A friend of mine once said to me, “trying to conquer time management is like trying to nail jello to a tree”. It’s tough, I’ll give you that, but certainly not impossible!
The ultimate dream is to have it all: the perfect, happy family and the hugely successful home business. But how do we get there with all of life’s little distractions? We start with a plan. Not every day is going to run smoothly, and that’s OK! Even if you only manage to cross one or two things off of your to-do list, then you’ve succeeded.
It’s essential to start your time management with a schedule, even with life’s bumps and bruises interrupting our day. Keeping everything flowing as smoothly as possible is the goal.
1. Set A Time Management Schedule
This may sound like a no brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many mom’s I’ve talked to that don’t set up a schedule, and just wing it. How productive do you think they are during the day? Yah.. not so much.
Every Sunday I write up my tentative schedule for the week, time-blocking my work hours, my kid hours and any appointments that have been set. During times set for working, I create a sub-schedule of all tasks that need to be completed, along with approximate times set to accomplish those tasks.
2. Plan Your Day The Night Before
This has worked really well for me. Every Sunday I create my schedule for the week, but every night before bed I write up my to-do list for the following day as there is always something extra that comes up during the week that I wasn’t aware of when planning out my week. Being flexible is a bonus tip here, especially if you have younger children as they never get sick at a good time!
3. Consolidate Errands
You run to the variety store for milk, and after getting home you realize the kids have library books to return, so out you go again. And oh darn, you forgot to grab the mail when you were out.. the list could go on and on. Plan the work and work the plan. Make a list of all the errands that need to be completed and schedule in a block of time to get them all done in one shot.
4. Get Dressed
Though very tempting to work in your jammies, you may just find that by starting your day off with putting on real clothes that you’ll feel better and actually accomplish more!
5. Avoid Distractions
Turn off your phone & tv – The tv is my go-to distraction. I tell myself that I work better with a little background noise, but the jury is still out on that one lol. Lately I’ve been turning off the tv and turning on the radio instead. I’m one of those people that spends a lot of time alone, so a little noise can be a nice thing. That may not work for you though, and you may need quiet in order to focus on your scheduled plans for the day. Do what works.
6. Log Out Of Social Media & Email
Set a time to check your email & social media accounts – these things are sooooooo addictive (as I’m sure you’ve noticed lol). If I have a tab open to Facebook, then as soon as I see there’s a notification I have to go look at it. Complete and total time waster! Close those tabs and set a time in your schedule to check your accounts during your work day.
7. Work When You’re Most Productive
I know that I get hardly anything done in the afternoons, so my work times are in the morning and at night. When my kids were little, I’d get up at least 2 hours ahead of them in order to get my work day started. It was always nice and quiet and the phone never rang! I’d also get some work done in the evenings when the kids were having “Daddy Time”. After the kids were asleep I’d spend another hour or so tidying up loose ends from the day, and prepping for the next day.
Pay attention to yourself over the next few days to find out when you get that extra boost of energy. Schedule your most important, must-get-done tasks for that time period.
8. Use a timer
Timers and other productivity apps and software can make a big difference. When I time block tasks in my schedule, I find that using a timer can really help, otherwise I tend to get stuck in my own little world and will completely forget that the kids need their lunch!
If you’re using your kids nap time to get some work done, you’ve got a built in timer right there, but I’ve been known to grab the egg timer out of the kitchen a time or ten. Nowadays, I tend to set an alarm on my phone to let me know when time is up.
9. Create A Workspace
Setting up a workspace separate from the rest of your living space can be such a huge help, in fact this made all the difference in the world for me. My kids know that when Mom is in her “office”, I’m not to be disturbed.
Obviously this rule is meant to be broken, which is where some more flexibility needs to come in, but the advantages far outweigh the disturbances, that’s for sure.
Your workspace could be in a corner of a bedroom, or if you have a spare room you may be able to turn the whole room into your office, but trying to get work done at the dining room table will lead to being completely unorganized and constant distractions. Separate out your work/home space and watch what a difference it will make in your productivity.
10. Reward Yourself!
At the end of every day, celebrate everything you’ve achieved. Don’t worry about things that didn’t get done.. there will always be more work! Clear off your desk, clear your mind and enjoy a good nights sleep. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to start all over again in the morning 😉
How do you manage your time? Do you have any other tips and tricks? Let me know in the comments!
— Wahm Dianne