Being a mum is a full time job for a lot of reasons. Not only is it sometimes challenging to juggle all the responsibilities that fill up an average day in the life of a mother, but there’s the stress that comes from struggling to accomplish all tasks in a timely manner. There are many times it feels as if there is not nearly enough time in the day to address the needs of your children, spouse, household and try to fit in some time for yourself to relax and recharge before tomorrow’s demands begin.
But there are a few very simple and practical ways to keep yourself on track and still get everything done before it’s time for dinner.
The following is a short list of the four most useful time management strategies you can use to improve your day.
1. Write It Down
You’ve heard of the standard ‘to do’ list, but do you use one? It’s amazing how much you can accomplish if you have a complete visual list of the tasks you need to finish at your fingertips. The best way to use a ‘to do’ list is to write down everything that needs to be done either the night before or the morning of the day the list is for.
Even simple things you do on a regular basis, like check the mail, should go on your list because you may forget it on a particularly busy day. Another bonus that comes from writing down all the things you need to do, including specific appointments with the time they are scheduled, is that you can tick them off when done. This will give you a quick visual of all you have accomplished on those days when you feel as if you are not getting anything done. It will help to build your confidence making the rest of the ‘to do’ list easy to tackle as the day progresses.
2. Aim for the Attainable
Speaking of staying organised and on track with ‘to do’ lists, what makes them work best is when you don’t overload them with tasks that are virtually impossible to complete. This is where your time management skills will play their strongest.
Only you will know what volume of work you can handle on any given day. Stick to making your list fit within your capacity and without pushing you to the point of becoming stressed and overwhelmed. There will be some days where you will only want to do two or three things so you can keep from becoming run down and this is okay. In fact, that’s also a wise use of time and can help set you up for success for the other days of the week.
3. Prioritize Your Day
Weed out the fluff and focus on what’s essential on your to do list by using the Pareto principle. It’s a simple rule that states that 80-percent of your results will result from 20-percent of your actions.
In other words, only 20% of your tasks on your to do list are truly important and completing these will give you the biggest results for your day. If you are looking to have effective use of your time, don’t waste time on tasks that are just going to eat up time with little reward afterwards.
This means you will have to carefully prioritize your daily tasks. There are days when certain items can be moved to the next day, later in the week or dropped off the list completely. Priorities are not hard to sort out, either. The best approach is to look hard at your list then number your tasks in order of importance. This will help give your day the structure it needs to see a lot accomplished by the end of it.
4. Use a Timer
A great way to stay focussed and get more done in the time you have is to allot chunks of time to your tasks. This is referred to as the Pomodoro technique and involves assigning a reasonable time frame to complete a task or set of tasks.
You then use a timer or a large clock to monitor this and then get to work focusing just on that task during the allotted time. This technique is surprisingly effective and is great for preventing you from drifting to other tasks or checking your social media accounts.
The time deadline also encourages you to work efficiently and get the job done before the timer goes off. We all know how useless multi-tasking is and the Pomodoro technique is a great tool to call on when you want to get through your list.
5. Making It Routine
It won’t take you long to get the hang of these four time saving tips that will give you structure, a strong direction based on priorities and time limits to keep you on track.
The most important thing for busy mums to keep in mind is that you should not push yourself to where every day is a stressful event nor should you load up on so much that you become sick and worn out. As with any kind of behavior change, incorporating these tactics into your daily routine will give you the best chance of seeing their benefits.
Whist we can’t make more time in our days we can all certainly get more out of the time that we have.
Do you have any top tips for time management? SHARE with us in the comments below.
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