Since the arrival of my little one, some months ago, time management has been a big issue for me. Prior to her arrival, I always had many things going on in my life but I always seemed to be on top of things. When she arrived, she brought her own schedules/plans etc which has doubled my commitments. As a mama who wants the best for both myself and my family, I have to manage my time so I can succeed in the things I do.
If the above sounds like you, and you always feel like you can’t get anything accomplished during the day (or you feel rushed all the time), you might want to address your time management methods. It could be that you feel like you’re not able to focus on one thing at a time (mama’s can multitask), or you don’t handle distractions well, maybe it’s time to relearn the basics.
With a number of people asking me how I do it, previously I shared my 12 tips I used to increase productivity in general. Here I’ll share my tips on how I make my time more productive as a mom, and still find some time for myself.
Tip #1 Wake up Earlier than everyone
As a work-from-home mom, I find balancing work and “mummy time” a bit of a challenge. So, given I’m naturally an early bird, I wake up early – about 3 or so hours before my little one wakes up, and that’s when I work. Because I only have a certain amount of time, I have my To-Do list and I stick to it.
To all mamas out there, remember you have control over when you wake up. If you wake up earlier, depending on what you have to do, you can either have your alone time (which does wonders for your mental outlook), or take time to enjoy a cuppa or something OR perhaps do absolutely nothing.
Tip #2 Write a List – Keep a Phone / Diary / Note Book and Pen Handy
If you are like me (with a mind going a mile a minute), a note pad and pen is essential to time management. I use my phone/iPad apps to jot down random thoughts and I also use them to diary appointments as I’m making them – it’s easy to forget.
If you can, try to keep a note book with yourself at all times. It is best to write down your random thoughts in a note book, this way you can decide what to do with the task when you are ready to review new information. This is a good way to decide if an idea is good enough to pursue. More importantly you can prioritize the idea.
Writing down your ideas and forgotten tasks in a note book can also be a powerful tool in dealing with distractions.
Tip #3 Plan My Days in Advance
Time management is necessary for almost anyone in this super busy world we live in. Some think moms at home don’t need to manage their time but I feel it’s even more important for stay at home moms because of the responsibility of keeping families together. And if you work or run a business, you definitely need to plan in advance.
My days are filled with running around for my toddler, working with multiple clients/projects, at the same time living my life.
I plan each day, in advance if possible. I work in the morning and then we have activities for when little T wakes up. Mondays are our alone time (1-on-1 time is important). Tuesdays are anything goes days, i.e we keep them open for catch ups with friends, could go to the mall or whatever comes up and we feel we’re up to it. Wednesdays we have playgroup so will catch up with other mums & bubs, Thursdays swimming, and Fridays are for music. Weekends we relax with daddy.
Knowing what we’re doing each day/week keeps me organised and ensures I’m on top of things.
Tip #4 Set a timer
Because I work early mornings, and late evenings, I have a timer for when I do things. I have a to-do list and I stick to it. As soon as she wakes up, I’m full-time mummy! And mummy time is mummy time – that means, I don’t do any work related to my business UNLESS it’s urgent.
It’s important for me to balance the two, and it’s important for my daughter to have my full attention rather than a mom who’s half there and half elsewhere.
Children can be a very powerful distraction that can easily take your focus away but they also need to feel important. I say little one comes first when her eyes are open. Obviously this will be reviewed as she gets older.
Tip #5 Use technology to my advantage
Some people are afraid or just not interested in using technology. Technology is my best friend coz it saves me so much time. I have a number of Apps I use to keep track of a lot of things. For example, I use an App “Buy Me a Pie”. It’s a shopping list app so you enter your shopping/grocery list. I put in items I need from the supermarket as/when I think about it. When the item is purchased you can cross it off the list. Because I’m never without my phone, I know I have my shopping list with me if I ever decide to stop by. OR when my other half calls me from the supermarket asking what we need, I have my list handy no matter where I am at the time. Other Apps like banking Apps are handy for when I wanna check bank balance while out & abouts.
Using the calendar for appointments means I don’t have to get back home to confirm an appointment with someone. I have my diary with me always.
Tip #6 Delegate
Who says 1 person can do it all? If you’re like us with no family around, you can find yourself with a long To-Do list with not many options but to do them all.
Mastering the art of delegation can help you heaps. Knowing when and how to delegate is the trick to successful delegation. Sometimes you don’t actually have to say “I’m delegating this task to you”, but sometimes it happens organically.
I know that my other half enjoys cooking so I don’t try to do it all, even though I’m home all the time. I leave meals to him and he never questions this. He enjoys it so he does it, in the end it’s one less thing for me to worry about.
And because he can sometimes spare time during his lunch break, he can get to the supermarket to do our grocery shopping. If he gets busy, he’ll go after work. He usually asks what we need when he gets there and I always have my list handy (see tip #5).
These tasks were delegated to him organically. And I don’t try and do it all.
Reember, a task has to be delegated sooner rather than later for it to work too.
Tip #7 Accept help
People like to help but sometimes they don’t know how/where. Our friends and relatives can lighten our load if we let them know how. It could be something like taking your little one to the park while you get on with those household chores.
I find getting out with my little one can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, just the time/effort we put into one outing. With that in mind, I ask some of my friends to visit me for our catch ups instead of us visiting them or meeting somewhere. That way we don’t spend too much time prepping for outings which are usually quick catch ups. This obviously works with friends I know well, and most likely have no kids or theirs are older.
Little one is also turning into mummy’s little helper. At 21 months, she knows to take her diaper to the bin after a change. She’ll ask for it if you put it away, “bi-per” as she calls/pronounces it…. A task she took on herself, and I accepted her help. After all, she doesn’t create mess in the process.
Tip #8 Exercise
There is so much to be said for exercising and living a healthy life style. I love my exercise as it helps me clear my mind, recharge and feel good. Instead of using some of my alone time in the morning to exercise, I exercise with my little one. We either go out for walks together and play at the park OR we put some music on and groove OR we use our home gym. Both of us benefit from the exercise and fresh air (if we go out). It also helps with our relationship as we partner in this. Besides, she’s learning from a young age the importance of fitness.
I know some moms prefer taking their time own time to exercise. And that’s OK if that’s how you want it. But if you can, try including your kids into your fitness routine and see how you go. You may be surprised at how much they’ll enjoy it.
Tip #9 Take time to relax/unwind
Each day, I take time to relax and unwind and this is usually after lunch when little T takes her nap. That hour or so reminds me of who I am as I’ll be running on auto-pilot from the time I wake up.
Each week, I usually unwind in the weekend. With daddy around, we often watch TV – catch up with our favourite TV programmes, we squeeze in some DVDs, sometimes we catch up with friends. Sometimes I go out on my own leaving the 2 to themselves. Because of all this, I feel recharged, come Monday I’ll be ready to get back to the good old routine!
Tip #10 Batch similar tasks
I find I waste less time when I batch similar tasks together. If I’m running errands, I usually set aside a day and I do them together particularly if they’re in the same area. Mind you, all these are done with my daughter-in-tow so we’re careful not to overdo it BUT at the same time make them fun. She seems to enjoy running errands.
Tip #11 Plan toddler meals in advance
Healthy eating, healthy action right? We all want our little ones to eat healthy even when we sometimes eat “unhealthy”. Sound right? As mentioned above, my other half does most of the cooking in our household! However, I still find I need to plan my little one’s meals in advance in case she can’t have what we’re having that day and also coz daddy likes his food hot (chilli). So I set aside a day I cook her meals and I put them in the freezer. This comes in handy if say she takes a nap later than usual and she wakes up very hungry, we can give her proper food instead of filling her up with snacks. Also, if I’m not around and she hasn’t eaten properly prior, a proper meal can come in handy – it’s just a matter of defrosting it and feeding.
Found these helpful? Please share.
Would love to hear your experiences. Do you relate to any of the above? Did you find these useful?
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