Haven’t we all been there? Do you have lots of dreams, but don’t have a moment to spare to even think about making them come true? Or you are so overwhelmed by life and your tasks that you have come to believe that you don’t have any dreams? With these time management tips for busy moms or simply busy people, you can get ahead of the game and carve out more time for what is really important to you!
1. Assess your time
Over a few days, assess your time and note what you spend your time on. Try to create a weekly schedule of your current time “consumption”. After you have recorded a typical week, go over each chunk of time and note down ideas on how to improve your flow. Remember to also record travel or commute times in your schedule.
Seeing your days mapped out on a piece of paper will likely get your time improvement ideas flowing. Note down your ideas and go to the next point. If your schedule still feels as overwhelming as before and you struggle writing down ideas, put your schedule aside and move to the next point. You will have a clearer vision when you revisit your weekly routine.
The trick being organized is to understand what your priorities are. List all of your to-do’s in one list and then start sorting each item into a separate section: Needs to be done immediately, do this week, long-term and ongoing projects. In your schedule mark the time blocks that are non-negotiable: work, getting to and from work, picking up children, eating & sleeping
What time slots are available after this exercise? What blocks are flexible and could be re-arranged? And what will you fill the rest of your week/days with? Look at your priorities and draw ideas from there. Do not forget to schedule regular me-time to improve your physical and mental well-being.
3. Think ahead
Prepare as much as you can for the morning the night before. Lay out your clothes the night before or assess whether you could take a shower before going to bed.
4. Plan ahead
Every Sunday, go over the to-do list of the next week and if applicable, discuss the next week with your family and make a meal plan for the next week. This will help save time, stay on track and keeps you motivated to achieve your goals.
5. Make extras
Whenever you cook a meal make extras or double the recipe so you can freeze the extras. This not only saves you time but also money. You can assess what produce and groceries are on sale and then cook accordingly.
6. Organize, organize, organize
Organize your files and documents for you and your entire family so you can find what you need when you need it. Clutter will forever keep you in the hamster-wheel of feeling overwhelmed. Experts say that clutter in our lives leads to losing focus. Start small. Organize your house and quieten your mind one day, one shelf and one drawer at a time. You can do it.
7. Eliminate bad habits
Aren’t we all guilty of doing this? Just one more scroll on your social media, just one more episode of the latest show or not being able to stop playing games into the wee hours of the night.
Even though there is nothing particularly wrong with enjoying those things, they are time killers. Just as much with food and drinks, take everything in moderation. If you are short on time, assess your time wasters and see how you can fill them with something more productive. Instead of TV, try to meditate or doing Yoga.
Believe me, I know how hard this is and how alluring the call of the couch can be. I have been its “victim” for so long. Now, after I am done for the evening, I usually go write these articles, come up with improvements for my website or learn more about the art of blogging. If somebody had told me that I would be doing all this almost every single evening I would have laughed so hard. I am not kidding! Best thing, I love doing it.
As you are following your dream, things fall into place and you will find the motivation and energy to do that. PLUS, you can allow yourself an evening out once in a while or going to bed early because you are tired. Just stay focused and don’t let the bad habits distract you again. You and your dreams are worth it!
8. Use empty pockets of time
While dinner is happily cooking away on the stove, use the time to clean up your kitchen or you could also pay bills or get organized for the next day while your child is doing homework.
9. Streamline your errands
Assess your commute, where you shop and what routes you take. Streamline everything so that you can get most errands done without having to do multiple trips. We started ordering our food from a local grocery store online and one of us picks it up on the way home. I swear I am also saving money that way.
10. Everything has its assigned place
Looking for items before you head out the door is one of the biggest time wasters. Put your clothes, jackets, shoes away when you come home. Place your keys and wallet ALWAYS in the same spot and you will be able to leave your house without feeling stressed when you are in a hurry.
11. Give everyone a job
Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Enlist your entire family to help around your home. Every member of your family can have assigned tasks, whether it is setting the table, helping unload the dishwasher or sorting laundry. Researchers of a 75-year Harvard study came to the conclusion that kids who had chores fared better later in life. Children with chores were healthier and happier as adults, had become responsible and gained valuable life skills.
12. List it – Post it
Start weekly to-do lists and hang a family calendar in an area in your house that you frequently use. Making tasks and appointments visible for everyone will help your family stay organized and on track. Don’t forget to update your calendar and lists.
13. Be ready to go
Have your purse, or bag packed and ready to go by the door. Fill it with all the items you might need, such as snacks, napkins, colouring book and pens or whatever you need on the go.
14. Use the internet
As much as I love and support shopping locally, it also takes a lot of time and driving back and forth to get everything. Buy gifts online, switch to online banking and research items before you go to the store. You’ll then know exactly where to get for what price. You can also look into ordering a veggie-box from a local farmer. They often deliver or you can pick it up on your way home. That way you eat and support locally plus will have saved time.
15. Cleaning habits
Don’t like scrubbing away in your bathroom and shower? Try drying out your shower first with a squeegee and then with a cloth after every use. That way you will rarely have to scrub and your shower looks sparkling for a long time. Do the same with your sinks and faucets. I love this technique.
16. Learn to say no
This is your life and no one can live it for you. You are working hard to achieve your dreams, spend more time with your family or learn a new skill. Whatever it is, learn to say no to the things that are not bringing you closer to your goal. Some things you will still have to do, but you could also say no to the TV that is beckoning you to turn it on. Always trust your gut, you will find your rhythm.
17. Pick your battles
Decide what you can live with and what absolutely needs to get done around your house. My mantra is: A home should be clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. Truth be told, it is helpful if your husband likes cleaning it a lot. Sometimes I feel our home could be a little bit “happier” *grin*.*nocomplaints*
18. Find inspiration wherever you can
As with every change you are trying to introduce in your life, it is hard to stay on track when you lose that drive inside of you. That also applies to how you spend your time. Find inspiration wherever you can. I like to listen to my favourite songs in the car until my skin tingles with positive energy.
Once you have assessed your schedule and implemented a few changes, set up routines for yourself and your family. Routines are comforting for children and adults alike. By using a routine, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel every single week. Things will start to flow which in turn allows you to be more flexible.
20. One hour method
If you set aside just one-hour per day to work on goals, you will start to see results in just a few short weeks. Seeing yourself progress, will keep you motivated and inspired. An hour a day is small enough to not overwhelm you but large enough to make progress. Setting yourself a time limit will keep you focused during this time and you will power through your tasks.
Let me know what you think and if this helpful at all. I have tried to pick items that I have experience with so my advice can be as authentic as possible. I know there are many more strategies out there. Find the ones that work best for You!