Managing Your Time as a Busy Parent
Is one of your biggest complaints in life that there are not enough hours in the day? Don’t you wish you could either clone yourself, or make the days longer? I know I do. Sometimes, I get to the end of my day and realize that I didn’t accomplish half of the things that I wanted to do. And then I feel overwhelmed, or frustrated.
Recently, I took a seminar which showed me just how much time we spend waiting and wasting time. On average, each person spends over an hour per day waiting. In the course of a week, the average mom spends 15+ hours on Facebook. And time is our most precious commodity. It’s the one thing we never seem to have enough of, and it’s the one thing we cannot make more of. So the only option we have is to make the most of our time.
Personally, I spend around 3 hours each day waiting in car pick up lines at schools. When you add that together for one week, which equates to 15 hours. With hand held devices, I do try to use that time to deal with some of my work. But let’s face it, its hard to write a novella from the front seat of a minivan. One thing I learned with the seminar is that the time spent waiting, and driving around time is the perfect time to make all those pressing phone calls. Call the parents, make the doctor appointment, order the cake etc. Instead of doing these things during what I consider my ‘quiet time’ at home, I now take care of these things on the road. This way I can capitalize on my alone time working.
During my wait times in car rider lines, I try to answer emails from my phones, update Facebook statuses for both of my Facebook pages, and make sure that I am supporting my community of bloggers. This is a great time for me to read new blogs and to make comments, and luckily, my smart phone enables me to do just that.
Another skill I learned is to devote 15 minutes per day to list making. Every morning while I have my coffee, I sit down and write down lists. There may be a to do list, a to-buy list, and an idea list, and even a to think about list. Writing them down enables me to focus my energy all at once and helps me with planning my day. And, it alleviates the pressure I often feel throughout the day to remember every little detail. If something doesn’t make ‘the list’, it gets put on the tomorrow list. Seriously, this 15-minute organizational tool has been priceless.
Next up, is to prioritize. What is important to you? Yes, you want to get the house cleaned and the laundry done – but you also really want to take a yoga class. If your time is limited, you need to pick and choose the best things for YOU, especially if your time is limited. And, if you have children who are involved in sports – instead of waiting during their practices – utilize that time to take class of your own.
Last but not least. Learn when to say UNCLE! Have a quitting time. Make a point that you have a distinct end to your day. People who work outside of the home get off at a certain time, and you SHOULD too! If you haven’t got the last load of laundry in by 9pm, then guess what….it will wait. Take some time to relax, and to ease your mind and to simply let things go. In the long run, this will save your sanity and increase your quality time with your family.
What strategies have you put into place to help with managing your busy schedule?