For many working parents, managing career responsibilities and home responsibilities can feel like you have two (or more) full-time jobs. With a long list of things that need to get done and only so many hours in the day to get those things done, it is imperative that parents establish a routine that will help to make the load a little lighter and easier to manage. Using proper time management and consistency plans — like the Seinfeld Strategy, Pomodoro Technique, Rapid Planning Method, etc — is a way to make the pressure of professional and parental duties less daunting. Here are some time-management tips for working parents that will make it feel like hours are being added to your day.
As with anything in our lives, organization is super important. Regarding time management, being organized is at the center of all of it. In order to get organized, however, it is important to assess how time is currently being spent. Examine your current daily schedule and determine where time is being effectively and ineffectively used. Whether you work for someone or you are a parent juggling a small business with children, these tips will get you started.
When it comes to being a parent, the things to remember seem endless. Between school events, doctor appointments, extracurricular activities, sports, play dates and more, it’s a lot to keep track of. Investing in a large wall calendar can be life-changing. You can color code activities listed depending on which person or persons need to attend the event/activity. This is a great place to put all of this and make sure it is easily visible to everyone. This can also be done electronically for families who find it easier to access everyone’s shared calendar on a smartphone or tablet.
Another way to save time at home is to have a running grocery list where items can be added as they are thought of or as soon as you run out. This will help in preparing for a trip to the grocery store. Planning meals for the entire week on Sunday will also help to make evening dinners quicker.
Prioritizing tasks is another essential element when it comes to effective time management. Particularly with regard to time-management tips for working parents, looking at all of the tasks at hand and being able to identify the most important duties and commitments versus those that you don’t have to do is important. One way to do this is to create a to-do list and divide it into three sections. The sections can be labeled “immediate attention,” “weekly tasks,” and “ongoing tasks.” It is easy to get caught up in the tasks that may not need immediate attention, especially if those tasks are the most fun or seem like larger tasks than others. When someone is faced with a task that is unpleasant, it is easier to procrastinate or waste more time than is actually needed to do the task. This is why it is most beneficial to complete the less desirable tasks first and get past the time spent dreading them. By splitting tasks up into three categories, it will also make the daily list seem a lot shorter and easier to manage.
When considering time-management tips for working parents, another essential part of prioritizing relates to knowing when to say no. If there is simply too much on the schedule, it is perfectly acceptable to turn down additional work or skip an activity or gathering. Work on setting goals that are reasonable to achieve, both at home and at work and when those goals are met, the feeling of accomplishment will help you in getting other tasks done. Try to use weekday mornings and evenings to get comparably small tasks done to save weekend time for your family. When you make dinner, make some extra that can be reheated another night of the week.
Other time-management tips for working parents include consolidating, delegating, disconnecting, and self-care. Consolidating can apply to tasks or actual physical items. When you are looking for something in your home, a lot of time can go to waste when things are not put back in their place. When it comes to tasks, consolidating tasks that are similar can save a lot of time as well.
Delegating is another one of those time-management tips for working parents that may seem difficult to grasp at first, but when everyone works as a team, it can be very helpful. Children often enjoy helping out with to-do lists. Designating jobs to different family members not only teaches responsibility, but it also helps to get things done in less time. This means that time can be refocused on other things; fun things.
Lastly, you may not think of disconnecting and self-care as time-management tips for working parents, but they may be the most important tips of all. Taking time to disconnect from work to spend time with your family and taking time for you to relax and decompress makes you a better parent and better person overall. Not taking time to do these things leaves you feeling stressed and can easily lead to burnout.
Trust that these time-management tips for working parents will make your life easier. Juggling parenting with demanding professional responsibilities can be much less daunting if careful attention is given to time management.