If you are like most moms, you are more than busy. Perhaps you are even overwhelmed. Here are 14 secret time management tips.
1. Track your time for a week. Write down exactly what you do every day and how much time it takes—driving, cooking, meetings, dressing—you name it. Once you know how you spend your time, you can make smart decisions about how to use it more efficiently.
2. Buddy up. Consider finding another mom that you can work with to share responsibilities. She can run some errands for you while out doing her own and you can watch her child for a few hours another day.
3. Be flexible. When the unexpected happens, know how to rearrange your schedule and know who you can call for help.
4. Be prepared to do something during waiting time. Use your smartphone or tablet to reply to emails, update your calendar, or make a to-do list. Always have other items with you to work on—a good book, a knitting project, or a report for the office, for example.
5. Learn to multitask effectively and safely. Do mindless household chores while on the phone, listen to books on tape while commuting, or pay bills while watching television.
6. Don’t be a perfectionist. Decide what you can live with and what really bothers you. Maybe you can’t stand dishes stacked up in the sink, but you can live without the bed being made.
7. Take shortcuts. Look for ways to delete steps from a task or shorten the time the task takes. For instance, set the table for the next meal with the dishes you unload from the dishwasher.
8. Get organized. Purchase a file cabinet to store important papers. Keep a folder for each child, which contains all of their information. Make sure that all important phone numbers are entered into your phones. For extra security, print out a copy to keep at work.
9. Put everything in its place. If everything is put back where it should be, you won’t waste precious time looking for lost items.
10. Choose the right calendar or planner. Paper planners, such as WhoMi, can help you organize work, home, and activities, all on one page. Free electronic calendars that consolidate multiple schedules, such as Google, are perfect for sharing information between family members. These calendars also sync with your computer and smartphone.
11. Use your calendar to its fullest. As you enter appointments, think about the “to-dos” that come with each and note those down. For example, if your child has a birthday party to attend you’ll need a gift, wrapping paper and clean party clothes for your child.
12. Take time to plan each week. You don’t have to spend a lot of time planning in order save a ton of time down the road. Be sure to plan your calendar, transportation arrangements, meals and grocery list, assignment of chores, and any child care duties such as bathing or helping with homework.
13. Develop a regular routine. Routines make for efficient time management. For example, each morning get up at the same time, check the calendar for the day, clean the kitty litter box, and empty the dishwasher. Every evening, tidy up the house, fold the laundry, and set out the kids backpacks and lunch boxes for the next morning.
14. Stay focused on the big picture. Ticking items off your to-do list may make you feel accomplished but always remember that the reason you’re trying so hard to be organized is so that you can spend more time with your kids. The dishes can wait if your child needs you.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com