As a busy multi-tasking mom, I'm constantly looking for ways to organize my family life, days, goals, plans, appointments, thoughts…my life in general. Many of my friends who are also parents voice the same concern. The burning question for many, seems to be: "how do I balance parenting with my personal and/or business life?"
Time management for parents is a valuable tool. With all of the resources out there, how does one go about finding the right solution? Is there a solution? I believe there is, unfortunately, it's not a quick fix. To me, the solution may very well be a hodgepodge of the various resources available. I've compiled a list of tips from the information I've found on time management in books and around the internet:
- Balancing work and family life is a conscious decision. Understand that balancing family life with the other areas of our lives is a conscious, daily decision, not a timeless state of bliss that we'd love to exist in.
- Clarify and prioritize family values. A value is defined as “a principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desired." This is important because our values drive our goals and actions and some values may be in conflict with one another. For example if you believe it's important to get to work early, yet you also don't leave the house until the kitchen is clean, this may cause a conflict. Determining the hierarchy of your values may help determine your actions.
- Set realistic goals and expectations and learn to say 'NO'. Understanding that perfection is unattainable, lifts the burden to accomplish everything. With values prioritized, goal setting is easier. Learning to say no is important because we cannot be all things to all people, and our children cannot have everything they want. When we remind ourselves of this, saying no is much easier.
- Keep a time diary. Before creating a plan of action and a schedule, some suggest keeping a time diary. I would suggest doing so for a week to really give yourself an opportunity to analyze the rhythm of your days and to see where all of the time has gone. You can take this a step further, as this is your 'pre-planning phase'. You can count the hours in a week and see how many are going towards the different values and goals you have. If you see the imbalance in your time diary, you can plan accordingly. This time diary gives you a visual analysis of your days. This is a task that I have my life coaching clients complete before we begin a program. A very effective tool anyone can use to organize their life.
- Create a plan of action/schedule or rituals and routines. Determine the amount of time to allocate to different tasks, appointments and so forth and document them in a central calendar for everyone. Have your own personal and/or business calendar that you keep in sync with this central family calendar. (If the family is completely digital-on computers and smart phones-this may be accomplished through a free online shared calendaring system like Google Calendar). Creating rituals and routines in your household is helpful because children respond well to them. This also allows for daily tasks like getting ready for bed or school to be accomplished quicker because the rhythm of a routine has been established.
- Manage distractions. Distractions like the phone, internet, or TV. When in the midst of completing a task, the phone rings. Do you answer it? Not every call needs to be answered immediately. With caller ID, and voicemail, you're never out of the loop, so if necessary, instead of answering a call, completing tasks or continuing with family fun time, is a good idea.
- Build a support team. Teach your children tasks, and delegate throughout the family. There's nothing like teamwork!
- Be flexible. Just because you have an amazing plan of action, doesn't mean it will happen. Life happens!
- Keep work at work and home at home. By separating the two, you are able to focus on each one within the allotted time.
- Schedule down-time for yourself. Everyone needs a recharge. And just as children benefit from routines, so do we, especially if we know it's sit back and relax time!
Do you have any time management tips you'd like to share?
Via Super Parenting Social Network
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