awesome. During the academic year, Wharton administration and student organizations host numerous events every day where students can hack the system and get access to free food. I fully plan to take advantage of these free-food opportunities.
Shopping online helps me save on trips to big box stores. I compare prices across different e-commerce sites to get the best deals. I buy almost everything online except groceries, but I am currently looking into options for grocery delivery. The benefit of tracking my packages online also helps me plan re-orders when inventory on household staples get low so I never run out of important items.
Braiding Nyah’s Hair
This is another service I outsource. I never learned how to braid. I just did not have the patience or the magic touch. Rather than struggling to maintain and style Nyah’s hair on a daily basis, I pay someone to braid her hair regularly. The various braid styles and patterns hold for at least one week which means that is one less thing I have to do. Nyah is enamored with the colorful beads which brings out her personality and her toddler swag. Luckily, I have already found a braider in Philadelphia who will be working with me to maintain Nyah’s signature cornrows.
These are the time management tips I’m currently using but I’m constantly trying to find new ways to maximize my time. If you’re a mom, these tips can be helpful even if you’re not in an MBA program. If you have tips that I’ve missed, give your input in the comments section or submit a guest blog post to us with your take on this topic!