Time is one of the only resources that is irreplaceable. Once it’s gone there is no getting it back or making changes to it. As a mama, a business owner and spouse I’m constantly thinking about time – how to maximize it, where did it go, when are naps happening, and how to get everything done. Mostly, I’m failing at it. Getting all the things I want to do in a day doesn’t happen, but just because I’m failing doesn’t mean I’m not succeeding or learning from my mistakes. Without failure we cannot grow, and without growth there is no success. I don’t think I’m the only mama who is struggling with time management. Our kids throw our timelines into chaos every time they don’t nap on schedule, or melt down when they should be playing quietly. That is the messiness and beauty of parenthood. I want to share a couple of things that I do to maximize my time as much as possible, and by implementing you can feel more productive, more often.
- Have an outline of what you want to achieve at the start of the week. This doesn’t have to be extensive. Usually a list of three things is huge! Juggling kids doesn’t really lend itself to a schedule that is non negotiable. By having a clear idea of what you’re working on and can pick up when you have a free ½ hour or more without having to think about what you should do, you eliminate a lot of procrastinating and organizing before getting down to work. You don’t have time to procrastinate. You have shit to do, with a solid outline in place there is no time to go down the pinterest rabbit hole of paleo pancakes.
- Use the Urgent Important matrix or Eisenhower Decision Matrix to classify tasks and keep you working on things that really matter. In this matrix, tasks are classified as one of four things – urgent important, urgent not important, not urgent important, and not urgent not important. Try to not let tasks get to the urgent important stage. You know the one where if you don’t get it done within the next hour shit is going to hit the fan. Ideally, you are constantly working in the not urgent important quadrant. This is the one that has important work but it’s not yet urgent. It is allowing you to work ahead and stay on top of things that really matter. This will help to reduce stress as you won’t be freaking out about the deadline that is quickly approaching and you don’t have child care and your kid has lost it for reasons unbeknownst to you.
- When working from home in times when your little one is sleeping it can be easy to prioritize housework. But, if your hustle is important to you, you need to look past the dishes in your sink or your full laundry basket and get down to work. Have set times to do the housework and all other time is for getting down to work. Do what fills your soul. If that is writing or painting, then make sure that is what you’re doing the majority of the time you have free. If you constantly default to housework, you are going to feel unfulfilled and possibly resentful of the other adults in your house.
- Multitask when you can but not to the detriment of quality or productivity. It’s great to get multiple things done at once. But for the most part, focusing on one task at hand is always going to be more beneficial than spreading your brain power and your hands thin. Ways to multitask that actually serve you include listening to like minded podcasts or audiobooks while you workout, cook or clean. Spend quality time with your spouse while also taking care of tasks such as meal prepping, making this fun rather than a chore.
- Make your self-care a priority. So often what we need to do to create power for our day is put aside and left behind as we focus on the needs of our kids, our business and household. This is acceptable occasionally, but it’s going to lead to burnout, stress and despair. Power is created by you and for you, but only when you take the time to invest in you. Play with your routine here and figure out what works best for you. My morning routine, won’t necessarily be ideal for your needs. Be open to learning what you need from yourself then consistently take action.
- Be present. Time truly does seem to slow down when we are in the moment. When you’re with your family, be there. Turn off distractions, bye bye social media, and focus on what you’re doing and who you’re with. This is a practice. If you’re not used to being in the moment it will be hard, especially if you’re working and you have a million tabs open. Or you’re with your kids and you have a deadline coming up. But with practice, you will get better. Make the choice to focus on the thing that you’re doing and watch your enjoyment and productivity speed up.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear any thoughts or tips you have to manage time.
Peace, Love and Wellness