The most common phrase I hear from working mums is, “I wish I had more hours in the day.”
One of the biggest concerns for working women is having too much to do and too little time to do it in. So we juggle to get everything done and worry if we are doing it well.
We can feel there’s just not enough time to cook healthy meals, attend to school & kid’s activities, maintain the house, as well as, handle the demands of a busy workplace.
It’s not surprising that working mums have given up their “me” time (rest & refreshment) in order to get everything done.
Sadly the result is some mums are on the brink of burn out and stress related illnesses. It seems too many of us will put ourselves last on the priority list or only make fundamental changes when in poor health.
Time management is not a scary word.
We’ve all got some ideas around the concepts of to-do lists, schedules, and monthly planners and may have even attempted to get organised ourselves.
As women what we’re not addressing is firm boundaries, making decisions and setting the priorities that support us, as well as our job, family, friends and commitments.
So time management strategies can help in taking the stress out of life, and creating more time for fun with our kids, quality time with our partner, or even that coveted and nearly forgotten alone time which I like to call “me” time.
Whether you like to call yourself a stay at home mum, working from home mum or travel to work mum, these top Time Management tips will help you feel less stressed, worried and tired.
TOP TIP # 1
It all starts with being organised both at work and at home. What does “being organised” mean to you? To me it’s planning and preparing what I need to do. Work examples might be having all your work clothes planned for the week, creating a weekly menu planner, and using calendar reminders for meetings and calls.
TOP TIP # 2
Love the lists! You have to start making a weekly to-do list. It’s a list of things you must get done and include time for a yoga class or a coffee with a friend. Create a table or Excel spread sheet that chunks your day down to 30 minute blocks of time and decide the top priorities (the big 4) that must get done each day. It’s much easier to pay attention on four things, than scatter your energies among the 30 things on your list, and if you get more done AWESOME.
TOP TIP # 3
Let’s talk about boundaries. Sometimes you have to say no to family, work and friends. It’s hard to say no for fear of disappointing or even pissing off people, but the cost is your health or making embarrassing mistakes. Remember you are also a priority so reassure yourself that it’s ok to say now and stop feeling guilty when saying it.
TOP TIP #4
Some people hate routines because life becomes one predictable cycle after the next, but routines are the backbone of time management strategies. They save you the mental energy of worrying what to do. For example a weekly menu planner can be rotated every four weeks. Now create a matching shopping list and that takes the headache of what to cook and what to buy. Another example is a chore routine like cleaning the house fortnightly and school holidays are for getting kids to spring clean their room and give away old toys.
TOP TIP #5
Delegate responsibilities to the family. Sometimes mums don’t like to give kids chores due to emotional problems, illness or in the event it distracts them from their homework. Even if kids are going through a tough time, we can’t end up doing everything for them. Its our job to teach them life skills, and you can give kids simple tasks like emptying the dishwasher or bins, packing their own school bag, setting and clearing the dinner table, and my son’s favourite hanging out the washing (minus my undies). Don’t forget to reward them. On the last day of the winter school holidays, Max Brenners was a good motivator for dusting and tidying up our living room.
TOP TIP #6
Don’t cram your schedule. Stay flexible for life’s little hiccups like accidents and illness. I recommend mothers avoid early morning meetings. Kids get sick and you need time to find a carer, find alternatives or inform colleagues you won’t be coming in.
We can make each hour count by getting really organised with schedules and routines, prioritising our workload, learning to say no, delegating and just asking for help.
Fiona Craig is a life & business coach, writer, speaker and busy mum. If you are looking for help in getting organised, her 3 STEP Back To Balance Life Coaching program will give you access to time management templates, goal setting and other time saving resources. Contact Fiona on 0405 433 217 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free 20 min Rapid Results coaching session today.