"What Busy Moms Need to Know about Time Management"

Be honest mama, how well are you managing your time?  As moms we are so stressed and overloaded that we don’t even know where to begin.  Being organized is a big part of managing time.  It is especially challenging when you have a husband and a few kids who may not be very organized.  Personally, I can’t get anything done when I have to look at all of my kids things all over my kitchen counter.  A disorganized space leads to a disorganized mind for me.  The good news is, if we can find ways to become more organized we will reap the benefits of being more productive, less stressed, getting better sleep and thus will have more time and energy for our families.  There are many tips out there in terms of time management so I will focus on the ones that get to the bottom of our need for less stress and more happiness as busy moms.

Tip #1: Know yourself. 

We all know about the basics of organization.  We need a to-do list, a filing system and a calendar.  However, these look different for everyone so it’s important to know yourself and what will work for you.  The purpose of the to-do list should be simply to remember the things that have to get done. The filing system is to stay organized.  Studies show that the typical office worker wastes almost 2 hours a day.  One reason for this is because they can’t find things due to their desk being messy.  Know what system is best for you.  For example, some people’s system is to have piles spread out on their desk so they can see and reach them.  For me, I need everything put away or I get stressed out.  Your calendar is also personal ( i.e. do you prefer a phone calendar, desk calendar, wall calendar etc.) but important since you need to know when things need to be done.  One last point on knowing yourself is to know when you are most productive and make sure you are doing the tasks that require the most energy at this time of day.  Maybe this means getting up before the kids start asking for a million things.  

Tip #2:  Know what you really want. 

 It’s easy to just go down our to do list and do the next thing that comes up but this method does not help you meet your goals.  Your long term personal goals will help you organize your time.  This vision for the future should be where you begin to organize yourself.  For example, the next thing on your list might be to organize your closet or your desk but you know visiting your daughter at lunch time will make her really happy and this is important to you.  If you are looking at what is  really important your decision might be different.  In other words, organize your tasks based on your priorities and values.  Once you know where you are headed in life you can better manage your time. 

Tip #3  Know what you do not want

Go through your to-do list and figure out what things are not really that important to you.  Ask yourself why this item is on your list and if it coincides with your vision of what you want.  Also, ask what will happen if you don’t do it.  You can manage these items by either deleting them altogether or delegating them to someone else.  This should make the list a little more manageable.  The other aspect of this tip is to make sure you are saying no to the things you do not want to do.  This could be saying no to people asking you to do things you don’t have time for. This could also be saying no to yourself.  Spending hours on Facebook seeing what everyone else’s family is doing may not be serving our ultimate goals.  Research has found that prolonged usage of Facebook can negatively effect self-esteem.  So block out a small amount of time for this, say 15 minutes, so you can make sure you have time for the more important things.  

Tip #4: Know how to focus. 

 After you have scaled down your list, break it down into three or four things that you want to accomplish each day.  Make this list at night or first thing in the morning.  There will be many distractions during your day so keep bringing yourself back to these top things.  Another way to gain focus is to break bigger tasks down into smaller steps that are easier to tackle.   

Once you know how you really want to spend your time as well as what is really important, you will be on your way to being more organized with your time and your life.