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Effective Time Management for Working Parents

by on 24/11/2013 4368

Day by day, working parents are feeling the pressure of having to keep up with so many things. From career to childrearing to personal relationships that sometimes it’s a wonder how parents do not burn out before their children’s seventh birthday.

Time management for working parents is always a learning process since there are many unexpected incidents and antics up our children’s sleeves. But with a good and strong basic, managing your time can be easy and comes naturally after a period of practice.

Let Time Be On Your Side

Depending on how you use it, time can be either be your best or your worst enemy. The cliché saying that time is priceless may not mean much to someone without a kid, but for working parents, literally every single minute is precious.

In order to manage your time more effectively, you need to take the time to sort out and categorize what you need to do.

1. Assess and Reassess Your Time

If you feel that your time management is poor, spend one day on the weekend to take a look at how you’re spending your time.

List down the things that you do on daily basis like getting ready for work, getting the kids ready for school, dropping your toddler at the daycare, time you spend preparing meals for the family after you return from work and etc. When you list the things that you do everyday and how much time you spend on it, you will be able to see a pattern of how you’re using your time.

From here, note where you feel you should spend less or more time on something. Perhaps you can spend more time getting the breakfast ready for the kids if you have planned out and prepared what to wear to the office the night before. Or maybe you will spend less time hunting for your kids’ school needs if you help him pack his bag before he goes to bed.

Jot down also the things you wish you could’ve done differently with your time. Once you’ve found a better way to manage your time, you can try doing them.

2. Assign Time

As you go through your routine, you have an idea of how long it takes for you to cook, how long does the washer machine runs if it’s on medium load and how long it takes to tidy up the house before you leave to work.

Now, you may not need a timetable for this, but it would be very helpful if you mentally assign specific amount of time you should spend on a chore.

For example, you know it takes about an hour for your prepare a meal from start up until to setting up the table. So try your best to manage it within that one hour. Either you already planned to cook something that doesn’t take very long or you have prepared the ingredients beforehand so that you don’t spend too much time prepping in the kitchen.

Initially, you may feel as though you’re racing against the clock but sooner or later, you will be able to time yourself. Unless you can’t help it, do not linger longer than you should on a chore as you can move on the next thing you have on your list.

3. To Do List is Your Best Friend

Always, always write down what you need to do for the day.

Even if you’re a gadget person and devote everything into your smartphone or tablet, writing down can help boost your memory on what you have to do and therefore causing you less oops moments where you forgot to do something.

You can use different colors of Post It notes for different type of chores to sort them according to priority. Maybe pink for Must Complete by Today, yellow for OK to KIV and green for Do Whenever. Color coordination helps to recall your memory on whether a chore requires immediate attention or a more casual approach.

This way, you wouldn’t be running around, excuse the pun, like a headless chicken.

You Can’t Be a Superhero

Trying to do too much too often can cause a parent to be frustrated and exasperated when they can’t accomplish what they planned to do.

You do not need this unnecessary stress.

Involve others in your chore and don’t feel so bad when you need to ask for help. After all, you’re only one person and you can’t be expected to drive the kids to school while looking after your sick toddler at home.

1. Delegate

If you feel you’re overwhelmed with your housework, get your children to help. Put your foot down if you want to get them off their computers and get them to help set the table. You can get your toddlers to do easy chores like putting his dirty laundry in the hamper or picking up their toys from the living room. This will help you to concentrate on the things you need to do without spending time on things that can easily be done by another member of your family.

If you have something that requires you to be at two places at one time, seek the help of a close friend or a neighbor if they can look after your kids for a little while or if they can drop your children to school along with their kids. Sometimes people are more willing to help than we expected them to.

2. Multitask

This can be a little tricky.

Many parents believe that the secret to effective time management is multitasking. But many experts said that multitasking, if done incorrectly, could slow you down even further rather than accomplishing more things you thought you could.

Doing two physical things at one time, like feeding the baby while you have a soup on the stove can not only be dangerous but also ineffective. You won’t be able to concentrate on your child lest he choke and you need to keep on checking your soup so you that you won’t burn it.

If you feel you work better through multitasking, choose activities that aren’t of the same requirement. Perhaps you could pay your bills online while your son plays a game on his tablet next to you. Or you could fold the laundry while you watch the TV with your kids.

Some parents just seem to know what to do and get everything done just right but you need to know that time management is nurture as much as it is nature. You can teach yourself to manage your time better.

If all this time you have not been doing it effectively, it may take you some time to get the hang of things. It will probably even make you feel more tired and chaotic but slowly, it will fall into place and you will find it easier to make the best use of your time as well as use it to your advantage.

The key is to not give up and keep on trying to make it work for you. In time, you’ll wonder why you were so disorganized before!