Time Management for Moms
June 29, 2011 by Stephanie O'Dea
I’m kind of fascinated by time management. I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve read or listened to on tape/cd about this subject— probably well over a hundred. Whenever I have a moment or two in the library and I’m not stuck in the toddler corral, I wander into the business books and gather anything from the 658 or 332 shelves that I haven’t already read.
Most business books focus around time management and productivity. Productivity=money in business.
If you take a random poll while walking the streets, I’d venture to bet that most people wish they had more of 2 things: time and money.
I can’t really help with the money, but I can help free up some more time in your day.
Change Your Mindset.
This is probably the biggest obstacle to overcome–myself, included. If you have already decided that you don’t have enough time in the day to get it all done, you’ve defeated yourself before you’ve even begun. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Remember when we talked about changing your vocabulary? This is the same thing. Decide that each day is a blank slate and schedule out what you want to accomplish.
Learn How to Say No.
Don’t agree to anything that doesn’t directly benefit your family. I know. It sounds callous, but if you don’t want to go to the class bowling party, don’t. RSVP no. Don’t lie– just say it’s not going to work out for you and leave it at that. If you don’t want to help organize the Church rummage sale, or arrive early to set up the chairs for the PTA meeting, don’t do it. It’s not healthy to say yes then run yourself ragged living up to a commitment you didn’t want to make in the first place.
Take back your time. Once you feel as if you’re in control of your time instead of outside influences being in charge, you can begin volunteering again.
Get Up Early.
When I suggest getting up early people sometimes freak out. In all the case studies I’ve read of successful people or people who “make it happen” they each have the same characteristic: they get up early. Usually at 5.
I know. I’m sorry.
I’ve done all the acronyms: SAH, WOH, WFH (stay at home, work out of the home, work from home) and I can absolutely-without-a-doubt credit getting up early as the key to a successful day. When I’m up in a quiet house, I feel peaceful. I love watching the sun rise while I sip my coffee, doing yoga without an audience, or going for an early morning walk or run. When I’m on a deadline, I use that hour or two to work.
In 2008 when I did the crockpot year, I got up at 4am most days. I was working from home doing 2 part time jobs, doing the crockpot stuff, and writing the first manuscript for the Totally Together Book. It was nuts, but I knew I needed to keep going. Once or twice a week I also did what I call the “split shift”: I went to bed at 8pm, then got up from midnight to 4am to work. I then slept till 7am when the kids woke me up.
The first week is the hardest, but it gets easier. I’d highly recommend putting the alarm clock on the other side of the room so you need to get all the way out of bed to turn it off. Once you’re out of bed it’s harder to climb back in (which every single day you’ll want to).
You Don’t Work 9 to 5, You Work 5 to 9
When my oldest was about 6 months, I listened to a time management book on tape which is what gave me the idea to make a day planner for moms. I emailed the Franklin Covey company and we corresponded a few times before they blew me off (they did send a 15% off coupon, though!) and I decided to create my own.
One of the lightbulb-moments I had while I was playing around with the project was the realization that I was trying to cram everything I needed/thought I needed to do between the hours of 9am to 5pm. I wanted EVERYTHING done for the day before dinner. I was under the misguided impression that the laundry, etc. should be completely finished before I watched TV or relaxed a bit. Once I started folding laundry during my tv goof-off hour (or whatever) I felt better; more whole.
This doesn’t mean that YOU, personally, need to do everything around the house—I’m a big fan of delegation and whole-heartedly believe that all of the chores should be divvied out among the children and the sexes.
Cut Yourself Some (lots of) Slack.
There are times in your life that will always be crazier than others. When you’re pregnant, nursing, not sleeping, sick, the kids are sick, on a huge work deadline stuff just isn’t going to run as smoothly as it does when everyone is on their A-Game. Know this and accept it. Life is not a contest, nor is it a picture-perfect spread in a design magazine.
You’re doing an awesome job. You really are.