In a day and age where so many things demand our time and attention, we moms need to manage our time more effectively than ever. Personally, between family time, coaching, training clients, going to auditions, spending some days on set, building relationships, writing new music, school activities and hobbies, all would not go very smoothly without good time management! I think it’s safe to say time management is an absolute necessity for all of us. Here are a few suggestions for making the most of your day and getting things done.
1. De-clutter (simplify)
De-clutter your to-do list by simplifying your commitments and activities. Every commitment should have a purpose, whether it be for income, intentional relationship-building, or pure enjoyment, just to name a few. Nothing should be done out of an external sense of obligation or social pressure. I mean, seriously: you don’t have to run for PTA president or head up your kid’s field trip to prove anything to anyone, BUT if you genuinely enjoy or find value in doing it, go for it! Choose what you believe is in the best interest of you and your family. If you had to pick just one action to apply right away, you can save yourself the most stress and trouble by applying this one.
The activities and commitments that remain after simplifying need to be prioritized. Don’t feel guilty procrastinating wisely on the small stuff, making the more urgent items, or the items only you can do, top priority. Commit to getting the necessary thing(s) you dread the most first thing in the morning (like working out, or calling the cable company), and get them out of the way. This will make the rest of your day’s to-do items feel like a piece of cake!
Determine what needs to be done daily, weekly, and monthly, as well as those miscellaneous things you’d like to do, but just haven’t gotten around to yet. Keep an organized planner or use one of many organizational/planning apps (like the app “Things”) to help you stay on track and on task…and also, to help with the “mommy brain” phenomenon that tends to happen. Oh yes, multitasking mama…I see you. If you find yourself constantly forgetting what’s next, or if you simply want to make the most of your day, it’s time to get organized. You may want to organize your tasks by approximate time commitment, or group tasks together by location or level of urgency. It’s up to you.
Don’t try to do it all yourself. As much as possible, delegate. Even the littlest of tots can help with something. Assign tasks to your kids such as washing veggies for dinner, sweeping, folding laundry, or even simply pairing socks or picking up toys. Don’t be afraid to ask your spouse or partner to help, even if they have the tendency to put things off for a few hours or days…or months. None of that beating-around-the-bush talk, either. Ask directly (but kindly:), and be specific.
5. Know and use your resources
While the present age has many challenges for the modern-day mama, there are also fantastic resources at our disposal that our moms didn’t have at our age. Take advantage of all those fab apps for on-the-go (Things, Reminders, Calendars, mobile banking, My Fitness Pal, Dropbox, and Genius Scan, to name just a very few!). Then you’ll be prepared for just about any on-the-fly quick item you want to wrap up between bigger tasks. Also, consider taking advantage of helpful tools like auto-payment for your bills (saves time on paying them individually and manually each month!), cloud-based syncing (so everything is current on all your devices and you can pick up right where you left off), and even setting up shared calendars between family members so everyone knows what’s next. Finally, as you are probably already a pro at, use the internet to save time outside of home. For example, shop for certain items online instead of spending time traveling to and from the store. If you need to pick something up today, research those items you plan on buying so you know exactly what you’re going out to get, or even purchase online and arrange for in-store pick-up. This definitely saves you time and hassle when you’re out running errands, especially if all the kids are in tow!
I hope you find these tips as helpful as I have. They’ve totally changed my planning and organizational strategies for the better. I’d love to hear how they help you, and what some of your favorite current time management strategies are. Now, then…since I’ve completed my tasks for the afternoon, I’m off to take a nap!