15 Time Management Tips That Will Make You an Awesome Mom
15 Time Management Tips That Will Make You an Awesome Mom
Hey there tired mama. Are you exhausted by the end of the day and wonder where the time went? Do you need better time management tips and tricks to get more done in less time?
Then this post is for you! We all have the same 24 hours in a day so why is it that some people are able to get more done than others?
Well, I have a secret to share with you. While some people are really productive (and there are ways to get better, just keep reading) that one-woman-show-amazing-internet-personality is not a one-woman show. She probably has a whole team behind her that makes it look effortless.
No one is Wonder Woman. So stop comparing yourself to others and work to make yourself better for you, your family, and because it feels great when we are living life as our best selves.
And as awesome as it is to be more productive and manage our time well, it is more important to manage our energy. Why? You know those days when you’re exhausted and no matter how many cups of coffee you have, you move as slow as a sloth? Those are low energy days and everything is tough. Then there are the days when you are in the zone and everything just seems to click together. Those are high energy days and they feel amazing.
The following ideas are 15 of the best time management tips for busy, overwhelmed moms, but they also help you channel your energy in the right way. Practice these tips and you will find yourself with more energy, more time, and realize you are an awesome mama who’s got her stuff together.
How can I manage my time at home better?
1. Get Enough Sleep
The experts claim you need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. This is when your body recovers and more importantly, your mind sorts, stores, and processes all of the tasks and new ideas from the day. So, in a nutshell, sleeping the right amount makes you smarter.
I am super strict when it comes to my daughter’s bedtime because I know that she is a mess when she does not get enough sleep. During the week when she is at school, I want her to pay attention, absorb all the learning around her, and be in a good mood. Why is it that I can see this for her, but it is so difficult to do this for myself?
Sleep is super important though soI have made it a priority for 2019. Will you join me in making it a priority for yourself too?
2. Consolidate Your Tasks to Save Time and Energy
Batching is a wonderful way to get more done and save time. Consolidating your tasks eliminates the transition time required for your brain to change to a different activity and cuts down on prep time.
This is why things like meal planning and a big cooking session on Sundays can save you hours throughout the week. You condense the times required to switch between tasks. So instead of cooking five different meals and cleaning up the kitchen five different times, you might cook a giant batch of grilled chicken and use it five different ways (enchiladas, tacos, pizza, on pasta, and chicken noodle soup) which can all be prepped at the same time.
This also works in the office environment or in blogging. Batching tasks makes it easier to “get in the zone” so you can crank out more quality work in less time. This preserves your energy and helps you feel more accomplished for the day.
3. Automate as Much as Possible
Do you get your groceries delivered? How about setting up recurring deliveries in Amazon? These are awesome ways to cut down on your weekly errands and save yourself time.
Grocery shopping online is wide spread now so there should easily be a store or two in your area that will deliver. And if they don’t deliver you can often shop online and have it ready for pickup. Curbside pickup makes shopping with little children a breeze because you never have to get them out of their carseat.
By not going into the store, you save yourself from last minute splurges, tempting advertising geared toward your child, and precious daylight hours that can be used for more fun, and energizing activities. Online grocery shopping (whether it is delivery or curbside pickup) can be done anytime of day and you can often save your list which makes it easier the next time you make a purchase.
Other things you can automate include your medical prescriptions, pet food delivery, toiletries (Amazon Pantry), savings (have money directly deposited from your paycheck into a separate saving account), and bill payments.
4. Focus on One Thing
I have talked about Gary Keller’s Book, the ONE Thing before, and I highly recommend it. In the book he makes the argument that we all have ONE thing that matters most, or makes the biggest impact on our lives and goals. If we can figure out that ONE thing, everything else will be easier or not matter at all.
This can be used to discover something as big as what work or legacy you want to leave behind. Or, it can be as simple as figuring out the ONE thing that will save you the most time each week and focusing on that one thing.
Either way, the main principle is to focus your energy on the biggest things – the things that will move the needle the most. These big things generally require the most energy, but will be the most rewarding. And as they are big, you will only want to focus on one of them at a time.
5. Understand Your Why
The importance of knowing why you want to accomplish something is critical. If you are not able to connect with a bigger meaning of why you are working toward a goal or dream, you will have a hard time succeeding when the road gets tough. It will also make it so much easier to get distracted and distraction equals wasted time and energy.
If you are having a tough time figuring out your why, think about the dream life you want to create for yourself and your family. Think about the big things like what you want to do for work, where and how you want to vacation, where you want to live, and how you want to give back. Then think about the little things like what your everyday routine will be like. If you need more help, I have a worksheet for this in my free Goal Achieving Workbook.
How can I manage my toddler time?
6. Set attainable daily goals.
I’ve done a whole post about SMART Goals and why I think the are useful. Part of this goal framework is that the goal is achievable, meaning that you can realistically accomplish it with the resources available to you now.
For instance, let’s say you set a goal to limit screen time with your toddler. As part of this you can create small daily goals of 15 minutes of “playing alone time”, days with activities like art, crafts, baking, science, and days with excursions out of the house.
What I love about this time management tip is to set a small attainable goal every day. It’s these small incremental changes that will help you reach your bigger goals.
The idea is that these little goals will add up overtime and start to build on top of one another. Before you know it, your big goal will be reached and you did not get overwhelmed with all of the pieces that went into getting there because you focused on one tiny piece of the puzzle every day.
7. Step Away From the Internet.
If you are struggling with time management, it is time to step away from the black hole that the Internet can become. How many times have you gone to Facebook to check on a friend’s baby’s name because you are going to see them this weekend (please tell me I am not the only one who cannot remember all the baby names?!?) and you end up watching some video about cute babies chasing puppies? Before you know it 30 minutes have past and your kids are getting into who knows what and acting out because mommy is not paying attention.
I have a hard time simply turning things off so there is technology that can help us. Apps like Cold Turkey (on you computer) or Offtime (on your phone) make it easy to set up limits on what you can access when you want to be working or spending time with your family.
How do you balance work and family tips?
8. Establish Reasonable Work Hours.
If you work from home, setting work hours can be pretty difficult. After all, you are able to throw in a load of laundry in the middle of the day, so why not check email or post to social media at night when you’re watching tv with your spouse?
If you work outside of the home, it can be tempting to bring some of it home so that you do not feel behind. I know. I’ve been there.
The problem with both of these is that it zaps your energy and you are never “off”.
Michael Hyatt, author of Free to Focus and Your Best Year Ever, has a super cool hack to help with this. He programs the lights in his office to turn off at 6:00pm. If he is still working then, the lights turn off and he is sitting in the dark.
By setting a schedule and sticking with it, you will increase your productivity and feel like you have time to recuperate during your down time. Plus, your spouse and family will enjoy having you more present when you are with them.
9. Let Go of the Idea of Perfection.
It’s time to stop trying to be perfect. There really is no such thing as perfection anyway. I mean think about the olympics for a second (stay with me). How many times are world records broken? Or what about figure skaters who can do quadruple jumps now when 30 years ago, all you needed was a double to qualify? How about the crazy twists and flips snowboarders land on the half pipe? They just keep progressing and getting better.
Once human beings see that something is possible we are always trying to make it better or go further. That means that whatever you create today, no matter how perfect it seems now, you will probably be able to make it better tomorrow.
With that in mind, it is better for us to let go of the idea of making something perfect and start thinking about how to make something be the best we can make it today with the resources we have. This is not an excuse to do mediocre work or to put off responsibility. Instead it is a way to work hard and be content with our progress, knowing that we will always be able to improve because that’s what humans do.
This way of thinking frees you from the anxiety (an incredibly energy draining emotion) of thinking you should have done something differently. Realize that if you could have done better you would have and be happy with the work you put in for the day.
10. Stop Trying to Multitask.
The science has proven that multitasking does not work. Don’t get fooled into thinking that you are one of the people that is good at doing more than one thing at the same time. This only works for tasks that do not require your brain to process information, like folding laundry while watching tv in the evening.
If you need your brain to actually process the information, you are best when you are only focusing on one thing. So when you are working, close all browser tabs not needed for the task at hand and turn off email notifications. You will get more done in less time because your brain can concentrate on one task and perform better.
When you are playing with your children or interacting with your family, put your phone away. If you are constantly checking email or social media, your family will get the impression that they are not as important as your phone and you will miss an opportunity for authentic connection.
You can do more by doing less at the same time. Promise!
11. Let Go and Delegate.
What tasks are you doing that you can let someone else take care of for you? Are there things you do on a regular basis for other people, just because you do not want to go through the difficult transition times? You know what I mean…picking up toys for your kids, folding all of the laundry yourself, setting and clearing the dinner table. These are things you can get help with. Yes, it might take some time to teach your children how to help, but you will save yourself hours in the long run and more importantly teach your children a valuable lesson.
When we delegate, we also learn to let go and realize that the world will not fall apart if we not there to make it perfect according to our standards.
Not only can you put this practice into place at home, but you can also look around your office. Are there tasks you can give to coworkers?
12. Set a Schedule and Include Fun Time.
All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy (or something like that, right?) If you are working all the time, you will burn yourself out. That is why it is so important to set a schedule and stick to it. It is also important to factor in having some fun so you can remember why you are working so hard at being an awesome mom in the first place.
Setting a schedule helps you to be more productive as you intentionally limit your time. Think about the last time you took a vacation. That last day of work, were you able to speed through your task list and work like a person possessed with magic powers? I know that the days I was able to get the most done at my corporate job were those right before taking time off as I did not want to have any loose ends while I was away.
Working under a time constraint can help you focus so set the timer and work like mad until the alarm goes off. Once it does, step away from what you are doing and take a quick breather. Set the timer again and challenge yourself to get more done in the second time block than the first.
I can’t wait to see how much you can get done in a short amount of time.
How can a stay at home mom be more efficient?
13. Learn to Say “No” (not just to your kids).
This little word may just be the strongest one in our language. It is so easy to say – you know your kids love saying it! – but so many of us have a hard time actually using the word. Myself included.
Then I realized that if something was not an emphatic yes, it needed to be a no. This is because every time you say yes to something you do not want to do, your energy gets completely drained. It takes longer to complete the task and you do it half-heartedly. Also, by saying yes to everything, you forget what it is you really want to do. It put others’ needs above your own and diminishes your light. No judgements here. This is an area I continue to work on every. single. day.
But, now before I say yes to a new commitment, I try to remember to think about it and determine if it will add to my energy or deplete it. A good way to start saying no is to create a stop doing list. There is an exercise for how to do create this list in this free Goal Achieving Workbook. Download your free copy here.
14. Don’t Set Unrealistic Expectations
One this is certain in life, things will not go as planned. No matter how hard you try, you are never in control of other people, what they will do, say, respond, or act. That means that we are never 100% able to predict and plan what will happen. Because of this we need to make sure that our expectations are based in reality.
Yes, you can dream big and go for audacious goals, but you also need to temper your expectations. For instance, if you delegate tasks like folding laundry to each family member for their own clothes, you need to let each family member be in charge of their belongings. If the clothes are not folded to your high standards, that is okay. You will not be wearing the clothes.
Setting your expectations at the right level for the task will keep everyone happier. You want your kids to believe in themselves so let them be in charge of some things. Know that the results may not be exactly how you would like, but the confidence your kids will experience is worth it.
15. Have Bedtimes for Your Children
I started and ended this post with a time management tip about sleeping so I must feel it is important enough to stress twice. This tip seems so simple, yet it is so important. Having a set bedtime for your child is great, not only for them, but for you too.
The sleep council recommends the following amount of sleep for children:
- Babies less than a year old need between 14-15 hours of sleep per day (including naps)
- Toddlers need between 12-14 hours of sleep a night (including naps)
- Children aged three to six need between 10-12 hours of sleep a night
- Children aged seven to twelve need between 10-11 hours of sleep a night
- Teenagers need between 8-9 hours of sleep a night
That is a lot of sleep. If your 5 year old child needs to be up by 7:00 am to get ready for kindergarten that means they should be in bed between 7:00 – 9:00 pm.
On the flip side, having time to yourself after your child goes to sleep is great for you mentally and good for your relationship with your spouse. You can use this time to decompress from the day, get ready for tomorrow, cuddle with your hubby, and practice self-care. All of these will help you be more energized the next day and keep you on your A-game.
Make This Your Best Year Ever!
You’ve got this mama! I believe in you.
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