Ah, time management – that elusive skill that we all are trying to master. For busy moms, managing our time wisely and getting the most productivity out of each day can be especially difficult. Because not only are moms in charge of their own schedules, they are more often than not the keeper of every other family member’s schedule as well.
From homework to sports practices, social events, and doctor’s appointments – that’s a lot to keep track of. And all the while, we have the daily time eaters that get in the way – baby’s nap schedule, dinner planning, running errands. It’s no wonder that at the end of the day we often feel like we’ve been running ragged since morning, only to feel we didn’t accomplish much at all.
So what’s the secret to perfect time management? The first secret is to know it’ll never be perfect. Life is messy and unpredictable, especially with kids. So don’t beat yourself up if your days don’t run like clockwork. But here are a few time management tips for busy moms to keep most of the chaos at bay.
Have a loose routine
With a loose outline of a daily routine, you can get a lot more done in the day, and always know what’s coming next. But put the emphasis on “loose”. Being flexible will ensure that you don’t freak out if your child’s nap doesn’t happen, or if dinner is late to the table. An outline for your day should simply help you stay on task, not something that’s set in stone. For example, morning can be for making lunches, getting the kids off to school and doing a quick workout routine. Afternoons could be time to pick up the house a bit, work on ongoing projects, and run a couple of errands. Sticking to a similar routine each day will give you a little more control over how your time is spent.
A calendar or planner is your friend
Yes, we know you can put everything in your phone. But a paper calendar or planner will help you layout your schedule for the week and month. We recommend an oversize family calendar hanging somewhere where everyone can see it. With busy schedules things can fall through the cracks, but a visible calendar will keep appointments and other upcoming events at the forefront of your mind.
Organization is key to time management. Don’t waste any more time looking for Susie’s soccer shoes or the school lunch menu. If you feel like your drowning in stuff, you’re not able to get a handle on the day because you’re too busy being distracted by clutter. We know getting organized is not always a quick task – but here are a few ideas to get you started: set aside a full day to purge and donate unwanted items, put together a family binder of important paperwork, or set up a station where kids can put their school paperwork and hang their backpacks.
Learn to say no
There’s simply not enough time to do all the things we’d like to do. So that means saying no sometimes. Don’t let mom guilt trick you into taking on more than you can handle. If you can’t volunteer at the classroom party, send some store-bought cookies instead. If your neighbor asks you to babysit their kids when you already feel ready to tear your hair out – there’s nothing wrong with a polite, “I’m sorry I can’t tomorrow, but let me check my schedule next week.”
Put down the phone
We’re all guilty of it. But, too much time spent on social media will often leave you feeling defeated. Comparing our lives to everyone’s unrealistic Instagram feed will do nothing but harm your productivity and your self-worth. Try to limit social media to certain times of the day and only give yourself an hour or less. Set a timer if it helps!
Hopefully, these time management tips for busy moms will help you to increase your productivity and manage your life.