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Learning to manage your time wisely is the key to getting things done on time and keeping your sanity. Check out these time management tips to increase your productivity now!
This month has been insanely busy.
I’ve spent my weeks in a frenzy, working like crazy on all the things, and accomplishing absolutely zip. Nada. Nothing.
The list of “stuff to do” kept growing and with it, my stress level and coffee intake.
Turns out I can drink two full pots before I get the shakes, in case you were wondering.
I felt like I was drowning in the sea of LIFE.
And that had to change.
Because no matter how hard we try we can’t add that one extra hour in our day.
Trust me, I’ve tried. Until I learn to double myself, and really, can the world handle two of me??, I knew I had to figure this out.
We all get 24 hours. That’s it.
The Key Is Using Them Wisely.
Let’s be honest, learning to manage our time wisely is not easy, it is a hard task to master.
You manage a massive workload. You try to look after yourself through self-care, you aim to keep the house clean and organized, you look after your family, you home educate your children, and you have a career.
Even though it is a lot to handle, you CAN do it.
Personally, I find that learning to manage my time is a cycle. I do really great for a while, then life shifts and I feel like I am drowning, and I need to learn all over again.
Life is about learning and change. And learning to swim.
Time Management Tips For Busy Moms
Below you will find a great checklist of time management tips.
As you work through the list, take note of any that you haven’t tried yet.
Plan to put them into action right away.
Because the hardest part of “time management” is changing bad habits. That takes determination to want to change. It’s not easy but it IS worth it.
1. Use A Planning System
Having a great planner can help you make sure you are getting what needs to be done, done!
But only if you use it. You might be shocked to hear how many moms have great systems collecting dust on their cellphones or bookshelves.
If that sounds like you, dust that baby off and let’s use it.
Fill in everything you need to do and be realistic. Don’t forget to include white space and buffer time.
Having a planner, be it paper or digital, allows you to have a great overview of your life.
If you set it up weekly and monthly, one glance will let you know what is coming up allowing you to adjust accordingly.
2. 24 Hours Equals A Day
Get real about the actual amount of time you have.
24 hours. That is it. We all have the same amount of time. It is how you use this time that matters.
The truth is, we sometimes think we have more or less time than that.
For example, if you choose to stay up past midnight working, you’ve moved to the next day.
Time is like money, it needs to be budgeted and spent wisely.
3. Set Work Hours
Dedicated work hours are vital especially if you work at home.
During those times focus on the task at hand. Set a start time and an end time. Make sure your family is aware that those time periods are blocked off and you are not available to answer every little thing.
If you have a door, close it.
If you haven’t trained your kids to let you work, start now. It’s easy to do, worth the effort and pays off.
All you need is a timer. And self-discipline.
Before you take a new role or job, make sure you can handle the hours and keep your sanity.
Because life is always changing be sure to check in with your boss from time to time to make sure the expectations haven’t changed.
That way when those “after work hours” emails and calls come in you’ll know how to handle them.
4.Use Systems & Checklists
Having the right systems in place will help you get things done.
A few systems to get in order might be:
- Use a paper planner with both a monthly and weekly overview.
- Use Google Calendar with notifications set to the day before a deadline or appointment date.
- Create daily to-lists in Evernote, printable planner or tear away sheets.
- Create meal plans for the week
- Create chore charts
- Keep a running list of grocery list items you need to buy on your fridge
- Pick out your clothes the night before
Systems, like the ones above, will save you precious time and help you make less daily decisions because the hard work is done for you.
As a self-proclaimed control freak who wants to do it all, delegating has been a battle but I do it.
Because I had to admit I can’t do it all. And I also want my kids to learn valuable life skills.
The time spent training them and the time I get back, once they can take over on their own, is valuable.
Teaching your children to cook basic meals such as breakfast and lunch, not only saves you time but helps your kids feel part of the family unit.
It also builds their confidence.
Learn to let go of a task. Learn to let your kids do it their way. Learn to not redo what they have done.
Refolding towels anyone?
It’s not easy but if you want to get more done in your limited time, you need to delegate tasks out.
6. Self-care Means More Time, Not Less
Most of us feel like self-care takes up too much time.
When life gets busy it is the first thing to go.
I know because I do it too.
But, when you let go of self-care you end up with no energy, higher stress levels, and ill.
Keep self-care simple and start small.
Block out 5-15 minutes a day and pick ONE thing you can do. Grab a cup of coffee and sit outside, read a book, learn something new. Anything that refreshes and recharges you.
Self-care can involve hanging out with friends or unwinding with pillows and a gratitude journal.
7. Get More Sleep
Do you have a night time routine?
I’ll admit, I do not. But it is on my list because learning to cope with less sleep has taught me just how vital sleep is.
“Enough” sleep varies from person to person but most “adults from ages 26-64 need 7-9 but 6-10 might be appropriate” – source Help Guide-Sleep
I gave myself a bedtime and also set an alarm on my phone.
The truth is if you are tired you will have less energy both physically and mentally making it harder to be productive.
8. Trade Your Time Wisely
In order to “get more time”, you need to give up on something else.
I recently “cut out time” to play with my kids. Which really means I had to give up something to do that.
For me, I often give up getting all my laundry done in one day. Instead, it takes me all week and I may never see the bottom of my basket.
I’m okay with that. It’s the price of the trade I am willing to make.
Or I give up reading for 1 hour and limit it to 15 minutes.
Or I use those “set work hours” and STOP working when the time is up.
No one can tell you what to give up, only you know what is vital on your list and what is less vital.
9. Identify Your Time Wasters
If you are a bookworm, I know you can relate.
Have you ever sat down to read and before you know it time has flown by? That “one more page” ended up being one more chapter?
Or how about Facebook or Pinterest?
Although both of these are powerful tools they can also be massive time wasters if we are not careful.
I recently took a productivity course called 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life.
Because I was working and working and not actually getting anything accomplished.
One of the tasks was to track your time for a few days.
I highly recommend it.
10. Eliminate Distractions
Now that you’ve identified your time wasters, you need to eliminate these distractions.
For example, if social media notifications are going off every few minutes drawing your attention away from the task at hand, you can turn notifications off or mute your phone.
I love this suggestion from Kay, “Make a category for it that says “STOP! Is this a good time?” It will at least make you think before hopping on to Facebook for a “few minutes”. “ –Source Productivity For Homeschool Moms
Technology may not always be “the distraction”. Different people are bothered by different things.
Things to consider are:
- Lighting in your workspace
- Sound or music
- Children playing
- Pets running around
- The chair you use etc.
Too much or too little of any of the above may be distracting you from your work.
If you desk is too high, if your chair is uncomfortable, if your feet don’t touch the floor and you need to steal your planner bin to be comfortable, *ahem*, these things can really slow down your productivity.
Check your list of time wasters above and think of ways to remove the distraction while you are working.
11. Set Priorities
A popular reframing technique is to change “I don’t have time for” to “It’s not a priority right now” and see how that feels.
This simple reframing helps us decide what is a priority right now and what can wait.
Setting priorities will help you to stay focused and not procrastinate. Make sure you put them into your planner or on your checklists.
I like to pick 1 main daily goal and 2-3 smaller ones.
I was inspired to do this because the printable planner I love has a spot for Top Priority of the day.
You can get it here, be sure to use our exclusive discount code: jenn25 to save 25% off.
Set aside time for them and get them done. You’ll feel great!
10. Outsource By Using Online Tools
Outsourcing is a great way to get things done and save you time.
I’ve noticed more and more ways to save time through online tools, even in my small area.
A few things you can get done online are:
- Paying bills online
- Reserving books from the library
- Grocery Shopping for pick up
- Grocery Delivery such as Amazon Fresh
- Shopping for clothing
- Buying Books (Amazon Prime Reading, Barnes & Noble , BetterWorldBooks.com. etc)
Think of the “errands” you run and find out if any of them have an online option.
Create a time block in your weekly schedule and get it done in one go.
Of course, you can also go the more traditional way of outsourcing such as carpooling, hiring a cleaning lady or trading tasks with another working mom.
12. Guard Your Time, Say NO
It’s hard to say no. But I promise you it gets easier when you practice.
This is especially hard if you are a “people pleaser”.
Note in the video below, Kristina says how hard it is to say no to nice people.
When those who genuinely need help, ask, it is hard to say no.
If you want to make the most of your time you need to say NO to things you don’t have the time or energy for.
Ask yourself these questions and be honest with your answers:
- Do I have the time?
- Do I have the energy?
- What am I giving up in order to do this?
If you can, by all means, say yes. But if you can’t, say no.
Life is hectic but you can get a lot done by using your time wisely.
As you work through these tips, take note of which ones you need to put into practice. If you are anything like me, some of these you are knocking out of the ballpark. Others, not so much.
When you start to feel stressed out and pulled in a million directions at once, check yourself against this list.
But don’t stop there!
The truth is, I am going to bet most of the tips above you’ve heard before. Am I right?
The key is the determination to make changes and put those changes into action.
You can read time management tips all day long but if you don’t do anything about your current time management system (or lack thereof) nothing is going to change.
You’ll still be busy all day long, working and working and not accomplishing anything unless you implement what you learned.
If one of the tips above resonates with you as change you need to make, be determined to try it out.
And get more done in your life today!
PS. If you haven’t taken 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life from Crystal Paine, I highly recommend it. It’s filled with some great ideas and doable steps. It was just the motivation I needed.