Most professionals get years to learn how to manage time efficiently, most moms get less than nine months.
As a mom, with seemingly endless responsibilities, it can often feel like time slips away faster than sand held in the palm of your hand (especially in the early months).
It’s frustrating but you don’t have to fail at time management.
HOW TO FAIL AT TIME MANAGEMENT
Failing at time management is easy. All you have to do is try to do everything for everyone and never have a plan. That was me right after giving birth.
A few months after giving birth to my first child, I was back at work. Maternity leave was over and I struggled to find time for work, family, friends, baby, and blogging.
- At work, I was trying to work and find time to pump and struggled to produce enough milk.
- At home, I was trying to still be available to friends and family, most of which wanted to time with our new baby.
- The baby needed me every 2-3 hours or more.
- I was trying to blog more, hoping to turn a hobby to into an income.
I was stressed and frustrated and it showed. I was emotional, moody, and not as productive as I once was and there never seemed to be enough time in a day. I was always exhausted.
I cried a few time but that wasn’t helping, what I needed was change. I needed to change how I was managing my time.
Does any of this sound familiar? Are you trying to do too much and sacrificing quality, just to be present?
If you need help managing your time better, this list is for you. Learn how to reduce your stress levels and claim your time back.
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- 5 Tips to Get Unstuck and Organized When You Feel Overwhelmed
- 7 Reasons Moms Need Their Sleep and How to Get It
Photo Credit: Photo by Artem Riasnianskyi
7 TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR TIME IS LIMITED
Everyone wants your time and there are only 24 hours in a day.
You may be superwoman but once you truly understand that everything can’t be accomplished in one day and some tasks will just have to wait. This may be the hardest thing to come to terms with but we can’t control time, so we have to learn how to be productive with the time that we do have.
There will always be a long list of things that need to get done, decide which tasks get priority and which tasks can wait until tomorrow. Organize and write down those tasks and commit to completing those tasks first.
Now that you know what needs to be done, schedule to complete those tasks with high priority.
Pull out your journal or planner. If you prefer, use a calendar app or scheduling app on your phone. Use something with time blocks, so that you can visually see how you can allocate your precious time.
Tip: leave some gaps of time between tasks. You don’t want to list tasks to be completed at 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, etc.; you will leave no room for error. It may take extra time to complete some tasks, if it doesn’t use that extra time for yourself.
This one is difficult.
You have your priority list and you have scheduled to complete each task at a specific time. Now, it’s time to complete those tasks. You need to be focused on that task. Give it 100% of your effort. When you make a hair appointment, you expect your hairstylist to be focused on you. You don’t want him or her going back and forth between your chair and 3 other clients while on the telephone, you want undivided attention, right? Give that same type of service and attention to each of the tasks on your list!
5. LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’ MORE OFTEN
The first task on this list is understanding your time is limited, this means you will need to say “no”, more often.
- Learn to decline invitations, gracefully.
- Learn to decline extra projects that aren’t required by your employer.
- Learn that it is OK to not be available sometimes.
- In the age of cell-phones, a simple text can change how we spend our time. Say “no”, to last-minute requests and interruptions. Most people will understand. We worry about disappointing people by not showing up; however, showing up unprepared, uninterested, and untimely is worse.
6. ACCEPT HELP
Ha, you just learned to say “No”, but remember to say “Yes” too!
Accept assistance from colleagues, friends, and family. If someone you trust wants to help out, say “Yes”. Superwoman doesn’t tell Superman to go away when he shows up, they work together. This is not the time to be stubbornly independent. Accept help, if it is available.
7. BE ACCOUNTABLE
It seems everyone is depending on you and it’s important to be accountable.
If you accepted too many projects and weren’t able to give it your best effort this time, acknowledge that and adjust for next time. Always be willing to make changes that will enhance your time management skills.
It often takes years for people to become good managers, moms are forced to learn to do it overnight. If you are a mom, then you understand that time management skills are necessary; you will learn to master this skill with patience and practice but remember to accept responsibility for your shortcoming and engage in constructive ways to learn from former mistakes.
- Accept that your time is limited.
- Prioritize each task by importance and urgency.
- Create a schedule with specific times for getting tasks completed.
- Focus on one task at a time for increased efficiency.
- Manage your time by learning to say ‘no’ more often.
- Accept assistance when it’s available.
- Evaluate times when you fall short so that you learn from mistakes.
Time is our most valuable asset, learn how to manage yours efficiently. You can do this!