Time… It’s the one thing in a day that we all have the same amount of. Yet doesn’t it seem like we never seem to have enough time to "do it all"? So, what is the key to having enough time for everything we want to accomplish in a day? Are you ready for the dreaded words? Time Management… and a healthy dose of realism.
We’re just going to give you some things to think about and provide a few suggestions for managing your time better. After all, you’re trying to manage your time not fill it up with even more things to do! Time management is merely the idea of scheduling your time as best as possible, so that you will be able to have enough time to accomplish everything you need to get done during a day.
Time Management can seem a little vague, difficult and some times even impossible for a busy mom. But, if you know how to do it, prepare a strategy and work that strategy with dedication then you’ll be able to manage your time better. Like most other things in life, it’s what you make of it. You can’t manage your time if you don’t put in the time to manage it. We know, we know. Seems like everything is like that, doesn’t it? Sigh.
So, what are some of the keys to Time Management? Below are some ideas for you to try.
There are many different types of systems available to work with. It’s important to find what works for you or you probably won’t keep up with it very long. Creating a system that works includes having the tools that you need. It might be a day planner, a simple wall calendar or maybe an electronic PDA.
Erin had always used a Day Planner, but one year she decided to try a PDA. After a few months, she realized that it was NOT for her. At least not for right now. So, don’t be afraid to try different systems until you like one. There are numerous options and they are there for a reason... different systems work for different personality types!
We've carefully selected a few of what we think are the best mom focused calendaring and planning systems and have reviewed them for you on our Calendars and Planners page.
Creating a schedule is much like creating a budget for your family’s income. With a budget, you tell your money where it is going to go, rather than not knowing where it goes each month. Do you see the analogy? In much the same way, a schedule tells your time where you’re going to spend it or how you’re going to use it. This way you do not waste too much time on things that don’t really need to be done, or conversely, spend too much time working. A schedule can help create a healthy balance in your family’s day.
Once you have created a schedule with blocks of time set aside for family, work, shopping, meal preparations, leisure activities, etc. you must stick to it as much as possible. This can be especially challenging for SAHMs and WAHMs because your day can change at a moment’s notice.
Jen is not real fond of "schedules" preferring to take the day as it comes. However, there are certain constants to many of Jen’s days. Each weekday Jen and her family get up at the same time as well as have dinner during the same time frame. So Jen can look at the constants and stick to those parts of her schedule that work for her family.
Of course, no one can truly decide how you spend your time but you. It’s important to be vigilant about not allowing other people to talk you into doing "just this one thing" (unless you really want to) or you’ll be headed right back to your time management struggles again.
Just as your budget may fluctuate with added income or loss of income, your schedule can fluctuate as well. No one knows this better than a mom. Things like your child deciding not to do a sport he’s done for years can free up time which can be used for more family time or to add something else. Whatever changes come up within your schedule, you’ll need to stay flexible and not get too frustrated when a day doesn’t go as planned.
Managing your time can provide significant benefits. While flexibility will be needed when managing a family along side all of your other responsibilities, the most important benefit is using your time more wisely.