Time Management Tips For Busy Moms

Nov 14, 13 Time Management Tips For Busy Moms

Doesn’t it seem like time is constantly getting away from you? That is how I feel, like there are never enough hours in the day to get everything I want (and sometimes need) to get done. I found this exceptionally challenging when first moving to a new city. I did not know the routines of others which can influence things like traffic, line ups, and wait times. Now that I know my way around the city I can plan my schedule for running errands around peak traffic times.

It is often challenging to get things done around the house with children in tow (let alone leave the house); that is why I have put together these tips for making the most out of your time.

Tip 1- Be Prepared.

This tip is very important when you are looking to save time. Being prepared applies to many different things pertaining to in the home and when leaving the home. If you are trying to get something done around the house (like clean the kitchen) take an extra few minutes beforehand to get all of your supplies in place. If you are trying to do a few loads of laundry make sure you have the right amount of detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets so that you don’t run out half way through. A little bit of planning can go a long way when it comes to saving time in many different aspects of your life. Being prepared for times out with the kids can also alleviate a large amount of frustration. I have a ‘going out’ bag that I keep a few of the kid’s toys, snacks, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, books, and more. Having this bag prepared beforehand prevents me from forgetting things while I am in a rush to get out the door. This bag has been a lifesaver in many different instances because life doesn’t always go as planned and sometimes your kids will be waiting. Having items to entertain and feed your kids while out and about can prevent them from having a sour meltdown.

Tip 2- Be Realistic.

This is a skill that has taken me a long time to learn, and I have learned the hard way (many times). Although you may want something to only take so long, there comes a time when you need to be honest and set aside the actual amount of time that it takes to complete a certain task (instead of the desired). Being realistic about how long something will take you to do will prevent you from unnecessary stress. Learning to be realistic about time will also prevent you from constantly feeling behind, being late for plans, and more. Being realistic with others about your estimated arrival time will stop the humiliation and guilt you might feel if you are late and leave someone else waiting. I was constantly late to meetings and lunch dates because I wasn’t realistic about how long something would take beforehand. I always felt like I was rushing to meet my own impractical deadlines. Now that I have become realistic with myself and others about my schedule I feel a lot less stress.

Tip 3- Don’t Over Commit.

It would be nice to be able to do it all. There is no doubt about it. But the reality is that there are so many hours in a day and only one place you can be at a time. I used to feel as though my schedule was caving in on me. I had to fit in work, meetings, school related activities, kid’s activities, grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, and some sort of social life for myself. I never really looked at what pressures I was putting on myself unnecessarily. Then I started to look at it at a more detailed level, scheduling things not just daily, but also looking at my overall week, and then even month. This allowed me to have a better visual of what my whole month would look like. This way I can give myself some time off to breathe by making my schedule work for me. By starting to say those tough words like ‘no’ to others you let yourself off the hook. You do not have to say yes to everything, and saying no to people will not hurt their feelings, but cancelling on them will. I have learned this lesson countless times; saying no gives you the freedom to commit to what you want and enjoy your own time as well.

Tip 4- Utilize Your Gadgets.

Many of us carry around smartphones and laptops, but do not use them to help organize our lives. There are many cool apps that you can download in order to help make your time more scheduled and organized. Missed deadlines, appointments (and even TV shows) will be a thing of the past if you start to program your devices with your schedule. Some of my favorite applications that help enforce time management include:

Wunderlist

  • This app is super cool because it allows you to make tasks with reminders. You can also include groups which is great for team-based activities and work projects.

Evernote

  • The best part about this app is that it is free! It is also very easy to use. It saves your files, to-do lists, reminders and even social media interactions all in one place. It is the electronic version of the trusty old notebook.

Pocket

  • This app allows you to save important webpages, fun articles and even videos so that you can view them later. It is easy to use and acts like a personal bookmark.

If you are not a tech-savvy person, there are many conventional ways to help keep track of your time. A paper calendar, whiteboard, chalkboard or daily organizer can help you to map out appointments, events, and trips. You can be as detailed as you want, which can help you to keep lists and multiple schedules in check.

Tip 5- Be Creative.

Now each of us has our own unique (and sometimes peculiar) ways of remembering things. If you think back on ways that you used to study you may find that certain things helped you remember things more so than others. Some people remember things better through the use of visual aids, and others remember better through the practice of repetition.

I am a person that needs visual reminders in order to activate or rejuvenate my memory. That is why I use bright colors to highlight certain things that I need to remember. It is my own way of chronicling certain things I need to do. For example I use blue for all household chores, red for any work related items, green for my kid’s activities, and purple for my own social related activities. This is a way that I have found works for my brain to understand everything it has to do. Obviously this will not work for everyone, but it is an example of how to lay out your days, weeks and months.

I have also started to get my son involved in being responsible for some of his own activities. He has a large magnetic calendar that we populate together with his school assignments and extra-curricular activities. By starting young, my son he is able to feel a sense of responsibility and will learn what works best for his memory.

If you require a few reminders try scheduling alarms on a few devices (phone, email reminders). These alarms can be set a few days in advance as a reminder of important events and meetings coming up.

What type of time management skills do you use? Do you have any helpful tips to share?

 

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