Time Management Tips for Parents
April 26, 2011 ~
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of aspirin. Mapping out your day in advance is the best way to declutter your busy schedule, bust stress and tackle the challenges that the daily grind has in store for us. Time management these can mean the difference between a smooth and even-keeled lifestyle and frantic slurry of events we sometimes call “a day.”
Here is a great collection of tips you can adopt to keep your family’s engine running smoothly and on time, with as few headaches and meltdowns as possible.
Know Your Limits The first thing to consider when managing your time is how much of it you have available that day. These days there never seem to be enough hours, but the reality is that there is enough time to get things done, but only if you have the discipline not to take on too much. With all the different things competing for your attention these days, it’s important to know when to set limits for yourself and your family. When you are spread too thin, you don’t do your best work, you can be distracted and other problems can persist. Knowing when to say, “That will have to wait for another day” is a huge step toward a manageable and successful schedule. If you know that you are just too busy to manage a play date this week, don’t offer up your home for it. It might disappoint your little guy or gal today, but in the long run, it’s better to have a manageable week than one that is too crammed and hectic. When you do have to say “no” to something or someone, it’s best to be honest. Explain that your schedule is just too busy to try to squeeze in another to-do this week, but that with a little more notice, you would be happy to host a play date in the future.
Have a Flexible Routine Having a basic routine to follow each week saves everyone from wasting time worrying about the everyday things that always have to be done and will help you avoid stress. Homework, study time and family meals should fall on or around the same time each day. Also, try having your children pick out their clothes for the morning before they go to bed each night, and make sure their school supplies are packed away and ready to go for the morning.
While routine is good, of course there will be those moments when it breaks down. We all know those mornings, when nothing seems to go as planned. Take the one morning when, while everyone is getting ready, the family dog, Wrinkles, sneaks out of the screen door and starts harassing the neighbor’s cat. What do you do? Well, aside from corralling Wrinkles back inside, you should have some time built into your routine to account for the unexpected. If your schedule is so rigid that every minute is accounted for, situations like this can throw your entire day upside down. By giving your family an extra 15 minutes each morning, you can help prepare for the unexpected. When things do go smoothly your family can use this little extra time to talk to each other, read a favorite book or just spend time with one another.
Multitask Within Reason Used within reason, multitasking can be your friend. For example, if you have some extra work to do at home such as filing, you can work on that while you watch your favorite TV show without feeling so guilty about it. Or while the lasagna is bubbling in the oven, you can use that time to catch up on your email. Multitasking, when practiced sparingly, can save time without scrimping on quality.
Take Care of Yourself Parents give so readily of themselves to their children. It’s a beautiful part of being a mom or a dad – to give your time, your focus, and your energy to the little ones in your life. But don’t forget to take care of your needs as well. When you are overworked and tired, your efficiency and productivity take a nose dive. It is harder to help the children with their schoolwork, cook a healthy meal and do just about anything your family needs when you are running on empty. Relaxing and refreshing yourself might not sound like good time management on the surface, but it really is. When you are energized and feel good, your work is more productive, your attitude is better and you are healthier.