Time management is not an impossible task for parents, although it probably feels like it most days. If you are a busy parent–and what parent isn’t?–time is a precious commodity.
Here are some easy, but practical ways to free up some time in your life as an on-the-go mom or dad:
Keep a Family Calendar
There needs to be one place where everyone can look to see who needs to be where, and when. Otherwise double booking or overbooking is inevitable, and that is something you want to avoid.
It is easy to spend way too much time deciding on what to cook and then run multiple times to the supermarket for the ingredients. Menu planning eliminates this.
Take Time to Teach Your Kids Tasks
It always feels easier to do things yourself, but in the long-run that will not give you more time. When you invest the time to teach your children to do tasks themselves, it may seem to take more time at first, but that will pay off. This will eventually free up some time for you AND increase their self-confidence.
Stop Saying YES to Too Much
Just because someone asks you to do something doesn’t mean you have to. Make a decision to say no to things that are not a priority to you, no matter how much someone else wants you to do them.
Plan for Play Time
With so much to do, you can forge the most important part of parenting— having fun with your kids. Plan some time to stop and play. Fun does not necessarily have to be spontaneous; plan for it, put it on the family calendar.
Take Time to Get Organized
It may be time-consuming at first to get organized, but it will definitely pay off. Keep a folder for each child so you know exactly where to find all of their information (school, doctors, sports,etc.). Make copies of things such as phone numbers and class lists, and keep one at home and one at work. It might be worthwhile to hire a professional organizer to help you.
Routines can allow children to take greater responsibility for themselves. They know what is expected of them and when and thus can do more things on their own, such as chores or homework.
Pick Your Battles
Decide what you can live with and what really irritates you. Maybe you can’t stand a dirty floor, but you can live without the bed made just right. This applies to your own housecleaning standards and the standards you impose on your kids. I love the sign I have hanging in my house that says: Good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens, and happy kids. There ARE more important things than a clean house. Sometimes getting the job done just good enough is all that is needed. Most of the time you are the only person that will notice the difference anyway.
Ask for Help
You don’t have to be Supermom or Superdad and do everything yourself. Get assistance when you’re running short on time and sanity. Consider bartering with another parent; she can run errands for you one day and you can watch her child for two hours another day.
Give Everyone a Job
Whether it’s sorting laundry, putting the dishes away or picking toys up, there are chores that everyone can do to help lighten your load.
Find a Place for Everything
One of the biggest time-wasters is looking for lost items. Make sure things are put away after use so they don’t get shoved someplace when you’re in a hurry.
Place a good-size basket in every room to store toys, books, etc. Put one for each family member by the door to store backpacks, shoes, and whatever else goes out with that person in the morning.
Don’t Do Too Much For Your Kids
Many kids are involved in way too many extra curricular activities. If family time is important to you it can be challenging to fit it in. Don’t have things scheduled every night of the week. If you do, you are going to miss out on family time at home, dinners together around the table, and the down time that everyone needs.
Be Honest About Your Time
Learn to take advantage of waiting time. What do you do while you are waiting in the car line at school pickup? Use the time to answer emails or read instead of scrolling social media or shopping online. We place limits on our kids with technology, why wouldn’t we do the same for ourselves so we too can optimize our time during the day?
As you start a new year, take time to re-evaluate your priorities. What is most important to you in life? Determine what you value most in life in order to filter obligations through your personal lens of what is important to you and your family. If you’d like help setting personal and family priorities, let’s talk. Schedule a free intro call here.