Managing your time as a busy parent can be a challenge, regardless of whether you work outside of the home or not. If you’re struggling in this area, the good news is you’re not alone. The better news is there are things you can do that will help you to get a handle on your schedule and feel more in control of your day to day life. While there’s no way to completely eliminate all the chaos of family life, the following tips should help you optimize the time you have.
Start by assessing how you currently spend your time. Which areas are eating away at your schedule unnecessarily? According to experts, most people waste up to an hour a day on tasks that could either be postponed or eliminated altogether. Be honest with yourself about how you’re currently managing your availability, and make cuts wherever possible.
The key to time management is understanding what absolutely must be done and what can wait. Experts suggest dividing your to-do list into three separate sections. One section for tasks that must be tackled ASAP, one for those that can be done at any time, and one for tasks that are either ongoing or longer-term.
Preparing in advance can do wonders for keeping everyone on track, as can eliminating unnecessary extra steps from your planned tasks. For instance, planning out meals at the beginning of the week, prepping clothes and lunches the night before, or setting the table directly from the dishwasher rather than putting dishes away first. These can all save you time and aggravation. We also highly recommend designing a morning routine – it sets the tone for the day.
UTILIZE THE TOOLS AVAILABLE TO YOU.
Thankfully, we’re living in a digital age where technology is making our lives easier by the day. Take advantage of the tools that are available to you, whether it’s using an electronic calendar to manage your family’s schedule, having a site like Bonnie monitor your family’s safety, or leveraging a task management app to help keep you on track. Research what’s out there, and choose the tools that best fit your family’s needs.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to kill two birds with one stone, and doing so can free up time in other areas of your life. Why not pay some bills online while you’re waiting for your little one to get out of karate? Or, invest in a Bluetooth headset so you can make calls while doing chores or driving to your next appointment.
You don’t have to handle everything on your own. It’s ok to recruit others to help when you’re feeling overwhelmed, whether it’s taking turns with another mom bringing the kids to school in the morning or giving each family member a list of tasks to tackle. Or if it is something you can outsource to a virtual assistant, do it! But read this first.
PICK YOUR BATTLES.
This is, perhaps, the most important tip because, let’s face it; as a busy parent, you simply cannot do it all. Decide what things you can live with and what drives you batty, focus on the latter, and let the rest go. Maybe you can live with a dirty floor until the weekend, but you can’t stand a sink full of dishes. Figure out what really matters, and plan your schedule accordingly.
It’s essential for your own sanity that you find a way to make the most out of every moment you have. The seven tips above should help you get your schedule under control so you can enjoy your family time with less stress and aggravation.