For mothers, time management is a huge concern – whether you’re a stay at home mom, work at home mom, or a working mom. In between laundry, kids’ activities, work, wifey duties, and many other household activities, it seems like the house is one of the most stressful environments for all moms. In fact, many mothers have given up their time to take care of themselves just to make sure that everything’s done.
I know, I’ve been there too. My friends know me as a multi-tasker. I own a small online business, I am a WAHM and have learned to juggle my time in between four clients, not to mention having to breastfeed a clingy toddler every now and then. So how do I do it? How do other moms do it? At first, I felt like there’s so little time, and so much to do. I even went through the phase where I almost forgot to take showers in between. (I know, gross).
But with the help of my mom, friends and a little bit of research, I’ve learned the common mistakes that I’ve been doing. Listed below are some time management tricks that I’ve personally tried to help moms like me have more fun with their family, and less worrying about getting things done.
Organization is the Key
It’s common sense for most people – but you really have to learn how to become organized. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a planner, or a smart phone to keep track of your time and tasks – just do it. This helps you prevent missed doctor appointments, lost homework, and even anniversaries (yikes!), Generally speaking, this isn’t about keeping everything in place. It is about learning how to organise your schedule, discipline strategy and with your house as well.
Prepare Large Meal Portions When Necessary
I get it – your kids wouldn’t want to eat the same viand every day, but I’m not telling you to do this all the time. For instance, if you could make large spaghetti, lasagna or soup portions, do it. Also consider doubling up meals which are non-perishable and those that you can easily freeze. This will help you spend less time during those nights that you have tons of deadlines to finish, or a mountainful of laundry to take care of.
Learn When to Single-Task
Wait, what? Isn’t it easier, and faster to just multi-task? I’m guilty of this – I’m a multi-tasker myself. I thought that doing this all the time can help me get things done quickly. In fact, it is the other way around. Sure, you can answer emails while preparing meals, but ironically, doing so slows you down. Here’s the thing: according to Jeff Brown, Psy. D., Harvard Medical School’s cognitive-behavioural psychologist, shifting gears make us lose valuable time, especially if we aren’t focused on one task. Instead of flipping fish on one hand and answering e-mails with the other, learn how you can finish dinner tasks, then attend to work-related tasks after.
Studies have shown that people take 30 minutes to get back to their original tasks. It’s slowing you down, it’s making you less productive, which is the last thing that you wanted to happen. Time isn’t something you can afford to lose as a mother.
Delegate Your Tasks
There are moms who are perfectionists. They want everything the way they wanted it to be, thus, they do everything on their own, which is another common mistake that we commit. Just imagine how much more we can do as mothers if we delegate other tasks. For instance, in the workplace, learn how to assign tasks to some of the employees so you can focus on what’s important. At home, you can share household chores with your husband and kids.
Teach your kids responsibility at an early age by letting them do simple house chores – such as getting out the garbage, putting the dishes in the washer, and mowing the lawn, while you work on the laundry, meals and other more essential chores. Remember, you might not get things done the way you wanted it to be, but THEY’LL GET DONE. ‘Sloppy success is better than perfect failure.’ Don’t you agree?
Use Mornings for Household Chores
If you’re a work at home mom, it is tempting to check your e-mail first thing in the morning, but this will slow you down. Stop thinking about those things first. Focus on your household chores, and when the kids are in school, or taking their daytime nap, that’s the time that you can check your e-mail, be nagged about your boss, or work on other things that aren’t related to ‘mommy duties’.
Plan Your Wardrobe for the Entire Week
For working moms out there, how much time do you spend every morning mixing and matching your clothes? How many hours do you spend in front of the mirror? If you hustle in the morning and start doing a fashion show every single time you go to work, a lot of time will be wasted. Instead, pick a day of the week and make sure that you plan everything that you’re about to wear for the whole office week.
This way, you won’t have to worry about what jewellery pieces to wear, which pair of shoes to match with your lavender tank top, and so on.
Know Your Limits
We are supermoms – we know it. We feel like we can do everything and can go to the rescue any time. A mommy friend needs her son a tutor in algebra, and she knows you’re good at it. Of course, you’d be more than happy to help! Who doesn’t? While we know that it is fulfilling to help someone in need, ask yourself: can you afford to lose a couple of hours (or even more) daily? Most of you would answer ‘no’.
It’s not that I’m discouraging you to help, but sometimes, you have to learn when to say no and you have to understand what your limits are when it comes to things that you can and can’t do.
We live in a word where everything can be done online. Utilize it. Order groceries online, pay bills online, and even use a password vault for all your online logins. Having to go through your e-mail or retrieving forgotten passwords can make you lose valuable time. You may use Roboform, or any other similar service that can help you securely store your login information such as usernames and passwords.
At the end of the day, we all have the same goals: to take care of our family, provide and be there for the kids no matter what. You’ll be surprised that these 8 simple time management hacks will even give you enough time to even take care of yourself. When you feel and look great, you’ll be able to perform at your best, and that’s what’s important.
Aine Austria is a content creator, freelancer, entrepreneur, essential oils educator, nacho lover, and a mom to an adorable toddler.