Elizabeth Purpero is an entrepreneurial mom who blogs at Abundant Full Life.
Last week we covered setting up routines, chores and summer break rules for kids. In case you missed it check out the post here!
This week, we will cover time management as you juggle family, home and work over the summer.
My goal for you though is to help you not feel like you are juggling. Who wants to live life as a juggler? The idea of throwing a bunch of balls around, hoping to catch them, but risking total failure if you just miss one sounds awful.
Time management is essential to your success both at home and work. When you are in control of your time and have an organized schedule, the work/life balance is way better.
So let’s get to it. Here are time-management tips to help you sail smoothly through the summer with schedules, tasks and responsibilities.
Time Management: The Backbone To Your Life
What’s the value of time management? Knowing how you should spend your time will help you be more productive and not frenzied.
As a mom, you likely are in charge of several people’s lives, which can make time management even more challenging. A schedule is your best friend, and having one is the first step to good time management.
How To Build A Schedule That Works
When things are written out and you know what to do when, who needs to be where, and when things need to stop, life is so much better.
A schedule is a way of telling yourself that you want to succeed — and by following it, your probability of success is greatly improved.
Assess Your Time
Before beginning a schedule, first analyze how you currently use your time. Ask yourself:
- What are my tasks?
- How do I spend my time?
- In what areas am I most productive?
- What are my time wasters?
Schedules are useless is they don’t incorporate all aspects of your life.
You are more than a mom. You are more than a work-from-home mom.
Make a list of all of your daily activities and realistically put down the time it takes to complete the task. Rank the activities based on their priority.
- Time to get ready for the day
- Work-related responsibilities
- Spending time with family
- Going to kids activities
- Exercise or hobbies
- Relaxation or self-care
Create Your Schedule
Using a method that works for you, whether on a calendar, your phone or Google Docs, write out your schedule:
- Begin with your fixed activities. Networking meeting every Wednesday morning, piano lessons every Monday afternoon and soccer practice on Tuesday evenings? Start with those.
- Look at your open blocks of time.
- Refer back to the list of all of your activities and the amount of time it takes to complete them.
- Pencil the high-priority activities next into the open time slots. If work is at the top of the list and takes 15 hours a week, schedule in 15 hours to get your work done.
- Consider outside distractions or times when you work best when completing your schedule. Do you work best early morning, late at night, middle of the day?
- When high-priority activities are scheduled, then move on to the lower and/or less-frequent events.
Follow Your Schedule
- Let your schedule serve as a trusted servant, not a dictatorial master.
- Let it work for you. Make it realistic — not so severe that you know you cannot possibly follow it. Account for recreation time and have room for flexibility.
- Always think of “What’s next?” By planning out your time beforehand, you no longer have to waste energy and attention worrying about what’s coming. It’s right there, written down.
- Make changes in your schedule whenever necessary, but for good reasons. Your schedule will need to be revised and at times broken. It should not be an inflexible system that takes away all spontaneity of action, but rather a guide to efficient effort.
- Don’t be too heroic in your belief that you can follow a schedule easily. You may become discouraged in your attempts, particularly in the beginning. It is, however, important that you keep applying your schedule until it becomes a habit.
Time management guidelines
Once you have a schedule in place, you will have a great blueprint to help you know what you should be doing. Here are some more tips to help you manage your time overall.
- Allot sufficient time for everything.
- Do things at the times that are best for you. If you work from home and cannot be productive in the middle of the day when all the kids are home, don’t try to work then. If they are gone at certain times during the day, save your work time for the quiet periods.
- Plan daily and weekly reviews of your week or day ahead, tasks, special appointments, etc.
- Allot time for fun with your kids, spouse, yourself and friends.
- Good eating and sleeping habits are essential.
- Leave some unscheduled time for flexibility.
When time management doesn’t seem to be working
After you create a schedule and follow these tips, you may feel like you are still juggling instead of smooth sailing.
That is okay. Not everything works out the first time.
If you identify with this sentiment, perhaps it’s time to try an exercise I like to call “planned vs actual.”
For this activity, you will have the opportunity to find out just how well you are using your time. Remember, this is for you, so be as honest as you can.
To begin, create a schedule with “planned” sections that includes everything from sleep to meals to recreation to family and work time.
Try and design a schedule that will allow you to complete all of the work that you have to finish in the next week, but be realistic. No one can stick to a schedule that has no time for friends, family or other non-academic activities.
Then for the next week, write down what you actually did. After a week, you’ll be able to see how well you were able to follow your schedule and how you spend the majority of your time.
Look for things like:
- Time wasters
- Not enough time scheduled
- Not the right time scheduled
- No flexibility
- Too much free time
From there, you should be able to re-create a new schedule that better reflects how you actually spend your time. You also can choose to just focus your attention to just a few of these tips to help make scheduling your time more manageable.
I hope these time-management tips help you get organized to handle the load of work, kids home for summer, and all the responsibilities that come with it.
There is nothing better than having the winds in your sails — and properly managing your time gives you a great start.